NOAA head to step down

WASHINGTON - Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, announced this week she is resigning her post "to return to my family and academia." She will continue in the post through February. No replacement has yet been named.

During her time with NOAA, which began in 2009, Lubchenco has overseen a number of large operations, including the Deepwater Horizon spill cleanup in 2010 and the new fishery management system instituted in New England in 2009. In her resignation letter, published in the Washington Post and elsewhere, Lubchenco details 20 accomplishments she feels represents significant progress for NOAA. Among them are helping create the first National Ocean Policy; creating "a new generation of climate services to promote public understanding"; responding to disasters such as Deepwater Horizon and major hurricanes "as one NOAA"; streamlining regulations; and developing the Arctic Vision and Strategy and Task Force.

"I appreciate the President’s confidence in me and the invitation to be part of his science team and serve at the helm of the Nation’s spectacular ocean, climate, weather and coastal agency," she wrote in concluding her resignation letter.

The Post article also notes that Jack Hayes, then head of NOAA's National Weather Service, retired following an investigation showed millions in misdirected funds, but there's no implication that Lubchenco is stepping down due to perceived impropriety or lack of efficacy.