As a faculty member in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Soil, Water, and Climate since 1978, Seeley has participated in thousands of public speaking engagements, meetings, media interviews and person-to-person interactions where he has shared his considerable knowledge of the critical relationship between climate and agricultural production.
Although Seeley grew up in California, he was destined to return to Minnesota. His grandfather farmed near Appleton, Minn., until 1910 when a drought forced his family to leave for a new life in California. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, he joined Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). He earned his master’s in meteorology from Northern Illinois University in 1975, and his doctorate in climatology from the University of Nebraska in 1977.
He was hired to the new position of Extension Climatologist at the University of Minnesota in 1978; in 1989 he was awarded tenure with the rank of professor to go along with his title of Extension meteorologist/climatologist. His primary research emphasis is the use of historical climatological data and networks to identify regional climate trends, climate change signatures, and the associated consequences. In addition, Seeley leads the Kuehnast Lecture Series in atmospheric and climate science.
Today, Seeley is one of the most widely recognized and respected University of Minnesota faculty members. He has represented the university on Minnesota Public Radio, where he provides weekly weather and climate commentary on Morning Edition as well as writing Minnesota WeatherTalk, a weekly online newsletter with more than 5,000 subscribers. He helped public television produce several documentaries on Minnesota’s most significant historical weather events and he has authored and co-authored two popular books, Minnesota Weather Almanac and Voyageur Skies: Weather and the Wilderness in Minnesota’s National Park.