Biospheric Sciences - 618


Biospheric Sciences is a part of the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Biospheric Sciences studies terrestrial ecosystems and their interactions with the atmosphere using multiscale remote sensing, modeling, and advanced analytical techniques.

Biospheric Sciences Laboratory studies terrestrial ecosystems and their interactions with the atmosphere using multiscale remote sensing, modeling, and advanced analytical techniques. Specifically:

  1. develops and utilizes satellite remote sensing, aircraft and ground instruments to measure variables that describe the temporal and spatial dynamics of natural ecosystems as well as human impacts on these systems, especially the vegetation condition (e.g., land cover, height, biomass, photosynthetic capacity), soils (e.g., soil condition and type), and links to atmospheric constituents (e.g., aerosols, CO2;
  2. develops mathematical models that use space-borne, airborne and ground observations to predict land surface conditions and processes related to rates of vegetation, soil, and atmosphere exchanges (e.g., radiation, heat, water, greenhouse gases, net primary productivity);
  3. acquires, produces, and distributes comprehensive, integrated land data sets incorporating ground, airborne, and/or satellite observations to facilitate model development and validation;
  4. ensures the scientific integrity of new Earth remote sensing systems to improve space-based Earth observation; and
  5. performs research which leads to the definition and development of new technologies, sensors, and missions. Through the above activities, assesses and predicts environmental changes due to natural and anthropogenic processes at local to global scales.

Research Highlights: March

Sub-hectare agriculture fields mapped for food security programs

Christopher S.R. Neigh1, Mark Carroll1, 2, Margret Wooten1, 2, Jessica McCarty3, Bristol Powell4, Markus Enenkel4, and Greg Husak5 (1: Biospheric Sciences Lab. NASA GSFC, 2: Science Systems Applications Inc., 3: Miami University, 4: IRI Columbia Univ., 5: Univ. Cali. Santa Barbra)

Figure 1

Global food production in the developing world occurs within sub-hectare fields that are difficult to identify with moderate resolution satellite imagery. Knowledge about the distribution of these fields is critical to food security programs. We developed a semi-automated high-performance computational methodology to rapidly extract cropped area from WorldView and Landsat.

Click here to read the full research highlight


Latest News: Brent Holben returned from a trip to Namibia to check on and maintain sun photometers installed for the AERONET project. The project and trip are highlighted in a NASA Earth Expeditions article titled "Into Africa Seeking the Desert Sun".

The sun photometer set up over a desert backdrop.

Click here for past news.

Weekly Highlights: Mar. 6th


Fatoyinbo. Lola Fatoyinbo was nominated a Sigma Xi Distinguished lecturer for 2017-2018. The lectureship allows for sigma Xi chapters to host visits from the lecturers to communicate their science and insights on a broad range of topics.

External Interactions:

Anyamba. Assaf Anyamba (USRA/618) presented on "Climate/Weather Extremes Impacts on Agriculture and Vector-borne Disease Outbreaks" to a graduate class course "Science Diplomacy and World Health" at Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center on February 23, 2017, Washington, DC.

Brown Bag Seminars

Brown Bag Seminars are initiated as an informal forum to present your new work or updates to your 618 colleagues.

Seminars are typically held on Thursdays between 12:00 and 1:00 PM.

Next Seminar: Prabir Patra, Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Please check the calendar for a list of past and upcoming seminars.

Contact Us

For administrative or other support questions, click here.

Contact information for scientists can be found in the personnel list.