GMAO’s MERRA-2 Science Team Wins a 2019 Agency Honor Award


NASA’s most prestigious honors, the Agency Honor Awards, are approved by the Agency Administrator and presented to a number of carefully selected individuals and groups of individuals, both Government and non-Government, who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the Agency's mission.

This year the MERRA-2 (Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2) Science Team won a Group Achievement award. Led by Ron Gelaro, the Science Team includes Santha Akella, Michael Bosilovich, Virginie Buchard, Austin Conaty, Lawrence Coy, Richard Cullather, Anton Darmenov, Clara Draper, Wei Gu, Gi-Kong Kim, Randal Koster, Robert Lucchesi, William McCarty, Dagmar Merkova, Andrea Molod, J. Eric Nielsen, Gary Partyka, Steven Pawson, William Putman, Cynthia Randles, Rolf Reichle, Michele Rienecker, Siegfried Schubert, Meta Sienkiewicz, Arlindo da Silva, Max Suarez, Lawrence Takacs, Ricardo Todling, Krzysztof Wargan, Jianjun Jin, and Bin Zhao.

The MERRA-2 dataset is a complex model-data fusion dataset that was developed and maintained by the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) at NASA GSFC. The gridded dataset provides optimal estimates of the state of the atmosphere and some aspects of the underlying land and ice distributions on sub-daily timescales beginning in 1980.

MERRA-2 combines a wide range of observations, including "traditional" meteorological datasets used in weather analyses, which it extends with a range on unique NASA observations. MERRA-2 includes NASA observations on hyperspectral radiance (from AIRS on EOS-Aqua), on aerosols (from MODIS), on emissions of pollutants from wildfires (again MODIS), and the use of ozone information (from OMI and MLS on EOS-Terra). This broad use of NASA's "research quality" observations alongside the meteorological datasets used in prior reanalyses has pioneered new frontiers for reanalysis and expanded the customer base; by putting NASA's research data into the same system as the meteorological datasets, this has extended the scope of NASA's observations of aerosols and ozone, for instance, to the climate analysis domain.

Congratulations to the MERRA-2 Science Team! The team was recognized at a ceremony held at Goddard Space Flight Center in Building 8 on Thursday, September 5, 2019. Ron Gelaro accepted the award on behalf of the team.

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