W.L. Sumathipala is a graduate in Physics and obtained his M.S and PhD in Meteorology from University of Hawaii, USA. He has worked as a professor in Earth Sciences at the State University of New York and in Sri Lanka as a Meteorologist for many years.
Being professor in Physics at the Open University of Sri Lanka he has served in various capacities including Head of Physics Department, Head of Health Sciences and Senate member for many years. He has published over 50 research papers in scientific journals and he has been a Senior associate at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy . He was the President of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007 and president of the Institute of Physics in Sri Lanka in 1995 – 1997. At present he is the Senior Vice President of the Institute of Environmental Professional, Sri Lanka. He also has served as a Board member of many scientific Boards of Sri Lanka.
He was the Director of the National Ozone Unit (NOU) for over 12 years and was the 1st Director of the Climate Change Division of the ministry of Environment. At present he serves as the Senior Technical Advisor to the ministry of Environment and participates at international negotiations on Climate Change and Ozone Layer protection.
Professor Sumathipala has been a member of the Executive committee of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol and was the Chairman of the Implementation Committee of the Montreal Protocol in 2012. He was also a member of the Expert Committee on National communication under UNFCCC in 2010 – 2011.
He received US EPA award in 2008 for outstanding contribution for global environment protection and Implementation award of the Montreal protocol at its 20th anniversary celebration in 2007 to National Ozone Unit of Sri Lanka when he was the Director.