Dr. Melissa Kenney

Melissa Kenney

Indicators Coordinator

National Climate Assessment Staff (NCA)

Contact person by email

Dr. Melissa A. Kenney is Research Faculty in Environmental Decision Analysis at the University of Maryland, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) and Lead Principal Investigator of USGCRP's proposed National Climate Indicators System.

Her research in environmental decision analysis broadly addresses how to integrate both scientific knowledge and societal values into policy decision-making under uncertainty.  This research is inherently multidisciplinary, drawing on the fields of decision theory, environmental sciences, and public policy.

This research addresses a range of topics including global change indicators, nutrient criteria setting, non-market benefits of nutrient reductions, cost-benefit analysis of urban stream restoration, scale of economies and diseconomies in coastal restoration, adaptive environmental decision making for complex systems, model-based bias correction factors for expert elicitation surveys, and value of information of indicators.

These projects were published in a range of refereed journals and reports and funded by National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS), Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), National Water Research Institute (NWRI), and Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (EPA STAR).

From 2010-2012, Dr. Kenney was a Research Assistant Scientist at Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering and an American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow hosted by the NOAA Climate Program Office and the USGCRP, National Climate Assessment. During her AAAS fellowship, Dr. Kenney coordinated the development of:

  1. The physical, ecological, and societal indicator framework for the National Climate Assessment
  2. Transboundary climate adaptation and sustained assessment services in the Columbia River and Pacific Northwest
  3. Enhanced collaboration between NOAA and the National Science Foundation, Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate

Among her significant honors are Lead Author for the Decision Support Chapter of the 2013 National Climate Assessment (2012-2013), Sigma Xi Fresh Faces (2011), National Water Research Institute Fellowship (2006, 2007), Morris K. and Stuart L. Udall Scholar for Environmental Policy and Leadership (2001), National Winner of FFA Soil and Water Management Proficiency Award (1999).

Melissa received a B.A. with Distinction in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. in Water Quality Modeling and Decision Analysis in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University, and was a postdoctoral scholar with the NSF National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics at The Johns Hopkins University.