Phil Mote

Washington State Climatologist

Phil MoteDr. Philip Mote is a national leader in analyzing the impacts of climate change including variations in Pacific Northwest and national snowpacks, sea levels, water resources, precipitation and temperatures.

Mote has a PhD in atmospheric sciences from the UW and an undergraduate degree in physics from Harvard University. He joined the UW in 1998 as a research scientist with JISAO's Climate Impacts Group, and in 2003, became Washington State Climatologist.

As a key player in regional climate research Phil's work has received national and international recognition. In 2007 Mote shared the Nobel Peace Prize with other co-authors and researchers for their work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In 2008 he was named one of Seattle's Most Influential People and honored with a UW Distinguished Staff Award.

Mote is especially adept in explaining his research and its ramifications to a lay audience. His informative and entertaining presentations have helped spread his influence and put him in great demand by the public and media.

"Mote is the individual who personifies the Climate Impacts Group to our broader regional constituencies," says Dr. Edward Miles, head of the Climate Impacts Group. "He very powerfully demonstrates what the University of Washington does and can do for the region."

That's a view shared by David Peterson of the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory. "Phil is the Al Gore of the Pacific Northwest because of the amount of time he spends talking to different federal agencies, state agencies, municipal organizations and local stake holders," Peterson said. "This type of public service at the grassroots level has tremendous impact and represents the UW better than a hundred journal articles could."

Next up:

Mote will be moving to Corvallis, Oregon, in the summer of 2009 to become director of the new Oregon Climate Change Research Institute (OCCRI) at Oregon State University where he will also be a professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences.

OCCRI was established in 2007 to help the state better plan for and respond to climate change. In addition to facilitating research and providing climate change information to Oregon decision-makers, OCCRI will support the state's new Oregon Global Warming Commission, created last year by Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

"I am pleased that Phil Mote has agreed to be the first director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute," Kulongoski said. "This institute will be critical to advancing Oregon's position as a leader in climate change research and policy development, and Phil's world class background in this area will help ensure Oregon continues to be a leading resource on climate science nationally and around the globe."

The most gratifying part of his work, Mote says, is seeing local and state governments in the Northwest move past the arguments about human-caused climate change that were common a few years ago to a point where they are ready to go to work to limit or prepare to deal with the effects of climate change.