Colorado State/Cira Scientist Awarded Prestigious Noaa Award

A Colorado State University scientist has been named the 2004 winner of the prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) David Johnson Award. John Knaff, a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, or CIRA, was honored with the annual award given to recognize young scientists who have developed an innovative use of Earth observation satellite data for operational purposes to assess and/or predict atmospheric, oceanic or terrestrial conditions.

Knaff, a leading expert in the study of hurricane structure and intensity, was presented the award at the 47th Annual Goddard Memorial Dinner on Friday evening in Washington, D.C. Knaff was specifically recognized for his basic research improving the understanding of tropical phenomenon and predicting tropical cyclone intensity, accompanied by exemplary transfer of the results into operational products.  

"Dr. Knaff is an outstanding example of the new generation of environmental scientists developing and applying our newest satellite observations to practical problems of weather and climate," said Thomas H. Vonder Haar, director of CIRA and University Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State. "He carries his research from innovative new ideas into the hands of forecasters and analysts who put it to optimum use. We are proud to have him as part of the CIRA team."

The NOAA David Johnson Award is presented annually by the National Space Club and is named in honor of the first administrator of what was to become the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service. The National Space Club is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1957 to stimulate the exchange of ideas and information about rocketry and astronautics and to promote the recognition of America’s achievements in aerospace.

"We are proud to have an award like this to recognize the outstanding work by scientists like Dr. Knaff, who use satellite data to improve our understanding of the atmospheric sciences," said Gregory W. Withee, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellites and Information Service, in a release issued by the agency.

Before joining CIRA in 1997, Knaff was a graduate student under Professor William Gray in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State. Knaff’s recent studies have been on observational aspects of hurricane structure and intensity variations. His research has concentrated on forecast applications and the operational transition of these products to both the National Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Knaff is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.