Public Release:  CIRA scientist among authors of book celebrating 50 years of Earth observations from space

Colorado State University

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IMAGE: In 2006, Colorado State University, in cooperation with NASA and other agencies, launched CloudSat, the world's first cloud-profiling radar 438 miles above Earth. Satellites such as these are proving enormously... view more

Credit: Colorado State University

FORT COLLINS - Stan Kidder, a researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University, has contributed to a new book celebrating 50 years of Earth observations from space.

He is one of a dozen scientists from around the country who have written chapters in the book "Earth Observations from Space: The First 50 Years of Scientific Achievements." The book was sponsored by The National Academies in honor of NASA's 50-year anniversary in 2008.

Tom Vonder Haar, director of CIRA and University Distinguished Professor at CSU, helped manage the book project as a member of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. Vonder Haar also serves as the chairman of the interdisciplinary section of the National Academy of Engineering.

"The report sponsored by the National Academies at the request of NASA is timely as we plan the next segment of our space missions to monitor Planet Earth," Vonder Haar said. "Our past accomplishments and lessons learned will assist with the design of future Earth climate and science missions."

Kidder will talk about his chapter on the contributions satellites make to weather forecasting on Feb. 17 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston.

"People have been interested in weather for hundreds of years, but you can't forecast when you don't know what the weather is in lots of places," Kidder said. "You've got to see the big area to make the forecast. Satellites provide us with that capability - looking at temperature and humidity all over the Earth."

Before satellites, severe weather surprised people, often resulting in thousands of deaths. Kidder points to the hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas, with no warning in 1900 and killed 8,000 people.

"Now, there are no surprise tropical storms anywhere on Earth," he said.

Kidder's research at CIRA focuses on using satellite data to study meteorological problems such as the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which is useful for forecasting rain. He takes satellite information and builds products for the scientific community including forecasters.

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CIRA is a center for international cooperation in research and training based at Colorado State University. CIRA was first established to increase the effectiveness of atmospheric research in areas of interest between Colorado State and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and has developed into a leader in many areas of climate research.

A sample of Kidder's and CIRA's work:

-CIRA local-scale products: http://amsu.cira.colostate.edu/GOES
-Water vapor imagery, including GPS data: http://amsu.cira.colostate.edu/GPSTPW
-Oceanic water vapor imagery around the world: http://amsu.cira.colostate.edu/TPW

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