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Summer, 2019 Issue

June 27, 2019

John Harding, Former NGI Scientist Wins Robert M. Freeman Volunteer of the Year Award by Virginia Institute of Marine Science

John Harding, a former NGI chief scientist, was recently honored with the Robert M. Freeman Volunteer of the Year Award by Virginia Institute of Marine Science with The Commonwealth of Virginia's William and Mary University. Congratulations, John!

Dr. John Harding joined the Northern Gulf Institute as Chief Scientist in June 2009 and retired in May 2013. He earned his B.S. in Physics from the University of Miami in 1970, an M.S. in Marine Science from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1971 and a Ph.D. in Marine Science from Louisiana State University in 1987. Dr. Harding was formerly head of the Naval Research Laboratory's Ocean Dynamics and Prediction Branch from 1995 until 2002 when he became Chief Scientist at the Naval Oceanographic Office.

His position at NGI was a non-tenure track, full-time, faculty-equivalent research position. His primary responsibility was to provide leadership for the research programs of the Northern Gulf Institute, a multi-university, a research consortium led by MSU and located at the John C. Stennis Space Center. This position involved organizing and leading scientific teams conducting research funded by and in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other Federal agencies with responsibilities in the Gulf of Mexico region. The position reported to the Co-Director of the Northern Gulf Institute, located at Stennis Space Center.

Major Accomplishments

Following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010, working closely with then NGI Co-Director Dr. Michael Carron, Dr. Harding helped coordinate the initial NGI research response with the participating NGI universities. In particular, he organized and led the independent review of NGI proposals by the Harte Research Institute for 4 M of the BP year one funds Following the departure of Dr. Carron to GOMRI, Dr. Harding served as overall technical lead for NGI, BP-funded Year 1 multi-university projects (Robert Moorhead served an overall PI role and provided administrative leadership).  In this role, Dr. Harding monitored technical progress, reviewed final technical reports, participated in data management GRIIDC effort for overall GoMRI efforts, presented NGI overall results at multiple venues including Bays and Bayous (Harding et al., 2012) and authored the Year 1 final report.

Overlapping with the above efforts, Dr. Harding served as Co-Lead PI (with three others) on the 4M Year 1, NOAA IOOS-funded Coastal Ocean Modeling Testbed (COMT) project. This was a multi-university, multi-federal agency effort organized by the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA). He co-authored the AMS presentation summarizing overall COMT Year 1 accomplishments (Leuttich et al., 2012).

As lead PI for the ~800K Shelf Hypoxia team under the COMT, Dr. Harding coordinated the initial proposal writing, the on-going research and the final report with members from 7 universities (including 3 NGI partners) and three federal agencies (NOAA, EPA, Navy). He presented the summary results with his shelf hypoxia team leaders at the AMS annual meeting (Harding et al., 2012)

Dr. Harding's particular research interest on the shelf hypoxia team focused on the verification of ocean prediction systems and the transition of operational Navy ocean prediction results to NOAA for civilian applications. Working with Drs Scott Cross (NOAA) and Frank Bub (Navy), Dr. Harding consulted throughout his NGI tenure on presentation of these Navy results through the NOAA OceanNOMADS archive and distribution system (Cross et al. 2012; Harding et al. 2013) See https://ecowatch.ncddc.noaa.gov/.