Charles Kovach, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR

Charles Kovach

Mission Scientist, NOAA National Environmental Satellite Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR)




Bio: After working as an environmental consultant, I began with the State of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection where I served for 18 years.  I built and maintained a strong technical support group (5-10 staff) that provided field sampling, laboratory analyses and data interpretation for water chemistry and biological data, as well as input on State rule development.  We also performed special projects over time, typically through outside funding from NOAA and NASA.  The focus of those studies was the refinement of surface water quality and biological health assessments through the utilization of remote sensing (airborne and satellite).  We (with USF) demonstrated our ability to accurately document estuarine surface water quality using satellite observations, and have further demonstrated the global applicability of these approaches.

As Florida’s Gulf of Mexico Alliance Nutrient Lead, and co-chair of the mercury subcommittee for 10 years I was actively engaged in stakeholder and government-to-government discussions regarding regional environmental issues.  I devised and led an effort that resulted in over $13M worth of remote sensing projects being funded by NASA in the Gulf of Mexico.  I have been an invited member on grant review panels for NASA and NOAA, and served in this capacity for other agencies such as the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

I was involved in the response mode for the British Petroleum (BP) release in 2010, and participated in 18 ocean cruises to collect data from Key West to the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, serving as Chief Scientist on some. I have extensive experience with ocean cruises and the measurement of marine optics and other pertinent parameters. Working with USF over the past decade we have helped to refine the understanding of numerous coastal and oceanic properties through the use of satellite remote sensing, and I have participated in the past two VIIRS calibration/validation cruises with NOAA and NASA support to my current employer Dr. Chuanmin Hu at the USF College of Marine Science.

What I’m doing on this cruise: The color of ocean water changes based on how much plant, sediment and decomposing material is in the water and can tell us a lot about oceanographic conditions. On the WCOA2016 cruise, I will be collecting measurements and performing experiments to improve measurements of ocean color from satellites and allow for the development of tools to measure ocean acidification from space.

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