2010 Notable Awards and Accomplishments

Gary Davis

The award was presented at the February 22 luncheon of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR)

Congratulations to Gary K. Davis, Director of the Office of Systems Development and Acting Director Joint Polar Satellite System, for receiving the first American Meteorological Society's Satellite Meteorology, Oceanography, and Climatology Committee Award. This award "recognizes outstanding, even heroic, career accomplishments leading to new concepts, research, regular operations, and practical application of satellite measurements to meteorological, oceanographic, and Climatological problems". The award also recognizes Gary's 35 years of "exemplary service, leadership, and tireless efforts toward the development and operations of our nation's geostationary and polar-orbiting operational environmental satellites."

"I am extremely grateful to be recognized for my 35 years of contributions to the environmental satellite program. In receiving this award I want to recognize all of my government, laboratory, and contractor colleagues who have worked with me to make the environmental satellite program the success it is now," states Gary Davis. Throughout his federal career, Mr. Davis served in positions of increasing responsibility beginning as a satellite engineer to Director of the Office of Satellite Operations from 1995 to 1999.

He is the recipient of 12 previous Department of Commerce and NOAA medals and awards. He was recognized professionally in 2006 as Aviation Week Laureate Award Finalist for Operations, elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2007, and received the 2010 National Capitol Section Barry M. Goldwater Educator Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Locally, Mr. Davis is very active with the Eleanor Roosevelt High School Science Fair, one of the largest technology and science fairs in Maryland. He is a founding member of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable, and he also established the NOAA David Johnson Award to recognize young professionals in the satellite remote sensing.

A transplanted New Yorker, Mr. Davis earned his B.S. degree in mathematics and electrical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1975 and 1976 respectively. Mr. Davis currently lives in Maryland with his wife Mona and they have two children and two grandchildren.

The award was presented at the February 22 luncheon of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR).

Lidia Cucurull

Lidia Cucurull

Congratulations to Lidia Cucurull for receiving the 2010 NOAA David Johnson Award. Dr. Cucurull is a NOAA Program Scientist for GPS Radio Occultation data at the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation in Suitland, MD. She was chosen for this award for her "innovative contributions to weather prediction through developing and implementing a methodology to assimilate satellite-based Global Positioning System-Radio Occultation observations into the National Weather Service's operational global weather prediction model and demonstrating how these data improve the skill and extend the range of weather forecasts."

Dr. Cucurull has been at the NOAA facility since 2003, first as a Visiting Scientist from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, and most recently on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act assignment. Dr. Cucurull earned her B.S. and M.S. at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Barcelona in 2001.

Created in 1999, the NOAA David Johnson Award is presented to young professionals who developed an innovative application of Earth observation satellite data that can be used for operational purposes. The nominee must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and not more than 40 years of age. The award honors David Simonds Johnson, a pioneer in the use of weather satellites and the first Assistant Administrator of the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS). Dr. Cucurull will receive her award on April 1 at the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner at the National Space Club.

Linda V. Moodie

Linda Moodie

Congratulations to Linda Moodie who recently retired after serving 22 years with NESDIS and as a public servant for 26 years. Her most recent position was as Senior Advisor to NOAA and Branch Chief in the Office of International and Interagency Affairs. "I was one of Brent Smith's first hires. There were only 9 or 10 people in the office and we were out in Suitland," recalls Ms. Moodie.

Ms. Moodie has played a major role in the creation of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) that is developing a comprehensive global network of observing systems for monitoring the planet. From the initial summit, which she helped to organize in 2003, there are now 85 member countries, the European Commission, and 61 international organizations.

For the last 12 years, she also represented the U.S. to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and was the lead negotiator for research and systematic observation issues. Ms. Moodie has been cited for her leadership in numerous international and interagency activities related to data policy and to the application of satellite data for climate, oceans, terrestrial, and disasters.

Prior to coming to NOAA, she served as Deputy Director at the Bretton Woods Committee, Public Policy Analyst and Project Coordinator at the National Council for International Health, and as a staff member for Senator Walter F. Mondale. Ms. Moodie earned her B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and her M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies.

She would like to quote Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), philosopher/essayist/statesman, on the importance of human relations, especially as they might apply to international relations: "If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them." We thank Ms. Moodie for her dedication and service to NOAA and the nation, and wish her well in the next phase of her life.

Sydney Levitus Elected AAAS Fellow

Sydney Levitus

Noted oceanographer, researcher, and NODC supervisor, Sydney Levitus was elected as a 2010 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The 503 newly elected Fellows will be installed during the Association's Annual Meeting on February 19. Mr. Levitus is only one of nine in the Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences Section. He is being honored for his "distinguished contributions to the field of ocean sciences, particularly in the area of data archaeology and the analysis of the impacts of climate change on the upper ocean."

The honoring body, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is an international non-profit organization founded in 1848. It is dedicated to advancing science around the world through international programs, science policy, and science education. AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and publishes Science, the largest peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, having an estimated readership of one million.

Mr. Levitus earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from New York University. Following 18 months at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, Syd joined NOAA in 1974 as an oceanographer at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. He joined the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) as Chief, Product Development Branch, in 1989. "I came to NODC because it was an opportunity to have my own research group," states Mr. Levitus. His group has grown to 11 staff members including contractors. Since then, his responsibilities have increased to being the Director of the World Data Center for Oceanography and Chief of the NODC Ocean Climate Laboratory. Since the early 1990s he has also led two projects for the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Committee of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The first of these is the "Global Oceanographic Data Archaeology and Rescue (GODAR)" project which has the goal of locating and making available in electronic form ocean data at risk of being lost due to media decay of paper, magnetic tape, floppy discs, etc. The second is the "World Ocean Database" project which has the goal of accelerating the inclusion of international ocean profile and plankton data into a common database with all data in a common format and with consistent quality control flags applied to all data.

Syd's first oceanographic atlas was the Climatological Atlas of the World Ocean, published in 1982 which has been cited more than 2,600 times in the scientific literature. This product has since evolved into the World Ocean Database series and the World Ocean Atlas series for 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005, and 2009 respectively. These publications are frequently cited in the scientific literature and the following chart shows the distribution of over 6,000 recent references.

Sydney Levitus Citations

Syd is a frequent speaker at scientific meetings and conferences. He serves on international committees and panels, and has published extensively on data extracted from the above products. In 2000 Syd and his colleagues published the first scientific analysis documenting that the world ocean had warmed since the mid-1950s in an amount consistent with the warming expected due to the increase of greenhouse gases in earth's atmosphere. This paper was of such significance that it drew a considerable amount of media attention. Subsequent papers have also been frequently cited and have initiated much scientific interest in the earth system's heat balance of which the ocean is by far the largest component.

Congratulations, Syd, for your dedication and scientific accomplishments throughout your thirty seven years with NOAA!

Team Legeckis participated in the Washington D.C. ALS walk

Team Legeckis

On Sunday, October 17, family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Richard Legeckis participated in the Washington D.C. ALS walk. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive and debilitating neuromuscular disorder. The objective of the ALS walks throughout the country is to support people in treatment and to find a cure.

Over 50 participants of Team Legeckis joined several thousand other supporters and walked three miles around the grounds of the Washington Monument on a cool and beautiful Sunday morning. The Legeckis Wave exceeded their original goal and raised over $3,000.

Dr. Legeckis is a NESDIS STAR oceanographer.

Shobha Kondragunta receives a 2010 Department of Commerce Gold Medal

Shobha Kondragunta

Congratulations to Shobha Kondragunta for receiving a 2010 Department of Commerce Gold Medal for developing a suite of new satellite-based air quality products. This includes atmospheric smoke concentration, burned areas, biomass fuel load, trace gas and aerosol biomass burning emission, and nitrogen dioxide. These products have been applied by the EPA and NOAA's National Weather Service their air quality support systems

Dr. Kondragunta is currently the principal investigator for the Air Quality Remote Sensing Program at the NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR). She joined NOAA in 1999, and also received a Bronze Medal in 2002 for developing a new total ozone product that combined infrared and ultraviolet measurements.

Dr. Kondragunta received her undergraduate degree in the physical sciences from the Osmania University in India, her Master of Science in chemistry from Florida the Atlantic University, and her Ph.D. in atmospheric chemistry from the University of Maryland. She is a hard core tennis fan, and free-lance sports writer for the Bleacher Report.

Dr. Mitchell D. Goldberg receives a 2010 NOAA Administrator's Award

Mitch Goldberg

Congratulations to Dr. Mitchell D. Goldberg for receiving a 2010 NOAA Administrator's Award. Mitch is being recognized for leading the international Global Space-based Inter-Calibration System (GSICS). Dr. Goldberg and his team developed the GSICS algorithms and have expanded them to include eight cooperating international satellite agencies and institutions. He is presently Chair of the Executive Panel for the GSICS, and through his dedicated efforts and long-term planning, he is hosting the international GSICS Coordination Center

International GSICS collaboration is an effort to provide more accurate satellite information products by intercalibrating and adjusting observations from operational satellite sensors to reference quality benchmark measurements. These vastly improved observations are then used to improve weather forecasts and to create long-term time series of essential variables, such as temperature, moisture, clouds,needed for assessing global climate change. Consistently inter-calibrated measurements from international operational satellites include all polar and geostationary satellites. This includes data from the WMO World Weather Watch (WWW) Global Observing System (GOS) and the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).

Dr. Goldberg earned his B.S. from Rutgers, and M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland. Dr. Goldberg joined NOAA is 1990 and has had held a number of positions of increasing responsibility. His is currently Chief, Satellite Meteorology and Climatology Division, at the Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), a part of NESDIS.

Dr. Goldberg has received numerous awards including three Gold Medals, one Silver Medal, and three Bronze Medals from the Department of Commerce. He received the University of Maryland Most Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science in 2004.

Congratulations, Mitch, for your global vision and accomplishment.

Ralph Sinnok is one of our 2010 NOAA Hollings Scholar recipients

Ralph Sinnok and Kathy Kelly

Congratulations to Ralph Sinnok one of our 2010 NOAA Hollings Scholar recipients. Ralph is a student in civil engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and has been a student employee through the STEP (Student Temporary Employment Program) at the NESDIS Office of Satellite Operations Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisitions Station (FCDAS).

"Ralph has a strong sense of purpose and our mission, and is totally dedicated to his duties here. He craves more responsibility," states Acting Station Manager Larry Ledlow. He is presently building a project management suite of tools including SharePoint Server installation and configuration which would track the many projects at the facility. This is critical for planning and monitoring the many details involved in the current relocation of staff and systems to the new $12 million Fairbanks Satellite Operations Facility. He has also undertaken a study of energy usage at FCDAS in order to make conservation recommendations.

In addition to his undergraduate studies and student employment, Ralph is completing certification in a project management course. A full-blooded Inupiaq Eskimo, Ralph continues his family tradition of service and academic excellence begun by his grandfather, who was a teacher. He was inspired to study civil engineering to aid his home village of Shishmaref. This tiny, remote community is located on a rapidly-eroding barrier island in the Chukchi Sea over 120 miles from Nome. The NOAA Hollings Scholarship provides assistance up to $8,000 per year for two years, and a ten week summer internship at a NOAA facility. The Scholarship was established through the Consolidated Appropriations Act in 1995 (P.L. 108-447) to honor former South Carolina Senator Ernest F. Hollings. NOAA awarded 146 Hollings Scholarships in 2010 from over 1000 applications.

Congratulations to Ralph and all of our other NOAA Hollings Scholars.

Peter M. Steurer receives a 2010 NOAA Administrator's Award

Peter M. Stuerer

Congratulations to Peter M. Steurer for receiving a 2010 NOAA Administrator's Award. A recent retiree, Mr. Steurer is being recognized for leading a multi-year NOAA-wide effort to develop procedures for archiving scientific records.

He accepted and completed this task in addition to his regular duties as the Operations Planning Officer at the National Climatic Data Center. Following an extensive literature review, he organized a workshop in June 2008 of approximately 100 NOAA data mangers and members of the NOAA Science Advisory Board Data Archive and Access Requirements Working Group (DAARWG). He is the corresponding author of the 24 page document NOAA Procedure for Scientific Records Appraisal and Archive Approval: a Guide for Managers, and revised the NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 212-15 Management of Environmental and Geospatial Data and Information. He also coordinated the creation and distribution of the complementary brochure NOAA Procedure for Scientific Records Appraisal and Archive Approval: a Guide for Data Users and Procedures.

This new NOAA procedure was submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as a best practice for the federal government, and was added to the NARA Toolkit for Managing Electronic Records web portal in May 2009. The document serves as a model for data management across the federal agencies.

Mr. Steurer began his federal career in 1977 at the NWS Forecast Office in Birmingham, AL, following his BS in meteorology from the State University of New York. He transferred to the National Climatic Data Center in 1980, where he assumed a number of increasingly responsible positions until his retirement in April 2010. Congratulations for this award, Pete, and for 33 years of service with NOAA.