Chuck Nittrouer

Ocean Sciences



Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA 


Volunteer experience that relates to this position: 

Member, Executive Committee, AGU Ocean Sciences section; Marine Geology and Geophysics secretary, AGU Ocean Sciences section; chairman/member, AGU Fall Meeting Program Committee, Ocean Sciences section; convener, three AGU Chapman Conferences; convener, 28 special sessions at AGU Fall and Ocean Sciences Meetings; editorial board, AGU Reviews of Geophysics; member, AGU Ocean Sciences Fellows Committee; member, Steering Committee AGU/The Oceanography Society (TOS)/Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Ocean Sciences Meetings; member, TOS Executive Council, Geology & Geophysics; member, Geological Society of America (GSA) Committee for Student Research; member, Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) Committee for Shepard Medal.


Council members play critical roles as communication conduits among AGU members and leaders. How will you engage with members of your section to advance AGU’s new strategic plan? How might you facilitate engagement with other sections and people outside AGU to support our mission?


The ocean sciences community faces challenges that should be turned into opportunities. We undertake fundamental research that is making significant discoveries, but the impacts of new knowledge can be minimized if we are not vigilant about its dissemination. The ocean is the dominant environment on the Earth’s surface and is closely linked to most natural and human-impacted processes. It is incumbent on the Ocean Sciences section to foster continued discoveries but also to articulate how these should steer decisions by government and industry that will “benefit humanity and the environment.


The means for expressing ourselves should be varied in nature and collaborative with other groups. Scientific meetings and journal publications are necessary but not sufficient. We need to talk with the community at all levels, explain the operation of natural processes and make clear the impacts that humans have on many of these. Underserved minorities have been impacted negatively by many aspects of society, but we should strive to make sure we provide them with information relevant to natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes) as well as impending changes from human activities (e.g., climate change). This will mean active involvement where we don’t usually venture community groupings and educational facilities outside our usual venues (i.e., beyond scientists and universities).


Ocean sciences are extremely diverse and are encompassed by other AGU sections and other societies. I encourage us to seek collaborations with these other groups, so our numbers and clout are maximized and, hopefully, our message is more broadly disseminated.


Section affiliations: 

Ocean Sciences