Dorothy Koch

Dorothy Koch, PhD

Director, Weather Program Office

Dr. Dorothy Koch has been the Director of the NOAA Weather Program Office (WPO) since 2021. She is honored to lead this talented and diverse team that is responsible for funding and fostering the advances in weather research that is so vital for preparing the nation for the increasingly severe and impactful weather that accompanies climate change. In addition to leading WPO, Dr. Koch is OAR’s Weather Portfolio Steward, leading and coordinating OAR Laboratories and Programs to advance weather research. Dr. Koch is also chair of NOAA’s Modeling Board, a Team within NOAA’s Weather, Water and Climate Board (WWCB) responsible for strategic alignment of NOAA’s modeling activities.


Prior to WPO, from 2019-21, Dr. Koch was the Director of the National Weather Service (NWS) Modeling Division within the Office of Science and Technology Integration. She had oversight of projects to develop NOAA’s operational forecast systems, including hurricanes, air-quality, short-range severe weather, and medium to extended range global forecasts.  Prior to joining NOAA, from 2010-2019, Dr. Koch worked for the Department of Energy (DoE) leading DoE’s Earth System Modeling portfolio of laboratory and university research projects. There she launched the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) Project, a state-of-the-science Earth system model development and simulation project designed to investigate energy-relevant science, including water availability, land-biogeochemical feedbacks and sea-level rise, and to effectively utilize DoE’s High Performance Computers. She also served as the DoE Principal for the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR; 2015-2019), spearheaded the multi-agency USGCRP Climate Modeling Summit, lead the climate chapter for the 2016 Earth Observation Assessment, and served on the Scientific Steering Committee for the 2017 National Climate Assessment (NCA4 V1). 

Before DoE, Dr. Koch worked for 15 years at Columbia University and NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) where she led the development of the GISS climate model’s aerosol component and studied aerosol-climate interactions. She served as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report (IPCC AR5), published over 85 peer-reviewed publications, and was listed among Thomson Reuters’ Highly Cited Researchers for 4 years. Dr. Koch earned her PhD from Yale University and her BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, both in Geology and Geophysics.