Heidi Cullen serves as the Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives and Director of the Information and Technology Dissemination Division at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Before joining MBARI, Cullen served as Chief Scientist for Climate Central—a non-profit science communication organization she helped found in 2008. Cullen also served as The Weather Channel’s first on-air climate expert. Prior to that, Cullen worked as a research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO. She received the NOAA Climate & Global Change Fellowship and spent two years at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society working to apply long-range climate forecasts to the water resources sector in Brazil and Paraguay.

Cullen received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University and received a Ph.D. in climatology and ocean-atmosphere dynamics from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), serves on the Strategic Advisory Committee of Center for Ocean Leadership, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island. Cullen also serves on the jury of the National Academies’ Eric and Wendy Schmidt Awards for Excellence in Science CommunicationsShe is the author of The Weather of the Future published by Harper Collins in 2010. In 2017, Cullen received the National Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award for her work as a science communicator. She received the 2019 Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education for outstanding contributions to the advancement of defending the teaching of climate science.

Selected Publications

  • Maibach, E., Cullen, H., Placky, B. et al. Improving public understanding of climate change by supporting weathercasters. Nat. Clim. Chang. 12, 694–695 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-022-01433-2
  • Rennie, J., J.E. Bell, K.E. Kunkel, S. Herring, H. Cullen, and A.M. Abadi. 2019. Development of a submonthly temperature product to monitor near-real-time climate conditions and assess long-term heat events in the United States. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 58: 2653–2674. https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-19-0076.1
  • Philip, S., S. F. Kew, G. J. Van Oldenborgh, F. Otto, S. O’Keefe, K. Haustein, A. King, A. Zegeye, Z. Eshetu, K. Hailemariam, R. Singh, E. Jjemba, C. Funk, and H. Cullen. Attribution analysis of the Ethiopian drought of 2015. Journal of Climate. Submitted.
  • Uhe, P., S. Philip, S. Kew, K. Shah, J. Kimutai, E. Mwangi, G. J. Van Oldenborgh, R. Singh, J. Arrighi, E. Jjemba, H. Cullen, and F. Otto. Attributing drivers of the 2016 Kenyan drought. International Journal of Climatology. Submitted.
  • Perkins, D., E. Maibach, N. Gardiner, J. Witte, B. Ward, B. Placky, K. Seitter, and H. Cullen, (2017). Most Americans want to learn more about climate change. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0097.1.
  • van der Wiel, K., S. Kapnick, G. J. van Oldenborgh, K. Whan, S. Philip, G. Vecchi, R. Singh, J. Arrighi, and H. Cullen, (2017). Rapid attribution of August 2016 flood-­inducing extreme precipitation in south Louisiana to climate change. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 897-921, doi:10.5194/hess-21-897-2017, 2017.
  • Mote, P. W., D. E. Rupp, S. Li, D. J. Sharp, F. Otto, P. F. Uhe, M. Xiao, D. P. Lettenmaier, H. Cullen, and M. R. Allen, (2016). Perspectives on the causes of exceptionally low 2015 snowpack in the western United States, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 10,980–10,988, doi: 10.1002/2016GL069965.
  • Haustein, K., F.E.L. Otto, P. Uhe, N. Schaller, M. R. Allen, L. Hermanson, N. Christidis, P. McLean, and H. Cullen, (2016). Real-time extreme weather event attribution with forecast seasonal SSTs. Environmental Research Letters, 11(6). 064006.
  • Maibach, E., H. Cullen, B. Placky, J. Witte, K. Seitter, N. Gardiner, T. Myers, and S. Sublette, (2016). TV meteorologists as local climate educators. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.505.
  • F. Otto, C. Coelho, D. Karoly, A. King, E. Coughlan de Perez, Y. Wada, G.J. van Oldenborgh, R. Haarsma, K. Haustein, P. Uhe, M. van Aalst, J. A. Aravequia, W. Almeida, and H. Cullen, (2015). Factors other than climate change, main driver of 2014/15 water shortage in Southeast Brazil, BAMS Special Report, Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective, 96(12): 35-40.
  • A. King, G. J. van Oldenborgh, D. Karoly, S. Lewis, H. Cullen, (2015). Attribution of the record high Central England Temperature of 2014 to anthropogenic influence, Environ. Res. Lett., 10(5): 4002.
  • A. Anderson, T. A. Myers, E. W. Maibach, H. Cullen, J. Gandy, J. Witte, N. Stenhouse, and A. Leiserowitz, (2013). If they like you, they learn from you: How a brief weathercaster-delivered climate education segment is moderated by viewer evaluations of the weathercaster, Weather, Climate, and Society.
  • H. Cullen, 2010: The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms and Other Scenes from a Climate Changed Planet, Harper Collins.
  • Visbeck, J. Hurrell, L. Polvani, and H. M. Cullen, 2001: The North Atlantic Oscillation: Past, present, and future. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98: 12876-12877.
  • M. Barlow, M. Wheeler, B. Lyon, and H. Cullen, 2005: Modulation of Daily Precipitation Over Southwest Asia by the Madden-Julian Oscillation, Monthly Weather Review, 133, 3579-3594.
  • H.M. Cullen, P.B. deMenocal, 2000: North Atlantic Influence on Tigris-Euphrates Streamflow, International Journal of Climatology, 20(8): 853-863.
  • H.M. Cullen, P.B. deMenocal, 2000: The Possible Role of Climate in the collapse of the Akkadian Empire: evidence from the deep sea. Geology, 28(4): 379-382.
  • M. Visbeck, H. Cullen, G. Krahmann, and N. Naik, 1998: An ocean model’s response to North Atlantic Oscillation-like wind forcing, Geophysical Research Letters, 25(24): 4521-4525.
  • G. Bond, W. Showers, M. Cheseby, R. Lotti, P. Almasi, P. deMenocal, P. Priore, H. Cullen, I. Hajdas, G. Bonani, 1997: A pervasive millennial-scale cycle in North Atlantic Holocene and glacial climates, Science, 278: 1257-1266.