Climatologist Heidi Cullen understands the danger posed by climate change — but also understands the difficulty in spurring an effective response to it. “This is the ultimate in unsexy problems,” she says, noting that people simply aren’t “wired” to respond to the long-term nature of the risks involved.
Cullen is the chief scientist for Climate Central, a climate science research and journalism organization. Before helping start-up Climate Central in 2008, she was research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and in 2003, became the first on-air climate expert for The Weather Channel, where she helped launch the program “Forecast Earth.”
Cullen runs Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution program, a new effort to assess the influence of climate change on extreme-weather events such as heat waves, droughts and floods. She’s the author of The Weather of the Future and serves as chief science advisor to the series “Years of Living Dangerously.” Cullen also serves on the American Meteorological Society Council and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Atmospheric Science and Climate. She has her doctorate in climatology and ocean-atmosphere dynamics from Columbia University in New York City.