Michael J. McPhaden, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

President, American Geophysical Union







Dr. Michael J.  McPhaden, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, is president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

His research focuses on large-scale tropical ocean dynamics, ocean-atmosphere interactions, and the effects of the ocean on climate.

During the past 25 years, Dr. Dr. McPhaden’s career has focused on developing ocean observing systems for climate research and forecasting, most notably the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) moored buoy array in the Pacific Ocean for studies of El Niño and La Niña. The program’s website is http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/.

Dr. McPhaden is an affiliate professor of oceanography at the University of Washington.

He has authored more than 200 articles in the refereed scientific literature and is listed as a Highly Cited Researcher by ISI Thomson Scientific. Moreover, Dr. McPhaden is a member or chairperson of science advisory committees sponsored by organizations such as the World Climate Research Program, the International Oceanographic Commission, and the U.S. National Research Council.

A member since 1979, Dr. McPhaden became president of AGU in 2010. Since then, AGU has undergone a fundamental shift in focus, setting long-term goals in Scientific Leadership and Collaboration; Science and Society; Talent Pool, and Organizational Excellence. AGU is more actively engaging with the public and policymakers to extend its reach beyond the scientific community.

Dr. McPhaden received his Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego in 1980.  He received his B.S. in Physics from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He has been awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Special Award for Contributions to Observing El Niño, a Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Federal Service and the Fridtjof Nansen Medal from the European Geosciences Union. He is a Fellow of the AMS and the Oceanography Society.