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Trump reportedly plans to tap extreme-weather expert to head science office

The appointment would end a 19-month-long vacancy in the office.

kelvin-droegemeier

Kelvin Droegemeier, vice president of research and professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.

OU School Meterology via YouTube

President Donald Trump intends to nominate an extreme-weather expert as his top science and technology adviser, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Trump has chosen Kelvin Droegemeier, vice president of research and professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, to run the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified administration official. If the Senate approves Droegemeier's nomination, it would end a 19-month-long vacancy in the office.

The OSTP's job is to advise the president on science matters that affect the country's economy, national security, environment, health and foreign relations. But the Trump administration has alienated many scientists, in particular over the issue of global climate change.

The OSTP staffing level has plummeted since the Obama administration was in power, according to CBS News. Former OSTP director John Holdren, who served during the presidency of Barack Obama, told the journal Science last year that the office had peaked at 135 employees but dropped to 35. "On 30 June the last scientist in the science division left," he said.

A meteorologist by training, Droegemeier has also been active in government, serving as Oklahoma's secretary of science and technology. He was also appointed to the National Science Board in 2004 and 2011.

Neither Droegemeier nor the White House immediately responded to requests for comment.

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