NCDC Insider: Meet Scientific Programmer Bill Hankins
Weather and climate scientists and researchers depend on access to many of NCDC’s data to continue their important work, and scientific programmers such as NCDC’s Bill Hankins, a contractor with ERT Inc., help ensure that accessing those data is not just possible but is easy and efficient. Bill tests and maintains software including existing operational applications that provide historical and near-real-time climate and weather data.
Bill has over 25 years of experience in a variety of scientific fields, computer programming, and software development, which he believes is one of his biggest assets in his work. Using this vast experience along with the knowledge and expertise he has gained along the way, Bill is currently working on several up-and-coming projects at NCDC. Bill is aiding in the development of the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project, which aims to collect and analyze satellite measurements to learn more about the global distribution of clouds, their properties, and their variations.
Bill is also working on the development of several climate data records, including the Blended Sea Winds and Global Surface Albedo datasets. As climate data records, these datasets will meet stringent guidelines and will be of sufficient length, consistency, and continuity to determine climate variability and change. The Blended Sea Winds dataset will provide a record of wind speeds and directions over the ocean’s surface and the Global Surface Albedo dataset will provide a record of the portion of the sun’s energy that is reflected back into space by the Earth’s surface as measured by satellites.
In the future, Bill hopes to help bring more climate data records to fully operational status. He also looks forward to migrating many of NCDC’s physical server applications to a new virtual environment. And in these endeavors, Bill is glad to be working with the NCDC team saying, “It’s always nice to see a smile on the face of every team member after the successful completion of a project.” Outside of his work, Bill is not only a team player but is also an avid fan of athletics. He loves playing hockey and golf. He even played football and participated in gymnastics in high school. He also enjoys mountain biking and kayaking with his wife of 28 years and his three boys.
Stay tuned for the next edition of NCDC Insider to meet more of the Center’s dedicated staff.