Dr. Vernon Morris
Director, NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric
Sciences and Meteorology
Director, Atmospheric Sciences Program
Professor, Chemistry and Atmospheric Sciences
1840 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Term: June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2023
Vernon Morris is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at Howard University. He is the Principal Investigator and Founding Director of the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology (NCAS-M). This multidisciplinary research and education organization is a thirteen-member academic research consortium that NCAS-M partners with NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), the National Satellite and Environmental Data Service (NESDIS), and Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) to advance scientific knowledge about the world’s atmosphere and societal responses to weather, climate, and air quality phenomena.
Dr. Morris also founded the HU Atmospheric Sciences Program (HUPAS). HUPAS is the first PhD-degree granting Atmospheric Sciences program at any minority-serving institution and is a national leader in the production of minority PhDs in its field. Over 50% of the African American and 30% of the Hispanic American PhDs in Atmospheric Sciences produced from 2006 to 2018 in the United States graduated from this program. 97% of the program’s alumni are working in their respective fields across federal agencies, the private sector, and academia.
Dr. Morris’ research focuses on the chemical evolution of atmospheric particulate during transport and residence times in the lower troposphere and the implications to aerobiology, climate, and cloud processes. He has served as Chief Scientist for eleven trans-Atlantic science expeditions (the AERosols and Ocean Science Expeditions – AEROSE) aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) class-1 research vessel, the Ronald H. Brown. Each time he led an international team of scientists in a multidisciplinary study of the influences and life cycle of atmospheric particles emitted from the Saharan Desert on the regional atmosphere and ocean. The AEROSE data represent the most extensive set of in situ observations of Saharan Air Layer in the Tropical Atlantic. These data have been used for improved satellite retrievals, data assimilation for hurricane and tropical storm forecasts, validation of NOAA, DoD, and European numerical weather prediction models, and improved parameterizations for global forecasts.
Dr. Morris is passionate about broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). He has guided the research for more than 150 students at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels. His successful hands-on outreach programs and informal science education/exposure projects have reached over 50,000 students worldwide. Among the most notable are the network of high school weather camps (http://ncas.howard.edu/outreach-programs/weathercamp/), that managed camps in Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., Jackson, Mississippi, and El Paso, Texas for eighteen years and provided nearly 800 students from underserved populations entre into career opportunities in atmospheric sciences.
In July 2020, Dr. Morris will join Arizona State University as Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences and Director of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at the New College.