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Roy Jenne gives Dennis Joseph tribute

Cites Dennis's work with TOVS and reanalysis projects, users, and technical problems


Dennis Joseph

by Roy Jenne

Roy Jenne gave the following remarks at the retirement party for Dennis Joseph on 9 January 2002.

Dennis Joseph, who retired from a long career in SCD's Data Support Section in December 2001, completed a master's degree in meteorology and climate at the University of Wisconsin. He spent 15 months with IBM before starting at NCAR in September 1966 -- only 1.7 years after I started the Data Support Section.

Data work requires the section to obtain a great deal of data, do checks, prepare data and information for easy access, and handle numerous user contacts. Dennis' background in climate, weather, and computing was excellent for this work.

Dennis first participated in a project to develop code to efficiently sort massive datasets into new data orders. This is one of the best systems in the world.

In 1974 he spent the summer at Dakar, Africa, to help with the GATE experiment [Global Atmospheric Research Program/Atlantic Tropical Experiment]. Many ships and aircraft were involved.

Around 1985, NCAR learned that the last Ampex TBM tape storage device was turned off at NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] before all satellite data had been rescued from a thousand big, heavy tapes. NCAR had the last operating TBM drives in the world. Could we save the TOVS [TIROS-N Operational Vertical Sounder] satellite data from the tapes? If we couldn't, the world would have no TOVS data for a period of three years, including the 1982-83 El Nino period.

The tapes had various errors, but SCD systems set up special software functions to help us rescue 99% of the data in spite of the errors. Dennis spent much time in 1986-87 going through the tapes to rescue 6.5 years of TOVS data, plus other data. The TOVS data was used in the big NOAA/NASA Pathfinder projects to derive better variables, and is now being used in reanalysis projects. Thank heavens the data gap was filled. Dennis won an NCAR award for this work.

For 35 years, Dennis has helped to bring in many datasets that users need and has sorted out many difficult problems in the data. As assistant manager, he has helped guide the tasks in the data group.

For the last ten years, the data group has been busy preparing all the day-by-day surface and upper air observations in the world that are needed to reanalyze the global atmosphere, each six hours, from 1948 on. A massive amount of work was required. This was a joint project with NCEP [National Centers for Environmental Prediction], where the analysis models were run. Later on, NCAR also cooperated with ECMWF [European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forcasting]. Dennis Joseph's work was critical to help the group do this much work, solve many problems, and to try to meet difficult time schedules. The world projects have turned out well.

Dennis has also interacted with many users in the U.S. and around the world about data we have, data delivery, and certain hardware problems. He has been enormously helpful in working with users and solving technical problems.

Dennis and his wife Sara's family includes their son Tim and his wife Erika (who live in Denver) and their son Chris, his wife Lisa, and a new granddaughter, Audrey (who live in Missoula, Montana). Dennis and Sara will continue to live in Boulder, but hope to have more time for skiing, visiting, and other projects.

We all wish them a very good retirement.

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