Introduction


A painting of Nimbus orbiting Earth
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The Nimbus Program consisted of the development of a series of seven polar-orbiting meteorological research satellites launched from 1964-1978 and the earth scientific research conducted with the Nimbus data. The different spacecraft payloads were designed to collect meteorological, atmospheric, oceanographic, geological, and other environmental data to study the Earth’s dynamic behavior. This program was conducted by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and was supported by the national and international meteorological research community. An unparalleled long-term, multi-spectral, and multi-application database was collected over the 30-year spacecraft operational period that provided increased knowledge of the Earth’s atmospheric constituents, weather behavior, global energy balance, oceanic productivity, and terrestrial features.

A symposium was held to commemorate the forty years since the launch of the first Nimbus satellite. The thrust of the symposium was to indicate the Nimbus benefits to mankind and earth science research by illustrating the very meaningful science that was conducted with the Nimbus data that is still being applied in current research. In so doing, the presenters provided an excellent overview of the many areas of earth science that can be studied using information that can only be derived from satellites. They provided an insightful perspective on how there is an ongoing process to evolve advanced instrumentation that provides additional information for resolving the global and local climatological and environmental issues that have been studied for years; questions that still prevail.