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Sun, 05.11.1952

Evan B. Forte, Oceanographer born

Evan Forte

*Evan B. Forde was born on this date in 1952.  He is a Black oceanographer, environmental justice, educator, and climate change advocate.

He was born in Miami, Florida, and received his primary education in the local public school system. Forde, whose father was a high school science teacher, developed a love of science as a young boy and always wanted to be a scientist. He had a telescope, microscope, and chemistry set by the time he was in third grade. He received his bachelor's degree in Geology and his master’s degree in Marine Geology and Geophysics, both from Columbia University in New York City.

After earning his M.A., Forde worked at National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) AOML in Miami, mapping the Atlantic Seafloor. In 1979, Forde became the first Black oceanographer to conduct a research mission aboard a submersible craft when he dove into the Nekton Gamma. He completed submersible dive expeditions in Alvin in 1980 and the Johnson Sea Link in 1981. One of his most significant discoveries was the submarine sediment slide off the coast of New Jersey, which caused New Jersey offshore drilling to stop in 1980.

Soon after, Forde began researching hydrothermal plumes and satellite tracking of hurricanes to improve hurricane forecasting and intensity prediction models. This is still a large part of his current research and has expanded to include threat mitigation and training exercises for hurricane response. He has additionally researched the effects that dust storms from Africa have on the formation of Atlantic basin hurricanes. Utilizing his background in classical Marine Geology techniques, Forde became a recognized authority on east coast U.S. submarine canyons' formation, evolution, and sedimentary processes. Additional scientific research efforts by Forde have included studies of gravity-induced mass sediment movements on continental slopes, 3-dimensional mapping of hydrothermal plumes, and the study of ocean-atmosphere exchange of anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

Forde has also worked extensively in STEM education. He authored science experiments in multiple children's magazines, including “Science Corner” in Ebony Jr, with custom-made experiments for several years. He created a Severe Weather Poster for NOAA that was distributed nationally to 50,000 teachers by the National Science Teachers Association. He has spoken to more than 40,000 schoolchildren through presentations about his oceanographic and academic careers. Forde created and taught a graduate-level tropical meteorology course for the University of Miami's INSTAR program for seven years and also created and teaches an oceanography course for middle school students called Oceanographic Curriculum Empowering Achievement in Natural Sciences (OCEANS).

Forde has been the subject of three museum exhibits and featured in numerous periodical articles, textbooks, and other publications on prominent African American scientists. In addition to his scientific career, Evan Forde has served as a PTA President, a church trustee, Scoutmaster, a youth basketball coach, a church webmaster, Sunday School and youth ministry teacher, neighborhood Crime Watch chairman, and numerous other roles that have fostered youth and improved his community. He has initiated programs to combat community food scarcity and actively supports NOAA's Equal Opportunity Employment (EEO) initiatives. In 2001, Forde was named NOAA Research Employee of the Year.

In 2008, he was recognized as South Florida's Federal Employee of the Year in the Service to the Community Category, along with a Congressional Commendation. “Evan B. Forde” days were celebrated in the City of North Miami on February 10, 2009, and in Miami-Dade County on April 21, 2009. In 2011, he also received the NOAA Administrator's (Under Secretary of Commerce) Award for outstanding communication of NOAA science. Additionally, Forde has been the recipient of a host of career and community awards that include being named NOAA's Environmental Research Laboratories EEO Outstanding Employee.

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