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John A. Whitehead Honored By American Meteorological Society


January 5, 2007

Contacts:  WHOI Media Relations


Stephanie Kenitzer

(425) 432-2192


John A. Whitehead, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has won the 2007 Stommel Award given by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the nation’s leading professional society for scientists in the atmospheric and related sciences.  He has also been named a Fellow of the Society, an honor given to only a limited number of members each year in recognition of outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences, or their applications, during a substantial period of years.
Dr. Whitehead earned the Stommel Award “for his fundamental contributions to geophysical fluid dynamics and physical oceanography, for which his laboratory and observational studies of rotating hydraulic flows have been particularly illuminating.”

The Stommel Research Award is granted to researchers in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the advancement of the understanding of the dynamics and physics of the ocean. Henry Stommel was known for his contributions to the dynamics of ocean currents, especially the Gulf Stream, and for his insight into the physics of the oceans and associated atmospheric phenomena.

Dr. Whitehead began work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1971 as an assistant scientist after working as a postdoctoral fellow and then an assistant research geophysicist at the Institute of Geophsics and Planetary Physics. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1965 and 1968, respectively.  Much of his research has focused on understanding the complex fluid mechanics of the oceans, atmosphere and planetary interiors. He has earned honors from Tufts University and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Dr. Whitehead has also been active on numerous working groups and scientific studies around the globe. He was born in Amesbury, Mass., and currently resides with his family in Falmouth, Mass.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent marine research and engineering, and higher education organization in Falmouth, Mass. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment.

Founded in 1919, the AMS has a membership of more than 11,000 professionals, professors, students, and weather enthusiasts. AMS publishes nine atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic journals, sponsors multiple conferences annually, and directs numerous education and outreach programs and services.  For more information see