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Charlette Geffen

Earth & Biological Sciences
Chief Science & Tech Officer
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: J4-16
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Geffen is the Director for the Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change (ASGC) Division at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and also serves as the Laboratory Research Manager for the Climate and Environmental Sciences Programs at PNNL. As the Division Director, she directs research to understand the atmospheric processes that drive regional and global earth systems, and interactions with precipitation, land surface and human activities. The Division has a primary focus on cloud physics and aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions; global- and regional-scale climate modeling, including hydrologic systems and human systems (particularly energy-climate interactions), and complex regional meteorology and aerosol chemistry. The Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership between PNNL and the University of Maryland, located in College Park, MD, is also under her leadership as a part of the ASGC Division. As a leader for the Climate and Environmental Sciences Program, she provides leadership for PNNL programs across a broad integrated Earth sciences spectrum, with a vision to advance the predictive capability and utility of climate and Earth system models to inform solutions that enable effective mitigation of impacts and adaptation to change.

Our climate and environmental sciences portfolio includes the DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility; the Atmospheric Systems Research Program; the Climate Modeling Program, which includes regional and global earth system modeling, and integrated assessment; the Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Program, and the Terrestrial Ecosystems Science Program. Dr. Geffen was also the steward for a laboratory level investment in integrated Earth-Energy system modeling: the Platform for Regional Integrated Modeling and Analysis (PRIMA) Initiative. This research focused on creating a unique modeling capability for regional integrated assessment that is portable, consistent with global modeling and analyses, and provides significant improvements and insights into the interaction of human decisions and climate change on regional scales. Integrated models of this type do not currently exist. Overall, the division's programs cover a broad set of topics from the role of clouds and aerosol processes in climate change, to the effect of energy technology choices and human activities on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. These efforts combine an extensive worldwide field observational system and international network of collaborators with laboratory research and modeling to advance our understanding of integrated earth systems on regional and global scales.

Dr. Geffen has served in lead roles at conferences and on advisory groups. Her most recent appointments are to the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors (Air, Climate and Energy subcommittee) and to the UCAR Board of Trustees. She was a lead author on a National Research Council report on collaborations between DOE national laboratories and universities. Highlights of her community leadership in the global change arena include her role as session organizer for the 2008 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference where she also presented on the topic, “Transforming Our Ability to Predict Climate Change and Its Effects”, and panel organizer for “Technology and the Global Challenges: Security, Energy, Water, and the Environment” session at the 2011 IAMOT Conference in Florida, where she also gave a keynote speech entitled “Global Change and Security: A Complex Systems Problem”.

Dr. Geffen has published more than 50 articles and full-length reports and is a reviewer for the International Journal of Operations Management. She has served in a variety of research and leadership positions during her career at PNNL, as well as an adjunct faculty member at Washington State University “ Tri-Cities.

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Technology Management and Planning through the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department,
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • M.B.A., Finance, University of Washington
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, Stanford University

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Society of Automotive Engineers
  • International Association for the Management of Technology

PNNL Publications


  • Geffen CA, and KS Judd. 2004. "Innovation through Initiatives -- A Framework for Building New Capabilities in Public Sector Research Organizations." Journal of Engineering and Technology Management. JET-M 21(4):281-306. 
  • Geffen CA, JA Edmonds, and SH Kim. 2004. "Transportation and Climate Change: The Potential for Hydrogen Systems." In Environmental sustainability in the mobility industry : technology and business challenges, SAE World Congress, Detroit, Mich., SP (Society of Automotive Engineers) , vol. 1865, pp. 13-20.  SAE International, Warrendale, PA. 


  • Geffen CA, and S Rothenberg. 2000. "Suppliers and Environmental Innovation: The Automotive Paint Process." International Journal of Operations and Production Management 20(2):166-186. 


  • Geffen CA. 1999. "Emerging Standards for Automotive Assembly Plants: The Need for a Systems Approach." In Vehicle recycling, regulatory, policy and labeling issues, 1999 SAE International Congress and Exposition, vol. SAE/SP-99/1430, pp. 179-187.  Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, PA. 


  • Geffen CA, FR Field, III, and JA Isaacs. 1998. "Economic and Environmental Tradeoffs in New Automotive Painting Technologies." In Engineering the Product Development Revolution:1998 SAE International Congress and Exposition, February 23-26, 1998, Cobo Center, Detroit, Michigan, USA., no. 981164, SAE International, Warrendale, PA. 

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