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Prominent Visiting NASA Rocket Scientist Drowned At Annaly Bay Tide Pools

CANE BAY — An internationally-prominent NASA scientist gathering information about “tropical convection processes” to gain a better understanding about how hurricanes operate in the Caribbean drowned at the Annaly Bay tide pools one week ago, the Virgin Islands Free Press has learned.

“Dr. Gail M. Skofronick-Jackson who was a Weather and Atmospheric Dynamics Program Manager at NASA Headquarters, Science Mission Directorate, where she provides scientific expertise has sadly passed away,” NASA said. “The news of her death was confirmed in an official press release made through the NASA website.”

How and where Skofronick-Jackson’s died (drowning-St. Croix) has not yet been officially acknowledged by NASA. The news of her death was first leaked to the public in a Facebook post, which said “she died doing what she loved.”

Dr. Gail M. Skofronick-Jackson, NASA’s Program Manager Weather Focus Area

It is not known if there was a scientific purpose to Skofronick-Jackson’s visit to the Annaly tide pools on September 7, or whether she was merely sightseeing as a private citizen in a potentially-dangerous, jagged-edge rock tourist trap.

Virgin Islands Police Department spokesman Toby Derima officially said falsely twice that Skofronick-Jackson was a “tourist,” but she had actually been on island as part of a team of NASA scientists studying Caribbean weather patterns since mid-August.

Gail worked on the TRMM & GPM satellite precipitation missions at NASA. Her research highlighted the importance of high-frequency passive microwave measurements that helped form the foundation of products generated by NASA today.

Before she joined NASA, Gail had worked in various capacities at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland beginning in 1997, including as a Post-Doc Research Associate, the Chief of the NASA Goddard Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Laboratory, and as a Project Scientist for the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.

Headline from newspaper in South Africa about “Gail Jackson’s” death.

She bagged her B.S degree in electrical from Florida State University and thereafter in a bid to upgrade her knowledge also received her M.S. and PhD degrees in EE from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Gail is also a Program Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), the Lightning Imager System (LIS) on the International Space Station, and Aqua satellite/AIRS instrument. She is involved in NASA’s Earth Science Decadal Survey Aerosols, Clouds, Convection, and Precipitation (ACCP), Atmospheric Winds, & Planetary Boundary Layer targeted observables.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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