Dr. Charles Walthall is the National Program Leader for the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Climate Change, Soils and Air Quality Research Program. He also oversees ARS remote sensing and geospatial research, plant and environmental process modeling research and development of data management systems for ARS natural resources projects.
Dr. Walthall was introduced to climate change science as a graduate student during 1983, and has interacted with the climate research communities throughout his career. He is the lead author of the first USDA Climate Change Science Plan, the Climate Change and Agriculture: Effects and Adaptation document for the National Climate Assessment, the ARS Climate Change, Soils and Emissions National Program Action Plan, and contributed climate change and soils sections to the USDA Research Economics and Education Strategic Plan. He was also lead author for the agriculture, forestry, and land degradation sections of the first Strategic Plan for the US Integrated Earth Observation System and was invited to participate in the recent US Civil Earth Observations Assessment. He provided guidance for the USDA Climate Change Agency Adaptation Plans structure, co-developed the international Global Research Alliance (GRA) on greenhouse gas reductions agriculture Croplands Research Group, and is currently on the USDA Climate Change Hubs development team. He serves on interagency working groups on climate change, earth observations, air quality, and soils, and is frequently invited to speak on climate change topics by domestic and international organizations.
Dr. Walthall has a BS in Geography from the University of Maryland; an MS in Forest Science with a specialization in remote sensing from Texas A&M; and a PhD in Agricultural Meteorology and Climatology with a specialization in remote sensing from the University of Nebraska. Prior to joining the ARS Office of National Programs during 2005, Dr. Walthall conducted research to develop remote sensing technologies for urbanized area change detection, rangeland ecology, forestry, agriculture, and land-surface climatology. The research was conducted in the US, Canada, Africa and Russia and involved laboratory and field measurements, modeling, and hardware and software development that contributed to aircraft and satellite sensor systems. Dr. Walthall is ranked among the top 100 authors cited in the remote sensing literature. Prior to joining USDA-ARS in 1994, Dr. Walthall worked with NASA, the University of Maryland and the World Bank.