Dr. Stephen Eckermann Receives Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award

11/21/2008 - 71-08r
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Dr. Stephen Eckermann, a research physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory has received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award. He is recognized for his "outstanding, meritorious civilian service in atmospheric research."

Dr. Eckermann is cited for his outstanding atmospheric modeling efforts at NRL from 2001 to 2007 in support of both fundamental scientific understanding and pressing DoD needs. In 2001 Dr. Eckermann recognized the need to extend operational weather forecasting up to 90 kilometers in altitude. Dr. Eckerman was a lead researcher and key architect of an NRL effort to extend the Navy's operational weather forecast system (NOGAPS) beyond the troposphere. This work focused initially on extending the global forecast model component into the stratosphere and mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT), and has recently extended to coupling this model to the Navy's 3DVAR data assimilation system (NAVDAS) to yield a complete ground-to-MLT numerical weather prediction prototype.

Additionally, recognizing the operational need for high altitude weather reports from high altitude reconnaissance aircraft over mountainous terrain, he led the development and application of the Mountain Wave Forecast Model (MWFM) a global mountain wave prediction code transitioned to the Air Force Weather Agency. His research and subsequent operational support using this unique atmospheric forecasting software provided accurate, real-time, high altitude mountain wave turbulence forecasts that were used by U-2 pilots for flight planning during Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. His efforts greatly reduced the operational risk to the reconnaissance aircraft from turbulence. The MWFM was recently cited among the 60 top technologies developed by NRL from 1923 to 2005, in winning for NRL the 2005 Roosevelts Gold Medal for Science.

Dr. Eckermann has also been active in developing new observational methods for extracting and interpreting gravity wave fluctuations from ultrahigh resolution temperatures and radiances acquired by state-of-the-art limb and sublimb scanners on Earth-orbiting satellites. With Dr. Peter Preusse, he published in Science the first space-based measurement of stratospheric mountain waves with the CRISTA instrument from the Shuttle Pallet Satellite during STS-66. He has recently focused research attention on assimilating stratospheric and MLT satellite data into the NOGAPS-ALPHA high-altitude prototype NWP system. He also co-discovered the intraseasonal oscillation of tropical MLT winds through analysis of ground-based radar wind data, and has published numerous other works based on analysis of data acquired by radiosonde, aircraft and rocketsonde.

Dr. Eckermann received his B.Sc. in 1985 and his Ph.D. in 1990, both degrees in Physics from the University of Adelaide, Australia. From 1990 to 1992, he served at the University of Oxford with a Royal Society of London Endeavour Fellowship. Next he worked at the University of Adelaide as an Australian Research Council Postdoc from 1992 to 1994. Dr. Eckermann came to work at Computational Physics, Inc. in Fairfax, VA, from 1994 to 1998. Then in 1998, he joined NRL working in the Space Science Division.

Dr. Eckermann has authored or co-authored 82 papers either published or accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. He co-edited the AGU Chapman Monograph "Atmospheric Science Across the Stratopause," published in 2000, and serves on the American Meteorological Society's Committee on the Middle Atmosphere. His formal recognitions include 1994 and 2007 Editor's Citations for Excellence in Refereeing for The Journal of Geophysical Research and the 2000 Zeldovich Medal from COSPAR and the Russian Academy of Sciences, for excellence in research of the upper atmospheres of the Earth and planets by a scientist under 36 years of age. He is a member of the American Institute of Physics, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.

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