Don Wilhite, a climatologist and professor in the School of Natural Resources, has been named as a fellow in the American Meteorological Society.
An AMS member for more than 34 years, Wilhite has served as chair of the committee on applied climatology and was the lead author on an official AMS statement on drought. He has also been published in many of the society’s journals and has given presentations at congressional briefings organized by the AMS.
“This is quite an honor and one that very few members of AMS ever experience,” Wilhite said. “It’s an honor to be a part of this select group in recognition of my contributions to the field of drought management and policy.”
AMS fellows are chosen for outstanding contributions to advance the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications and services for the benefit of society. New fellows are elected each year by the AMS council from a slate submitted by the fellows committee that cannot include more than two-tenths of one percent of all society members.
“So only two-tenths of one percent of the total membership can become a fellow in any given year, making this a pretty prestigious award,” said Ken Dewey, who is serving on the AMS membership executive board.
Wilhite will be formally announced as a fellow at the society’s 94th Annual Review, which will take place on Feb. 2 in Atlanta.
“(Wilhite) being elected as a fellow in AMS is recognition of his international impact as a climate researcher and a career dedicated to his profession,” said John Carroll, director of the School of Natural Resources. “He is demonstrating that SNR is at the forefront of climate research.”
Wilhite is the founding director of the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Previously, he served as director of the NDMC from 1995 until 2007, when he was appointed director of the School of Natural Resources. In 2012, Wilhite stepped down from the SNR director’s role to rejoin the faculty.
Wilhite has been a UNL faculty member since 1977 whose research interests include drought preparedness, mitigation and policy, climate and drought monitoring, climate impact assessment and the development of climate-based decision support tools.
“The IANR administration has always been supportive of my research and outreach program, and prior unit administrators were excellent mentors,” Wilhite said. “In addition, the support and friendship of faculty and staff in the former Department of Agricultural Meteorology and the current applied climate science faculty area, as well as the faculty and staff of the National Drought Mitigation Center, has been extremely important to me.”
Founded in 1919, the AMS has a membership of more than 14,000 professionals, students and weather enthusiasts.