The position, pushed forward by the White House pending completion of ethics and security reviews, would put Maue in a leadership position within the agency. As chief scientist, Maue would be tasked with helping to establish its oceans and atmosphere research priorities as well as playing a role in enforcing its scientific integrity policy.
The White House and NOAA declined to comment, and the Commerce Department that oversees NOAA did not respond to a request for comment.
The NOAA scientific integrity policy is meant to prevent political influence from interfering with its scientific work as well as the communication of NOAA scientists’ findings. The current acting chief scientist, Craig McLean, initiated an investigation into NOAA leaderships’ actions during the controversy surrounding the agency’s support for President Trump’s inaccurate claims regarding the path of Hurricane Dorian.
Maue is a meteorologist who serves as the developer of weathermodels.com, a site that displays computer model information using eye-catching graphics to make their simulations accessible to professionals and hobbyists. He was previously an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, which was involved in efforts to question the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.
Along with Patrick Michaels, a well-known climate change contrarian, Maue penned a 2018 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal challenging the climate change projections made in 1988 by noted former NASA scientist James Hansen, which other researchers, backed up by peer-reviewed studies, have found were prescient.
He has harshly criticized climate activists and Democrats for pushing for cuts in fossil fuel emissions by linking extreme weather events to global warming, but he does not dispute the fact that human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases are warming the planet in ways that are causing significant impacts. He has also spoken out against scientists who link rapid Arctic climate change to weather extremes taking place outside the Arctic.
In recent months he’s been harshly critical of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and his linking of the state’s deadly wildfire season to climate change. Climate studies show global warming is amplifying wildfire risks, making blazes more intense and frequent than they were a few decades ago.
For example, a study published in August shows California’s frequency of fall days with extreme fire-weather conditions has already more than doubled since the 1980s.
Maue is also known for tracking and evaluating the accuracy of weather forecasting models and has a lengthy social media history of criticizing NOAA’s National Weather Service for falling behind Europe, the U.K. and Canada when it comes to the accuracy of its computer modeling. But he has also praised the agency’s recent efforts to close the gap.
A recent pattern of NOAA hires
Maue’s forthcoming appointment comes amid increased White House attention to what is typically a low key government agency. Earlier this month, the White House named controversial climate contrarian David Legates as deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for environmental observation and prediction. Legates, a professor at the University of Delaware, is affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a