Cafe Scientifique - History of Satellite Meteorology by David Pick
16th January 2018
The practical demonstration of the capabilities of routinely measuring temperature, humidity and composition of the earth’s atmosphere started in 1964 with the launch of the NIMBUS series of Spacecraft by NASA. The technique relies on the ability to measure accurately the outgoing radiation from the earth’s atmosphere from the visible through the infrared and microwave spectral regions. To be of practical use to the meteorological user this has to be done globally and the data made available within hours to the global forecasting community. A rather selective (UK) overview of the developments over the last 50 years will be presented.
David Pick went to Oxford University in 1960 and after graduating in Physics in 1963, spent the next 3 years building a small balloon borne radiometer to measure stratospheric water vapour. He then went as a post-doctoral researcher to Saskatoon University to fly a bigger balloon. On return to Oxford he was involved in testing radiometers for the NASA NIMBUS spacecraft. He joined the Meteorological Office to set up the test facility and be part of the team providing the stratospheric temperature sounder for the NOAA operational meteorological spacecraft. He then moved to EUMETSAT to coordinate the user requirements for the new European polar orbiting spacecraft. He ended his career in the Met Office as Assistant Director of remote sensing and retired in 1999.