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In Memoriam – Dr. Kelly Redmond

Donations to support the Dr. Kelly Redmond Memorial Fund can be made to the DRI Foundation online. [CLICK HERE] to donate and be sure to select the "Kelly Redmond Memorial Fund" in the gift designation drop down menu.

Dr. Kelly Redmond, a research professor of climatology in DRI’s Division of Atmospheric Sciences passed away on Thursday, November 4, 2016 at his home in Reno.

As deputy director for the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC), Dr. Redmond spent more than three decades dedicated to the management, application and dissemination of climate data and knowledge to the general public.

kelly redmond“Kelly was one of those special people who was not only a first rate scientist, but felt the responsibility to communicate the science to people of all walks of life. This was a deep held passion of his, and what made him such an extraordinary person," said Dr. Robert Gagosian, DRI Acting President. "He will be sorely missed.”

Since 1989, Dr. Redmond has been the voice and face of the WRCC and he pioneered many approaches in applied climatology. Clear communication of climate data and information to both expert and lay audiences was central to his mission day in and day out. He worked tirelessly to develop tools and services that could support everyone, from kindergarten teachers to research scientists, in utilizing climate data. Through his efforts, he established WRCC as a valued broker of climate information for the West, providing data and services with integrity and transparency.

Dr. Redmond’s major research contributions related to drought, a dominant issue in the western U.S. which is linked to climate change and wildfire in the West, also key elements of Dr. Redmond’s research.

Some of Dr. Redmond’s more recent studies involved snowfall trends, lake effects on snow, and large-scale winter circulation patterns and hydrologic consequences.

Dr. Redmond completed his undergraduate degree in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1974. He went on to earn his M.S. in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977 based on research into an atmospheric emissivity approximation for climate modeling. This was followed by his Ph.D. in meteorology also from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982.  

After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Redmond took a position in the Oregon State Climatology Office. From 1982 to 1984, he was the Oregon Assistant State Climatologist in the Climatic Research Institute and Atmospheric Sciences Department. For the following five years, Dr. Redmond served as the Oregon State Climatologist before moving to Nevada to begin work for the WRCC and DRI. 

Kelly loved a good conversation and took great interest in all people and things. With equal enthusiasm, he would talk to rural Nevadans about mining over a drink at the bar or engage in discussions on the climate system at an academic conference. He enjoyed documenting the natural world in photography, especially out of airplane windows during his frequent travels around the US. 

Kelly served as a mentor, friend, and colleague to many in the applied climate community here and DRI and beyond. He will be dearly missed. 

Read the Las Vegas Review Journal memorial - "Nevada climate change expert Redmond remembered as expert communicator" written by Henry Brean. 

Dr. Kelly Redmond - Celebration of Life - Jan. 13, 2017 

Dr. Kelly Redmond - Career Highlights 

  • Completed a B.S. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1974. He then earned an M.S. (1977) and Ph.D. (1982) in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Dr. Redmond was hired as an Associate Research Professor by DRI in 1989 and became a Research Professor in 2007. He was named Regional Climatologist for the western U.S. in 1989. He also was named WRCC deputy director in 1992. Dr. Redmond served as interim WRCC director in 2007–2008.
  • Early and throughout his career, Dr. Redmond chose to provide climate information as well as scientific results, insights, and perspective to as broad an audience as possible including scientific colleagues, policy makers, and the general public. Dr. Redmond had a profound impact throughout Nevada, the West, and the nation by effectively communicating climate science and its significance through a wide range of communication channels – in many cases through direct personal contact.
  • Dr. Redmond’s total research funding as PI and Co-PI since 1998 (the extent of DRI’s electronic records) totaled more than $18 million – including substantial support from the most competitive funding agencies in the U.S. – providing continuous, long-term funding for his research and the WRCC. His estimated funding at DRI prior to 1998 totaled approximately $4.0 million.
  • Dr. Redmond was an international and national leader in the scientific community – including service on review panels for the National Research Council, NOAA, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; broad ranging professional activities including participation on science advisory boards, panels, search and promotion committees; involvement with many programs and projects ranging from the NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences and Applications (RISA) Program to NOAA projects including the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) and establishment of the National and Regional Climate Reference Network (CRN); agency interactions in California and nationally; testifying before the Nevada State Legislature; serving as Associate Editor of the Journal of American Water Resources Association from 2002 to 2007; long-term involvement with drought monitoring under the auspices of the Western Governors’ Association; teaching at the University of Nevada-Reno and Oregon State University; and multiple professional affiliations (American Meteorological Society, American Association of State Climatologists, American Geophysical Union, and the National Weather Association).
  • Dr. Redmond was recognized by the American Geophysical Union in 2014 with the Tyndall History of Global Environmental Change Lecture.
  • His other awards include the American Meteorological Society Helmut Landsberg Award for a Distinguished Career in Applied and Service Climatology in 2015, and recognition by the DRI Faculty Senate in 2015 with creation of the Kelly Redmond Lecture Series.
  • Widespread media coverage of Dr. Redmond’s climate expertise and research endeavors was a hallmark of his career.
  • Dr. Redmond’s research has directly benefited Nevada through improved understanding of El Niño/Southern Oscillation impacts, snowfall, drought, and wildfire.
  • He also taught a variety of courses including physical climatology, hydrometeorology, weather and climate of the intermountain west, and gave numerous guest lectures. 

2014 American Geophysical Union - Tyndall History of Global Environmental Change Lecture


Authors: Redmond, K T, Western Regional Climate Center, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute Reno, Reno, NV, United States

Abstract: We live in a unique period in the history of the earth. A variety of indicators that describe characteristics of the global environment are following exponential trajectories, all rising together and all close to a point of rapid steepening. Furthermore, these curves are entangled and correlated; nearly all are tied in some manner to the human population curve. The challenge of finding solutions to the associated environmental and social problems seems almost insurmountable. The many human factors that have led to our domination on earth, and to this situation, must in turn be the same qualities that need to be better understood and then employed to work beyond those situations. Among these are our ability to form scenarios and act on them, and to predict, an ability that shows continued advances. Humans and other animals are quite adept at linearizing around the current moment and acting on limited short-term projections derived therefrom. For several reasons we are much less skillful at reacting to acceleration in the world around us, a feature we increasingly encounter. The prediction problem is so complex that for the foreseeable future we must rely strongly on observations and their analysis. To cope, new modes of understanding are required. The pace of cultural evolution now swamps that of genetic evolution (though the legacy of the latter still thoroughly pervades our lives). Networking is a crucial component of future progress. Knowledge is essential, and its continued acquisition must be vigorously advocated, across the entire spectrum of natural (physical) and social science and the humanities. Especially important in the sciences is continued improvement in the ability to bridge across disciplines to better integrate knowledge. In the face of so many simultaneous great challenges, there are well-grounded reasons for optimism, to be elaborated. This talk will draw from a variety of viewpoints and authors, and hopefully invoke the spirit of its gifted namesake, John Tyndall (1820-1893), and his passions for understanding the nature of the physical world, for mountaineering, and for tireless devotion to the communication of science and its findings to wide public audiences and to students. 

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