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Advancing Ocean and Coastal Data Sharing Capabilities—USGS Scientist Receives 2014 DeSouza Award

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[Modified from NEWSWAVE, Summer 2014.]

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research oceanographer Richard Signell was awarded the 2014 Russell L. DeSouza Award by the Unidata Users Committee. The DeSouza Award honors “individuals whose energy, expertise, and active involvement enable the Unidata Program to better serve the geosciences.” Unidata, funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, is a community of education and research institutions focused on providing data, software tools, and support to enhance Earth-system education and research.

Richard Signell
Above: Richard Signell [larger version]

For more than two decades, Signell has developed and advocated ocean data interoperability systems—systems that allow people using different models or different sensors, and with different conventions for storing their data, to access and share their data in a common way. Unidata software tools have played a large role in such systems.

In 1992, Signell co-authored a paper about one of Unidata’s software tools, netCDF, for a conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The paper was titled “NetCDF: A Public-Domain-Software Solution to Data-Access Problems for Numerical Modelers.” Robert Hetland of Texas A&M University, who nominated Signell for the DeSouza Award, says “I believe that the general adoption of netCDF as the standard way to store numerical ocean model information is due to Rich’s early efforts to promote netCDF.”

In 2009, Signell was detailed for one year to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Program Office of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (US-IOOS), where he helped enable interoperable access to ocean model output in all 11 IOOS regions (“USGS Oceanographer Rich Signell Joins NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System Program for 1-Year Detail”). A key tool in this work was the Unidata THREDDS Data Server, which allows existing non-standard datasets to be transformed in real time into standardized web services. For more information about the standardized-web-services approach to delivering data, see related Sound Waves story “Unlocking Oceans of Model Data via Web Services.”

Since the detail to the NOAA Program Office, Signell has continued to be active in US-IOOS and throughout the geoscience community, participating in the development of standards and standardized tools, and helping organizations get plugged into the infrastructure.

John Haines, USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Coordinator said, “Our effectiveness as a research organization, and the impact our data and products have, depends increasingly on the integration of data, models, and knowledge from diverse sources. Rich has been tireless in his efforts to promote standards and tools, and a community mindset, that ensure everyone has effective access to research, observations, and modeling. The USGS has supported Rich’s involvement with IOOS to advance his vision across agencies and partners, and this recognition is more than deserved.”

The 2014 DeSouza Award was presented to Signell during the Unidata Users Committee’s fall meeting, September 15–16, 2014. As part of the award ceremony, Signell presented “Ocean, Atmosphere & Climate Model Assessment for Everyone,” a talk that highlighted the role of Unidata technologies in the US-IOOS. To read more about Signell and the 2014 DeSouza Award, visit “Rich Signell Receives 2014 DeSouza Award.” View a recording of his talk on the Unidata Seminar Series page.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Unlocking Oceans of Model Data via Web Services
December 2010
USGS Oceanographer Rich Signell Joins NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System Program for 1-Year Detail
April 2009

Related Websites
Integrated Ocean Observing System
Rich Signell Receives 2014 DeSouza Award
Seminar Series page

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Spotlight on Sandy
Field Investigations of Hurricane Sandy's Impacts on Fire Island, New York

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Coastal Streams in Central California Reflect the Region’s Drought

USGS Scientist Participates in National Geographic’s BioBlitz 2014

Twenty Years of Ask-A-Geologist

Advancing Data Sharing Capabilities—2014 DeSouza Award

Staff & Center News
Postdocs Contributing to Climate-Change Studies

Feds Feed Families Food Drive

Sept. / Oct. Publications

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

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