Alumni Spotlight: Peterson earns NOAA award

Photo Credit: David Peterson
October 19, 2021

David A. Peterson, an alumnus of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences earned the prestigious David S. Johnson Award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which recognizes young scientists for their innovative use of environmental satellite data. He will receive the award on October 22, 2021, at the 64th Annual Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Peterson is a meteorologist with the Marine Meteorology Division of the Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, California. He is being recognized for developing and demonstrating the operational detection and classification of pyrocumulonimbus (fire-induced thunderstorm) clouds in geostationary satellite imagery to support operational and scientific users with timely, detailed information. Smoke from wildfires is a direct and immediate hazard to firefighters, as well as a threat to downwind populations, with significant effects on visibility, air quality and even surface heating.

The NOAA-Johnson Award is named after the first assistant administrator of NOAA's Satellite and Information Service and honors professional scientists who create new uses for observational satellite data to better predict atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial conditions.

"The Johnson award recognizes exemplary work from young scientists like David, who are using satellite data that help save lives, protect the economy and benefit society overall," said Dr. Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.

Peterson received his M.S. in Geosciences and Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

Read more about his accomplishment on the NOAA website.