Colorado is losing a state treasure, or at least full-time access to one.
Nolan Doesken, the state climatologist since 2006 and the assistant state climatologist for many years before that, is retiring. He plans to scale back his workload to about quarter time starting with Colorado State University’s fall semester.
That means he might not be traveling as much to the Eastern Plains to talk to farmers about what they can expect from their crops this year or to the Western Slope to talk about the implications of the snowpack.
He may be less available to news organizations across the state that need historical context for stories about floods, droughts tornadoes, blizzards, heat waves, cold snaps, and so on.
During his 40 years at the Colorado Climate Center in CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, Nolan established himself as a researcher and record keeper but also as something of a celebrity, in a low-key and good humored way.
He could connect with anyone. He was adept at community engagement and outreach before they became buzz words.
My first contact with Nolan was in 1990, when I was an intern at the Denver Post. The editors had me doing some weather story.
I don’t remember the story but I remember calling Nolan and chatting him up. He was gracious and patient in explaining weather in terms I — and therefore the general public — could understand.
Six years later, I moved to Fort Collins…
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