NOAA 2006-R207
Contact: Keli Tarp
NOAA News Releases 2006
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


Dusan Zrnic, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) senior scientist working at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. The NAE operates under the same congressional act of incorporation that established the National Academy of Sciences, signed in 1863 by President Lincoln. Under this charter the NAE is directed "whenever called upon by any department or agency of the government, to investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art."

His outstanding contributions to meteorological Doppler radar signal processing theory and practice became benchmarks for conceptual designs of the national networks of Doppler weather radars, the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) used by the National Weather Service, Federal Aviation Administration and Air Weather Service for protection of lives and property, and the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) deployed for protection of airport terminals. Development of weather radar during the past 20 years, and its applications in the national interest, have clearly and profoundly benefited from Zrnic’s work and study.

“Zrnic's theoretical and practical contributions are truly landmarks in Doppler and polarimetric radar meteorology,” said James F. Kimpel, director of the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. “His work has not only benefited the field of radar meteorology, but also the American people because of the lives saved with the technology he helped develop.”

Zrnic has made pioneering advancements in weather radar science in general, and his work has contributed substantially to recognition of radar signatures of hazardous weather phenomena such as tornadoes, mesocyclones and fronts. This ability has helped forecasters save property and lives through improved warnings and forecasts of impending hazards such as tornadoes, high winds and hail. He contributed to early understanding of tornado wind speeds and, recently, in the measurements of precipitation with polarimetric radars. These measurements offer promise for greatly improved forecasts of precipitation type and amount. He has devised a novel method to obtain polarimetric information for which he was awarded a patent.

Zrnic transferred his radar expertise to the community by creating advanced graduate and research courses in the area of Doppler and polarimetric weather radar. In addition, he co-authored a book, "Doppler Radar and Weather Observations," with R.J. Doviak published in 1984. This work was quickly acknowledged worldwide as the standard reference in its field. The second revised edition appeared in 1993 and contains a one of a kind section dealing with the polarimetric technique that is the forthcoming advancement in weather radar pioneered by Zrnic.

Zrnic's contributions are represented in over 90 peer-reviewed papers. That many of these papers have multiple authors reflects his effective inspiration of students and colleagues, and generous sharing of time and ideas. His personal capabilities are greatly extended through the effectiveness of his work with others, and his guiding of students to the level of becoming competent independent investigators.

Zrnic was recognized with a prestigious Presidential Rank Award in 2005. The NAE mission is to promote the technological welfare of the nation by marshaling the knowledge and insights of eminent members of the engineering profession. The NAE is a private, independent, nonprofit institution. In addition to its role as advisor to the federal government, the NAE also conducts independent studies to examine important topics in engineering and technology. The NAE has more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign associates, senior professionals in business, academia, and government who are among the world's most accomplished engineers.

The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory leads the way in investigations of all aspects of severe and hazardous weather. Established in 1964, NSSL is part of NOAA Research and the only federally-supported laboratory focused on severe weather. The Lab’s scientists and staff explore new ways to improve understanding of the causes of severe weather and ways to use weather information to assist National Weather Service forecasters, as well as federal, university and private sector partners.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

On the Web:


National Academy of Engineering:

National Severe Storms Laboratory: