Jim Wilczak




Boundary Layer Observations and Processes




(303) 807-9797



James Wilczak is a research meteorologist at the Physical Sciences Laboratory of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado. Jim's main area of research is the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer, including the relationship of the boundary layer to renewable energy and to air quality. His work includes observational, modeling, and theoretical studies, and in particular, he has extensive expertise in the application remote sensing instrumentation for boundary layer investigations. His multi-disciplinary approach has involved studies of boundary layer flows in complex terrain, severe weather including tornadic storms, air sea-interaction, the role of weather on air quality, and the development of NOAA's operational post-processing system for air quality forecasts. Over the past decade, Jim's main research goal has been to advance our knowledge of how weather and climate impacts wind and solar energy generation. He has significantly contributed to the development of a renewable energy research program within NOAA. This includes being the NOAA Technical Manager for the 2012 DOE/NOAA Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP), and the lead of the observational component of the 2016 DOE/NOAA/Vaisala Second Wind Forecast Improvement Project (WFIP2). He has also worked on projects to examine the role of meteorology in national electric grid design in a near 100% renewable energy scenario, and on offshore wind.

Research Interests

  • Boundary Layer Meteorology
  • Renewable Energy
  • Air Quality
  • Remote Sensing


  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, University of Washington, Sep 1982
  • M.S., Atmospheric Science, University of Washington, Jun 1979
  • B.A., Physics, Kalamazoo College, Jun 1976

Professional Memberships

  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Geophysical Union

Honors and Awards

  • Department of Commerce Silver Medal, 2023
  • NOAA Administrator Award, 2020
  • NOAA Technology Transfer Award, 2017
  • Achievement Award, Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group, 2015
  • Department of Commerce Silver Medal, 1998
  • Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, 1997
  • Outstanding Scientific Paper Award, 1996, NOAA/ERL, Department of Commerce
  • Distinguished Authorship Award, 1989, NOAA/ERL, Department of Commerce

Related Links