Arizona State University’s Erinanne Saffell to Serve as Arizona’s State Climatologist

Erinanne Saffell, a senior lecturer in Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, has been appointed Arizona’s state climatologist by Governor Doug Ducey. In this role, she will educate and advise both local and state communities on issues of climate and weather.

Since 2009, Dr. Saffell has worked as a senior lecturer in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where she develops courses and upper-division seminars in physical geography, meteorology, and climatology, and directs K–12 outreach and training programs on these topics. Dr. Saffell will simultaneously teach various geography courses at the university and serve as state climatologist.

“I’m eager to go talk to different communities across the state, especially the smaller communities, and answer their questions about weather and climate and learn from the experiences that they’ve had,” she said. “It’s very humbling. I always look at my role as an educator as someone who’s serving the next generation. I can talk about the science — but my students are really excited to learn and make a difference. I’m excited to see what they can come up with and what kind of innovations can happen as a result.”

One of her first priorities in her new role is addressing the ongoing drought in Arizona, Saffell said. “Even with all of the precipitation that we experienced in June and July, we’re still going to be in some measure of drought. We are seeing some improvements, but drought is a long-term event and it’s going to take a little bit more than one storm event or one summer to move out of that drought.”

Saffell started her journey into studying climate at Arizona State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in geography in 1999. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in geography with an emphasis on climatology from Arizona State.

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