DoD Scientist of the Quarter

Dr. Justin McLay, Naval Research Laboratory

Justin McLay, PhD, was recently selected as the Department of Defense (DOD) Laboratory Scientist of the Quarter for the Second Quarter of 2015 for his distinguished accomplishments in leading the "New Rules of Predictability"' weather forecasting project. His accomplishments were made possible by his key role in the development and technical transition of the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) Ensemble Forecast System (EFS), which provides important contributions to the Department missions and the fundamental understanding of the impact of weather and climate change. Earlier this year, he led the successful transition of the Navy’s first operational method for random forcing of the NAVGEM global model (Stochastic Kinetic Energy Backscatter with Moisture Convergence mask, or SKEB-mc), which improves the measurement of forecast uncertainty.

USD(AT&L) Frank Kendall presents the Scientist of the Quarter Award to Dr. Justin McLay
Dr. Justin McLay is presented with the Scientist of the Quarter Award.

Photo by Dirke Williams, AT&L

Dr. McLay, currently a meteorologist at the Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, Calif., began his career in weather science as a certified weather observer for the National Weather Service while attending graduate school.  He received a PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, and was granted a post-doctoral appointment with the National Research Council (NRC) at NRL-Monterey in the Global Modeling Section of the Atmospheric Dynamics and Prediction Branch.  He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Atmospheric Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997 and 2001. He also has a commercial airplane pilot license and earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Aviation Technology from Purdue University in 1993.

As an NRL Postdoctoral Fellow, he served as lead scientific developer of the Navy’s 2nd -generation global ensemble prediction system (EPS), based on the ensemble-transform (ET) algorithm, which was successfully transitioned in 2008.  Since FY14 he has been principal scientific lead on three projects totaling more than $1 million in annual funding. In April 2015 he received the Alan Berman Annual Research Publication Award for a study of statistical inference applied to model parameter uncertainty.  Dr. McLay has authored or co-authored 17 journal articles and has led nine successful technical transitions for the Navy’s NAVGEM global EPS.