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Ko Barrett named NOAA Research deputy assistant administrator
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Ko Barrett named NOAA Research deputy assistant administrator

Craig McLean, NOAA’s assistant administrator for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), has named Ko Barrett as the deputy assistant administrator for OAR Programs and Administration.

In this leadership position, Barrett supervises daily operations and administration of NOAA’s research enterprise, and the execution of NOAA programs including the Climate Program Office, Ocean Acidification Program, the National Sea Grant College Program, Ocean Exploration and Research, and the Office of Weather and Air Quality research.

“Ko has many valuable skills that made her a sound choice for this leadership position, not the least of which are her experience in and knowledge of OAR and NOAA, a savvy sense of organizational and policy issues, and a willingness to challenge the status quo in unselfish and constructive ways,” said McLean.

Barrett comes to this position from seven years of serving as deputy director of OAR’s Climate Program Office, which oversees and coordinates climate activities across NOAA, addressing climate observations and monitoring, research and modeling, and the development and delivery of climate services.

For over 15 years, Barrett has represented the United States on delegations charged with negotiating and adopting scientific assessments undertaken by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international body created to review and assess the most recent scientific, technical, and socio-economic information produced worldwide that is relevant to understanding climate change. She is widely recognized as an expert on climate policy, particularly on issues related to climate impacts and strategies to help society adapt to a changing world. Barrett currently serves as one of three vice chairs of the IPCC.

Prior to joining NOAA in 2005, Barrett was the director of the Global Climate Change program at the US Agency for International Development and oversaw climate activities in more than 40 countries. She has won multiple awards for contributions both to NOAA and the nation, notably NOAA Administrator’s Awards in 2010 and 2015, the U.S. Department of State Meritorious Honor Award in 2011, and a Nobel Peace Prize shared with members of the IPCC in 2007.

Barrett has a bachelor of science degree in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina Asheville, where she was named University Scholar as well as Distinguished Research Scholar, and elected a member of the Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

Barrett will assume the full duties and responsibilities of her new position on July 18, 2016.

For more information, please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs for NOAA Research at 301-734-1123 or by email at

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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