NOAA 2001-R305
Contact: Pat Viets


Brian Jon Soden, a physical scientist at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J., received the prestigious NOAA-David Johnson Award today. He was recognized by NOAA and the National Space Club for his innovative use of satellite data for climate and weather research.

Soden was cited for his remarkable creativity and tenacity in making use of a large variety of satellite data to describe and diagnose important processes in the atmospheric environment. His work has led to advances in our basic understanding of the global climate system.

Soden has used a host of satellite datasets from NOAA's Geostationary and Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites, satellites in the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, and NASA satellites. He has also combined the use of satellite data, and non-satellite data such as radiosonde and lidar data, to diagnose previously undiagnosed aspects of the Earth's climate.

His accomplishments include the derivation and analysis of upper tropospheric humidity from infrared sounders, and the use of data from NASA's Earth Radiation Budget Experiment and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project to diagnose the roles of water vapor and clouds. In addition, Soden used satellite data to diagnose characteristics of the climate system during the El Niño and La Niña phases, and the assimilation of satellite-derived wind fields into numerical weather models to improve the accuracy of hurricane track forecasts. His findings give new perspectives into the water cycle in the tropics, and its variations due to sea-surface temperature changes.

"Brian is one of the many talented and creative young scientists throughout NOAA. This award acknowledges his current work, but also recognizes the promise that his future holds," said Ants Leetmaa, director of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

Soden holds doctoral and master's degrees in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Miami.
He has worked for NOAA since 1994, and was a visiting scientist at Princeton University a year before that. From 1990 until 1993, he was a NASA Global Change Fellow at the University of Chicago.

Soden is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. He was a contributing author to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is currently in draft form. He and his wife Jolynne live in Princeton.

The NOAA-David Johnson Award, first given in 1999, is presented by the National Space Club, in honor of the first administrator of what was to become NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service. This award is given to young professionals who have developed an innovative use of Earth observation satellite data (alone, or in combination with non-satellite data) that is, or could be, used for operational purposes to assess or predict atmospheric, oceanic or terrestrial conditions. It recognizes a young scientist who may be a future leader of his or her organization and who encourages new thinking, problem solving or applications of satellite data.