NEWS | Oct. 11, 2013

Dr. Stephen Eckermann Receives NRL Sigma Xi Award for Applied Science

By Daniel Parry

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) research physicist Dr. Stephen D. Eckermann is awarded the NRL-Edison Chapter Sigma Xi Award for Applied Science. Eckermann receives the award for contributions to the Navy's high-altitude analysis and forecasting capabilities leading to major improvements in Navy operational numerical weather prediction models.

For more than a decade, Dr. Eckermann has been performing groundbreaking research in complex nonlinear fluid dynamics to study environmental science problems ranging from atmospheric turbulence prediction near the Earth's surface to detection of internal waves in the Martian atmosphere, said Dr. Jill Dahlburg, superintendent, Space Science Division. Steve's research exploring wave motions in altitude regions between 10 and 100 kilometers and representing these waves with fidelity in highly efficient numerical models has produced a strong record of transitions, leading to major improvements in Navy operational forecasts.

Eckermann is internationally recognized for his innovative research in the fields of upper atmosphere meteorology and near space environments. His development of the Mountain Wave Forecast Model, adopted for operational use by the U.S. Air Force, is a significant tool in identifying and forecasting middle and upper atmosphere turbulence and reducing risks to in-flight military and civilian aircraft and occupants.

Most recently, Eckermann served as a key member of the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) team, developing high altitude analysis and forecasting capabilities, improving both the gravity wave drag parameterization and the numerical algorithms describing fast ozone photochemistry in the stratosphere and mesosphere. Eckermann also contributed to the development and improvements to the Navy Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) and NOGAPS-ALPHA (Advanced Level Physics-High Altitude) Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models.

Presently head of the Near Space Environments Section within the NRL Space Science Division, Eckermann earned a Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. in physics from The University of Adelaide, South Australia and has authored and co-authored more than 100 papers published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. He is a member of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), American Geophysical Union (AGU) and American Meteorological Society (AMS), and has recently been awarded the Editor's Award of the AMS (2013), Department of the Navy Technology Transfer Award (2012), and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award (2008).

Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 and has grown to include over 500 chapters and clubs across North America. The Scientific Research Society actively promotes the promise of science and technology. Membership in NRL's Edison Chapter is limited to any person performing scientific research at NRL or at the Office of Naval Research who, as evidenced by published results, has shown noteworthy scientific accomplishment as an original investigator in some branch of pure or applied science, or as a scientific director of such research.