4 STAR Scientists Honored with 2012 NOAA Bronze Medals
May 2, 2012 - Last month 4 different STAR scientists were honored for scientific excellence, government service and leadership at the NOAA Bronze Medal Awards, held on May 1, 2012 at the NOAA Auditorium in Silver Spring. At the same ceremony, Dr. Celso S. Barrientos was also posthumously honored.
Xiangqian "Fred" Wu
Dr. Wu was honored for scientific engineering in developing an international science algorithm to provide climate quality data from geostationary weather satellites, and then engaging with scientific peers to secure its adoption by international operational satellite agencies, including NOAA. His combination of scientific and leadership efforts enable signficantly improved climate and weather applications from geostationary satellites.
Dr. Wu accomplished this by leading the GSICS (Global Space- Based Intercalibration System) Research Working Group of international scientists in developing a novel consensus algorithm now used by international operational satellite agencies, including NOAA. The algorithm non-climate quality geostationary satellites are continuously calibrated to climate-quality hyperspectral infrared sensor data on polar- orbiting satellites, enabling signficantly improved climate and weather applications from geostationary satellites.
Dr. Kuligowski was honored for his work advancing satellite-based real- time precipitation products to improve global hydrologic monitoring and forecasting. The goal was to implement systems and procedures that provide reliable, real-time precipitation estimates from NOAA satellite data in order to improve flash flood monitoring and forecasting around the world, enabling people in developing nations that are not always well-supported with meteorological information services to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events, saving lives and sparing property in the most extreme cases.
In most developing countries, rainfall information is scarce or unavailable; even where there is radar coverage, forecasts and data may be incomplete and data outages occur. There is a significant need for satellite information to improve operational precipitation monitoring and forecasting. Dr. Kuligowski recognized that the satellite retrieval processing systems developed at NOAA for domestic use were a valuable tool to provide the information needed in data-scarce regions worldwide. He led the enhancement, transfer and implementation of NOAA's Hydro-Estimator system to recipients in Costa Rica and Mexico. The system in Costa Rica feeds a flash flood modeling system that provides critical flash flood guidance to the Meteorological Services of seven Central American countries. Bob has also led the efforts to include the hydro-estimator in other regional systems around the globe. Dr. Kuligowski is now working with the WMO, the Hydrologic Research Center, and USAID to build a Global Flash Flood Guidance System, and is partnering with the Egyptian Government to implement a satellite rainfall estimation processing system.
The product implemented by Dr. Kuligowski has made a significant impact during several intense rainfall events around the globe, including an unusual rainstorm in Namibia that caused extensive flooding, and flash flooding in Thailand that affected 286,000 people in Spring 2011. The Hydro-estimator was the only forecast information resource for the Haiti-Dominican Republic Flash Flood Guidance System. Hourly rainfall estimates were also very valuable during the passage of Hurricane Tomas near the western coast of Haiti in November 2010 and were used for humanitarian and disaster relief planning.
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