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Shobha Kondragunta’s Banner Year

Shobha Kondragunta

29 October 2021 - Leading a team in aerosols and atmospheric composition product development since 2004, Dr. Shobha Kondragunta has produced valuable and influential work across her tenure at STAR. The global biomass burning emissions product that she developed is currently used by the National Weather Service global and regional air quality forecasting models. She also leads GOES-R and JPSS aerosols and atmospheric composition product development and applications. She is the lead for the CEOS atmospheric composition virtual composition aerosols and air quality working group, and was recently appointed as the product lead for GeoXO atmospheric composition instrument.

These efforts have been recognized previously, including one Gold and three Bronze Medals, but the scale of her efforts in 2021 and the recognition she has received reached a new level.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic broke out in early 2020, Shobha immediately recognized that while the event was a global catastrophe, it offered a unique opportunity to study the large-scale pandemic-related changes that were occurring in fossil fuel usage. The nation’s response to COVID-19 caused dramatic shifts in economic activity and vehicle use. Dr. Kondragunta leveraged the work of her team, and the work of her partners to develop a deeper understanding of pandemic-related environmental impacts - specifically reduced air pollution from the shutdown.

As a consequence of her efforts to mine this observational opportunity in the past year, Shobha has:

  • Received the NOAA Administrator’s Award “For developing a critical capability using NOAA satellite assets to benchmark the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity and air quality.”
  • Received two group DOC Bronze Medals, “For the development of the Global Ensemble Forecast System – Aerosols (GEFS-Aerosols) model to support air quality alerts and visibility forecasts.” and “For expeditiously and skillfully coordinating research that leveraged the unique scientific opportunity resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
  • Honored with the 2021 NESDIS Collaboration Award for her work in support of GeoXO User Engagement.
  • Published 9 journal articles. There are 3 others currently under review.

Dr. Kondragunta’s productivity and initiative are truly remarkable, and exemplify the real-world application of satellite science to human problems that we at STAR strive to bring about in all our efforts.


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