About Us

About Us

AOML is a federal research laboratory in Miami, Florida. As a part of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, we study hurricanes, coastal ecosystems, oceans and human health, climate, global carbon, and how the ocean changes over time. We partner with many NOAA offices and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) led by the University of Miami, to support NOAA’s mission and improve prediction and management services for the nation.

A Leader in Earth System Research

Our Mission

To conduct and transition world-class Earth system research, with a focus on the Atlantic Ocean region, to inform: the accurate forecasting of extreme weather and ocean phenomena, the management of marine resources, and an understanding of climate change and associated impacts, thereby improving ocean and weather services for the region, the nation, and the world.

Our Vision

Be the leader in Earth system research in the Atlantic Ocean region, providing trusted scientific data and knowledge to predict changes in weather, climate, oceans, and marine ecosystems.

Our Leadership

Acting Director

Molly is a veteran sea-going oceanographer and has led numerous research projects during her 22-year tenure at AOML. Her research portfolio is strongly rooted in the Atlantic Ocean, linking ocean circulation patterns and changes to global and regional climate patterns. She skillfully manages research teams and projects, and forges partnerships with national and international research institutions, including the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Environmental Research Council in the UK, among others, to bring AOML science to bear.

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Molly’s research expertise includes measuring the strength of the Western Boundary Current in the North Atlantic, monitoring the meridional overturning circulation in the North Atlantic as part of the RAPID/MOCH program, managing high-density XBT observations in the Atlantic, and leading repeat hydrography and coastal carbon dioxide surveys. Molly has served in leadership roles on more than 29 hydrographic programs since 1998, including the role of chief scientist on more than a dozen of these cruises.

Molly’s scientific leadership extends well beyond the ship’s helm. Molly has served on more than 21 national and international panels including as secretary of the Physical Oceanography Section of the American Meteorological Society and the International Argo Panel, regularly providing advice and direction on national science policy and program management, including stakeholder negotiations.

Molly received her doctoral degree in 1994 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the field of physical oceanography. Molly is also a graduate of NOAA’s Leadership Competency Development Program and the National Weather Service’s Building Leaders for a Solid Tomorrow (BLAST) program. Molly also served as AOML’s acting deputy director in 2010, during the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, skillfully managing resources to support AOML’s scientific response.

Molly has published over 80 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Science, the Journal of Climate, and the Journal of Geophysical Research, to name a few. Over the past ten years she has also served as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on numerous externally funded research programs totaling more than $30 million. She is also the recipient of the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal award for her role on the Western Boundary Time Series Team.

| AOML Acting Director

Molly Baringer, Ph.D.

| AOML Acting Deputy Director

Rick Lumpkin

Acting Deputy Director

Prior to assuming the role of Acting Deputy Director, Dr. Rick Lumpkin was the Director of the Physical Oceanography Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML). Dr. Lumpkin’s research focuses on upper ocean processes and ocean circulation. He received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii in 1998 and conducted a postdoctorate at the French institute IFREMER in 1998—2000. Lumpkin then worked as an assistant in research at Florida State University, where in collaboration with Kevin Speer he developed an inverse model of the global meridional overtuning (“conveyor belt”) circulation from hydrographic data, current meter moorings and air-sea heat and freshwater flux estimates. In 2004, Lumpkin became a federal employee at AOML in Miami, Florida.

In 2015, he was promoted to deputy director of AOML’s Physical Oceanography Division, and become acting director of the division in 2021. Lumpkin serves as lead of the US delegation to the Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP). In 2020, Lumpkin joined the WMO’s Standing Committee for Measurements, Instrumentation, and Traceability. As a Principal Investigator of NOAA’s Global Drifter Program (GDP), he oversees a global array of ~1300 satellite-tracked drifting buoys measuring ocean temperatures, surface currents, barometric pressure, and waves, and has used these data to write a number of peer-reviewed publications. Lumpkin has served as chief scientist on a number of oceanographic research cruises. He also helped design ocean currents displays in the Sant Ocean Hall of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

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He currently serves on leadership committees for NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program, NOAA’s Ecosystem Indicators Working Group, NOAA’s Biscayne Bay Habitat Blueprint Focus Area, NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team, the US Interagency Blue Carbon Working Group, and the Science Coordination Group of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.

I Associate Director

CDR Tony Perry III

Division Directors

Acting Director

Hurricane Research Division

Shirley Murillo

Acting Director

Ocean Chemistry & Ecosystems Division

Jasmin John

Acting Director

Physical Oceanography Division

Renellys Perez, Ph.D.

Acting Deputy Director

Hurricane Research Division

Aaron Poyer

Acting Deputy Director

Ocean Chemistry & Ecosystems Division

Sim Aberson, Ph.D.


A History of Excellence in Research

See all awards earned by AOML staff and scientists for the last decade.


Award Organization Awardees Description
Editor’s Award American Meteorological Society  

Michael S. Fischer


For multiple high-quality and very thorough reviews that have been helpful in making critical editorial decisions about research papers submitted to the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.
Gold Medal Department of Commerce Joseph J. Cione

Jason P. Dunion (CIMAS)

Jun A. Zhang (CIMAS)

For deploying a small uncrewed aircraft system into the eyewall of Hurricane Ian (2022) after a multi-year collaborative effort overcoming many obstacles.
Silver Medal Department of Commerce Sang-Ki Lee

Fabian Gomez (NGI)

For developing the first United States river chemistry dataset for regional ocean biogeochemical modeling and carbon chemistry studies in the US.


Award Organization Awardees Description
Silver Sherman Award National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  

Elizabeth Perez


For outstanding service, going above and beyond, in support of AOML’s contract activities.

Team Member of the Year Award

(Outreach and Education category)

NOAA-Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  

Benjamin R. Chomitz

Kenzie M. Cooke

Allyson N. DeMerlis

Katherine R. Eaton

Taylor J. Gill

Thia E. Griffin-Elliott

Patrick M. Kiel

Graham E. Kolodziej

Christopher M. Malanuk

Ana M. Palacio

Marike Pinsonneault

Rayne B. Sabatello

Nash J. Soderberg

Michael S. Studivan



For exemplary response to the unexpected and unprecedented 2023 coral bleaching event in South Florida and efforts to communicate the event to the American public.
Team Member of the Year Award

(Leadership category)

NOAA-Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  

Jason P. Dunion


For advancing NOAA’s Hurricane Field Program through innovative, inclusive leadership; strong partnerships with key stakeholders; and capacity-building among early-career staff and external teams.

Team Member of the Year Award

(Personal and Professional Excellence category)

NOAA-Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  

William D. Ramstrom


For developing the first ever high-resolution, cloud-allowing, storm-following moving nest capability in NOAA’s Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System and transitioning it to operations.
Team Member of the Year Award

(Personal and Professional Excellence category)

NOAA-Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  

Andrew T. Hazelton


For advancing operational hurricane forecasts by leading the development, evaluation, and operational readiness of the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System’s “B” configuration.

Team Member of the Year Award

(Personal and Professional Excellence category)

NOAA-Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  

Sarah D. Ditchek

For leading the most comprehensive assessments ever undertaken of the impacts of reconnaissance data and observing strategies on numerical weather prediction forecasts of tropical cyclones.
Employee of the Year Award

(Personal and Professional Excellence category)

NOAA-Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research  

Emily B. Osborne


For the tireless promotion and advocacy for safety regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) at NOAA’s AOML, across OAR and NOAA, and in the broader scientific community.
Daniel L. Albritton Outstanding Science Communicator Award National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  

Ian C. Enochs


For outstanding leadership and communication of NOAA’s coral reef research and its relevance to the American public during the 2023 bleaching event.
Federal Employee of the Year Award (scientific category) South Florida Federal Executive Board  

Hosmay Lopez


For groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of how ENSO events will evolve with global warming, with significant implications for how residents of South Florida will experience climate change over the next several decades.
Employee of the Month Award

(February 2023)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  

Nicole I. Besemer


For successfully orchestrating and overseeing field missions in the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas, St. Croix, and Flower Garden Banks following a widespread coral disease outbreak during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring all necessary data were safely and successfully collected in support of NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program.
Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service Office of Personnel Management  

John V. Cortinas


For exceptional leadership throughout more than 15 years of federal service that has led to significant improvements in NOAA’s ability to provide accurate and timely forecasts and warnings for many types of extreme weather, as well as being an exemplary role model for NOAA’s workforce and others from underrepresented communities by working tirelessly to advance diversity and inclusion across NOAA.
Hurricane Hunters complete the first hurricane flight with an all-female science crew. Photo Credit: NOAA.

AOML is a global leader in atmospheric, ocean, and coastal research.

Join Our Diverse Team

At AOML, we pride ourselves on developing a workforce that celebrates diversity and inclusion, encourages exploration in research, and  encourages the career growth and mentorship. View our open positions on this page with links to apply at USA jobs, or learn more about AOML as an organization.