Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa: An Earthzine Personal Profile

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Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa

The business of standards within the developing GEOSS community requires the commitment, expertise, and networking capabilities of a host of individuals. Foremost among these is Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), in Boulder, Colorado. Since receiving his B.A. in Physics from the University of California, Irvine, and his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, Seattle, Khalsa has been a major contributor to a variety of data programs. His activity in leading the IEEE effort in standards and interoperability for GEOSS is a natural extension of his work in these programs, albeit on a global scale.

Since 1993 Khalsa has worked in support of the NASA’s Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) at the NSIDC. Prior to that he worked at the University of Colorado and University of Hawaii leading research programs in air-sea interaction, boundary layer turbulence and detection of climate change in satellite data records. During this time he participated in the design, planning and execution of nine international fields programs involving satellite-, aircraft-, ship-, buoy- and land-based sensors.

His current job engages him in research on methods of remotely sensing glacier change as part of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project. He is also a collaborator on project to estimate changes in snow cover and glacier mass balance in Central Asia over the past 50 years with the aim of forecasting impacts of climate change on local surface hydrology. In his current position as Science Data Coordinator at the NSIDC DAAC he performs science evaluation and algorithm support for the MODerate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). These instruments are all part of NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) – for which Khalsa played a major role in the development of the EOSDIS science data model. He also leads the passive microwave-based Near-real time Ice and Snow Extent (NISE) Product team at NSIDC.

But his passion in contributing to GEOSS standards development and related programs is what set him apart from most data scientists. Khalsa is a charter member of NASA’s Standards Process Group and the IEEE/GRS-S liaison to ISO/TC211. He is chair of the IEEE Committee on Earth Observations (ICEO) Standards Working Group, and leads several IEEE-initiated activities supporting standards and interoperability for the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS). He is a founding member of the International Polar Year (IPY) Knowledge Organization Group, which is working on semantic interoperability for the IPY. In 2006 Khalsa formed the Colorado Associates for Science and Technology, a company dedicated to providing high quality scientific and technological consulting in the fields of remote sensing, data management, and geospatial and semantic interoperability.