NOAA Oceanographer Elected AAAS Fellow

February 14, 2011

Sydney Levitus.

Sydney Levitus, an award-winning oceanographer and researcher at NOAA, was elected as a 2010 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (Credit: NOAA)

Sydney Levitus, an award-winning oceanographer and researcher at NOAA, was elected as a 2010 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Levitus will be instated on Feb. 19, with 503 other newly elected fellows during the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

In honoring Levitus, AAAS pointed to his “distinguished contributions” in the areas of ocean sciences, data archaeology and research into the impacts of climate change on the upper ocean.

“Syd’s work has been the foundation that has helped other scientists expand their knowledge about the changing dynamics of the world’s oceans,” said
Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Services.

Levitus has a long list of achievement and performance awards from NOAA and the Department of Commerce. He was also part of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2007.

 A prolific writer, Levitus has been the lead author on 23 papers and co-author on 33 others on ocean data. In addition, he has authored several NOAA atlases, which have been referenced nearly 9,000 times in scientific literature. The Spring Valley, N.Y., native earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from New York University.

 After 18 months at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, Levitus came to NOAA in 1974 as an oceanographer at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. He joined NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center as chief of the Product Development Branch in 1989.

Today Levitus is director of the Word Data Center for Oceanography and chief of NODC’s Ocean Climate Laboratory. Among the key projects developed under his leadership is the World Ocean Database project, which is accelerating the inclusion of international ocean profile and plankton data into one common database.

“We’re building global ocean databases for more detailed studies of the role of the ocean as part of Earth’s climate system,” Levitus said.

AAAS is an international, non-profit organization founded in 1848. It is dedicated to advancing science around the world through international programs, science policy and science education.

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