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Goddard Team Honored for Achievements in Remote Sensing
The Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) team has won the 2006 William T. Pecora Award. NASA and the Department of Interior give this prestigious Federal award to individuals and groups for significant achievements in remote sensing.

The TOMS team won the award for developing innovative techniques that have provided unique atmospheric ozone, sulfur dioxide, and aerosol data for more than 25 years. The presentation took place at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting this week in San Francisco.

The TOMS sensors have provided some of the most critical and influential environmental data ever produced, documenting the long-term decline of global atmospheric ozone and the emergence and development of the Antarctic ozone hole. ìFor an instrument originally designed to study weather patterns, TOMS has proven incredibly productive, from mapping the ozone hole to tracking dust from the Sahara, said Rich McPeters, principal investigator, Earth Probe TOMS at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. 

TOMS sensors have flown successfully on U.S., Russian, and Japanese satellites beginning in 1978, with only a small gap, enabling hundreds of researchers to quantitatively monitor the ozone-layer losses and recovery of the Earth's atmosphere. 

The TOMS team has shown the enduring value of building simple sensors that are well understood and carefully designed to make critical observations for application to global change research. In order to achieve these results, the team demonstrated extraordinary perseverance and ingenuity, developing new algorithms to make absolute measurements of ozone from space. Imaging of volcanic sulfur dioxide and ash for aviation hazard warning was possible only because of the dedication and hard work of the team over several decades in accurately characterizing a series of TOMS instruments, and in the resourceful extraction of weak signals from the data.

TOMS is an unqualified success because the TOMS team achieved every mission goal, including instrument and software development, quality control, calibration, and data archiving and dissemination.

The Pecora Award has been presented annually since 1974 in memory of Dr. William T. Pecora, whose early vision and support helped establish what we know today as the Landsat satellite program. Dr. Pecora was Director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from 1965-71, and later served as DOI Undersecretary until his death in 1972.

Lynn Chandler
Goddard Space Flight Center