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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Memorial to Dr. Paul C. Doraiswamy
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Dr. Paul C. Doraiswamy, Friend and Colleague

Dr. Paul C. Doraiswamy
April 7, 1948 - May 8, 2010
Friend and Colleague


Dr. Paul Doraiswamy passed away May 8, 2010.  Dr. Doraiswamy was a Meteorologist with the  USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Animal & Natural Resources Institute,  Beltsville, MD since 1988.  He received his B.S. in Physics from Madras University, India in 1967, a M.S. in Agricultural Meteorology, University of Nebraska in 1971, and a Ph.D. in Forest Meteorology from the University of Washington in 1977.  From 1975 to 1979 he was a research associate at Texas A&M, College Station, TX and worked on an integrated pest management project. ; In 1979 he began his focus on remote sensing and crop yield as project scientist for Lockheed Engineering in the NASA-NOAA-USDA project AgRISTARS (Agriculture and Resources Inventory Surveys Through Aerospace Remote Sensing) at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.  From 1982 to 1988 he was the project leader for the Agricultural Meteorology and Remote Sensing U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission for Research and Technology, USDA-Office of Internal Cooperation and Development, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  In 1988 he joined ARS as a Meteorologist with the former Remote Sensing Research Lab in Beltsville.

Dr. Doraiswamy has had an illustrious career with ARS that spanned 22 years.  His work has had a tremendous impact on the utilization of remote sensing research products by USDA agencies, specifically the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.  These agencies are using his research results dealing with crop condition and yield estimation, land use evaluation, and the impact of agricultural management practices on soil carbon sequestration. 

Dr. Doraiswamy was recognized by the Agency and internationally as an authority on the application of satellite technology for agriculture.  His accomplishments include being one of the first to demonstrate the application of NASA satellite sensor technologies for crop condition and yield assessments and management of nitrogen fertilizer applications.  He pioneered procedures for integrating biophysical parameters from satellite images with crop simulation models.  Dr. Doraiswamy developed an operational eographical Information System-based algorithm with satellite data to map biweekly changes in crop development and conditions on a regional basis.  Dr. Doraiswamy's crowning achievement was the development of an operational crop condition and yield modeling system that both FAS and NASS now use as part of their operational programs for assessing corn, soybean, wheat yield and production in the U.S and world-wide.

Since 1995, Dr. Doraiswamy has attracted significant outside funding for his research on applying remote sensing technology to agricultural problems.  This support speaks not only to his standing as a scientist, but also to the broad acceptance of his work and the recognition that it was in the forefront of the field.  He exhibited leadership in international collaborations and extraordinary skill and success in bringing together groups of diverse scientific and cultural backgrounds to accomplish the transfer of remote sensing technology of national and international interest and scope in agriculture.

Dr. Doraiswamy had important leadership roles as a member of the USDA Coordination Committee for Remote Sensing and USDA Weather and Climate Coordination Committee.  In 1999, Dr. Doraiswamy was elected Coordinator for Remote Sensing Activities of the U.N. Commission for Agricultural Meteorology, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and elected a member of the Database Management Working Group of the U.N. Commission for Agricultural Meteorology, WMO.  In 2004 he was awarded the Federal Laboratory Consortium Mid-Atlantic Regional Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for work entitled "A Real Time Assessment System for Spring Wheat Production in Siberia".    In 2009, Dr. Doraiswamy was again awarded the Federal Laboratory Consortium Mid-Atlantic Regional Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for the work entitled "Development of an Operational System for Regional Crop Production Assessment."

Dr. Paul Doraiswamy is survived by his wife, Sundari Doraiswamy, children, Vijay Doraiswamy (daughter-in-law Purvi Doraiswamy), Ranjit Doraiswamy, and Vikram Doraiswamy, his mother, Sarojini Doraiswamy, and his sisters, Melly Swamidas, Rita Das, Marjorie Ebeneezer, Pamela Asthana, and Merlyn Vemury.

Visitation: There will be a Viewing at Hines-Rinaldi Funeral home on Wednesday May 12 from 5-8PM.

  Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home
  11800 New Hampshire Avenue
  Silver Spring, MD 20904
   http://www.hinesrinaldifuneralhome.com/

Service: The Funeral Service will be on Friday May 14 at 11AM at Grace Bible Baptist Church. Burial will follow at St. Johns Cemetery nearby:

  Grace Bible Baptist Church
  1518 North Rolling Road
  Baltimore, MD 21228-1195
  (410) 788-6132
   http://www.gracebiblebaptist.org/

If you have memories of Paul that you would like to share with Sundari,   please send to:

Sundari Doraiswamy, 4600 Willowgrove Dr., Ellicott City, MD  21043


Last Modified: 1/3/2011
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