Bob Cook, a life in science

Robert B. Cook

The Climate Change Science Institute’s (CCSI’s) Bob Cook, like many of his mentors and colleagues, is nothing if not modest and retiring. When approached about a story on him and his career (in recognition of his fast-approaching retirement), he demurred that he thought it was perhaps more important to do articles on people who were not retiring and were still going to be around. However, he was prevailed upon to share some of his insights and perspectives.

Hey, where did you get those data?

There weren’t many organizations providing or using data product citations when the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for Biogeochemical Dynamics started doing so 18 years ago. And there were few guidelines, so DAAC had to chart its own course, developing recommended citation elements and procedures. This was outlined in a recent article in Ecological Informatics, “Implementation of data citations and persistent identifiers at the ORNL DAAC,” coauthored by Bob Cook, chief scientist at the ORNL DAAC; fellow DAAC scientists; and Jim Kidder, an information management specialist in the ORNL Central Research Library.

Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory releases FY 2015 annual report

The year 2015 will go down in the record books for many reasons, chief among these that it was a year of extremes: extremes in politics; extremes in violence (in and out of politics); and extremes in weather, including devastating droughts and temperature and precipitation extremes.

Urban-CAT—improving resiliency one community at a time

Two Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) institutes, the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI) and the Urban Dynamics Institute (UDI), have joined forces to address one of the most pressing problems facing midsize cities today: how best to allocate scarce resources to deal with climate change. The solution they have devised is a unique web-based decision support tool, the Urban Climate Adaptation Tool, or Urban-CAT.

Shih-Chieh Kao—geography as destiny

It has often been said that “biology is destiny” or “anatomy is destiny.” Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said “character is destiny.” But when it comes to climatology and climate scientists, geography may well be destiny. CCSI scientist Shih-Chieh Kao, team leader of the Hydrologic Systems Analysis Team in the Environmental Science Division, is a good example of this. Kao was born and raised on Taiwan, an island nation in the extreme western Pacific. The eastern two-thirds of Taiwan are very mountainous, and only about 20% of the land is “usable.” Not only is it subject to three or four hurricanes per year, but because it is situated in a complex seismic zone, it is also subject to earthquakes.