Lisa Goddard, 55, Dies; Brought Climate Data to Those Who Needed It

Dr. Goddard became the institute’s director just after the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration withdrew funding — a major blow to a center that relied heavily on government support.

With the institute facing low morale and an uncertain future, she rallied its staff and secured new and diversified funding. She then redoubled its outreach efforts, developing long-term relationships with groups like the U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and dozens of governments around the world.

“She was a visionary,” Maureen E. Raymo, the director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia, said in an interview. “She took the I.R.I. and turned it into a powerhouse for providing climate services to the world.”

Lisa Marie Goddard was born on Sept. 23, 1966, in Sacramento, Calif. Her father, Glenn Goddard, worked for the state government, and her mother, Marie Betts, was a teacher.

Along with her husband, she is survived by her mother; her sister, Kristina Zimmerman; and her sons, Sam and Matthew.

She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in physics in 1988. Climate science was still in its infancy at the time, but public awareness of things like ozone depletion was growing, and she saw an opportunity to put her scientific training to practical use.

At Princeton, where she received a doctorate in atmospheric and oceanic sciences in 1995, she studied the effects of El Niño and La Niña, developing models that could predict how those alternating climatic events in the Pacific Ocean affected temperatures and rainfall in distant parts of the world.


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