Scientific Colloquium
November 16, 2007


Louis Uccellini

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction

Dr William Nordberg was a true pioneer who foresaw the potential use of satellite data for the analysis of what we refer today as the Earth System.  He also initiated interactions with a broad research community for the use of satellite data in numerical models that would advance the abilities to study the complex interactions among the various land, ice, ocean and atmospheric components and with a concurrent dream of improving our abilities to predict weather events and climate trends. 
These ambitious visions and goals were a basis for the expansion of NASA's earth and atmospheric science programs in the 1970s and 1980s; and specifically to the creation and spin up of the Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheric Sciences at the Goddard Space Flight Center in the late 1970s.  In this lecture, the long 40-plus year trek from the dream of using satellite data in research based numerical prediction models in the 1960s and 1970s to their routine use in today's operational weather, climate and ocean models will be reviewed, with a focus on the advances in weather prediction.  Without any doubt the satellite community has provided the basis for the global observing system required to make the forecasts that a diverse user community now relies on to make critical life saving and other economic-based decisions. The current status and future challenges in the use of satellite data in operational prediction models will also be presented, with an emphasis on those challenges related to the upcoming "NPOESS Era"  marked by the high spectral resolution data that will be available to the modeling and forecaster communities on an operational real time basis.