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Cheng-Zhi Zou Honored with
2013 NOAA Administrator's Award

June 22, 2013 - Dr. Cheng-Zhi Zou, a research scientist with NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, received a 2013 NOAA Administrator's Award for developing a science-quality long-term dataset of upper atmospheric temperatures from NOAA's microwave and infrared satellite measurements. Dr. Zou's work focused on generating climate data record using observations from the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU), Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), and Stratospheric Sounding Unit (SSU) onboard NOAA’s historical and current operating polar-orbiting satellite series since the late 1970s. The measurements from these instruments provided information on atmospheric temperature conditions from the lower troposphere through the upper stratosphere. The original measurements, however, need to be carefully analyzed and adjusted to achieve consistency during each satellite's lifetime as well as between sensors on subsequent satellites. Examples of artifacts that require adjustments include satellite orbital drift, calibration nonlinearity, changes in sensor characteristics and degradation of sensitivity over time, and differences between sensors on different satellites.

Dr. Zou and his team successfully overcame the challenge of processing NOAA's satellite measurements into high quality datasets suitable for a variety of climate applications. An advanced inter- calibration methodology was developed for both the microwave and stratospheric infrared sounders, which supports satellite inter- calibration, reanalysis, climate data record development, and climate science research activities through domestic and international organizations and programs. The adjusted satellite radiances, which constitute a Fundamental Climate Data Record (FCDR), are being used by climate reanalysis developers such as NOAA's National Center for Environmental Prediction and NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. This work is also a major contributor to the Global Satellite Inter-Calibration System (GSICS) and the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites (CGMS). The Temperature Data Records derived from the recalibrated radiances are used for upper-air temperature trend assessment by the international climate science community such as the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) / Stratospheric Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC) and the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), and the broad academic and development communities.

Inter-calibration methodologies and dataset characteristics from the work cited were documented in multiple peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, these datasets were made available, including data access and detailed documentation through STAR's Microwave Sounding Calibration and Trends portal. The MSU/AMSU FCDR dataset was also transitioned to NOAA NCDC for operational distribution.

The 2013 Administrator's Awards recipients will be honored at a reception and ceremony on Tuesday, October 22, at the NOAA Auditorium in Silver Spring, MD.

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