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 Keith Hutchison

Rex Plaizier


Keith D. Hutchison is the President of Cloud Systems Research, LLC an organization conducting studies to improve cloud predictions in NWP and global climate models. He is also a Senior Research Fellow and Principal Investigator (PI) in the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas. He graduated from the University of Utah with a PhD in Meteorology in 1982 and is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF.


From 2011 to 2014 Keith was PI for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) as their VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer sensor) Cloud Mask (VCM) CalVal Lead on the NASA Suomi NPP and NOAA JPSS programs. His responsibilities included quantifying VCM performance through construction of manually-generated cloud masks, evaluating algorithm deficiencies and demonstrating algorithm upgrades through the prototyping of enhancements during the VCM CalVal period. From 2003 to 2011 he was the VIIRS Algorithm Lead on the NGAS NPOESS/JPSS program where he supervised a team of scientists in the Modeling and Simulations group at NGAS charged with developing, integrating, testing and verifying (using MODIS and synthetic data) algorithms to process VIIRS data for the NPP program. He also served as the VIIRS Cloud Mask (VCM) algorithm lead and developed new technologies that resulted in significant improvements in automated cloud detection.


Keith was the PI for Lockheed Martin to specify design requirements for the NPOESS VIIRS imagery bands as part of a Raytheon Technical Services Company contract to Lockheed Martin CREST Lab in Sunnyvale, CA. He was responsible for defining the spectral, spatial, and thermal characteristics of the VIIRS imagery channels using, in part, Lockheed’s PACEOSTM simulation software. His team developed simulation test plans, simulated VIIRS imagery, and quantified expected performance to define sensor design specifications including channels, band pass characteristics, sensor noise tolerances, modulation transform functions, and other key sensor parameters.


From 1998 to 2001 Keith was a PI at the Lockheed Advance Technology Division in Palo Alto, CA where he worked on the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) sensor which was built to fly on NASA’s TRIANA, for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a contract to Lockheed Martin. He was the Instrument Scientist tasked to define EPIC sensor specifications, which was the first environmental satellite sensor built solely to acquire global imagery during continuous daylight conditions. He also developed plans to assess the quality of imagery collected by EPIC during calibration/validation phase of the TRIANA mission. The sensor launched as part of the NOAA DSCVR project.


In addition to his multitude of refereed journal publications, Keith has presented over 50 papers at conferences around the world and has been an invited speaker at University of Leipzig, Germany (2017), Danish Meteorological Institute (2010), Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (2010), Institute for Meteorology and Water Management, Krakow, PO (2008), Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich (2007), Department of Meteorology, Freie University in Berlin (1999, 2002, 2006), Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg (2005), and numerous universities across the USA.


Keith has served on graduate committees for students at San Francisco State U, San Jose State U, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UT Austin, and the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson AFB, OH.


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Last Updated: 4/27/21