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: April

Goddard Laser for Absolute Measurement of Radiance (GLAMR)

Joel McCorkel1, Brendan McAndrew2, Kurt Thome1, Jim Butler1 (NASA/GSFC. 1: Code 618, 2: Code 551)

GLAMR is a tunable and high-powered laser system that provides an ideal light source for characterizing the spectral and radiometric response of an instrument. This pure signal is allows decoupling of sensor features (e.g. linearity, crosstalk, scattered light) and orders of magnitude better absolute radiometric accuracies..

Graphic b: GLAMR consists of several laser systems to achieve spectral tunability over the full solar reflective spectrum. This photo shows a portable optical table that hosts two LBO-based optical parametric oscillators that provide most of this spectrum.

Graphic c: This is a photo showing the experimental set up of the laser-based characterization of JPSS-1 VIIRS.
Graphic d: This plot provides an example of one of the sensor parameters that can be characterized with a laser-based calibration system, in this case cross talk.

Click here to read the full research highlight.


Latest News: Doug Morton (Code 618) recently published a News and Views article in Nature Climate Change. Entitled “Forest Carbon Fluxes: A Satellite Perspective”, the article highlights the importance of satellite observations from Landsat, ICESat-2, GEDI, and other missions for quantifying carbon emissions from tropical forests.

A photo from the retirement party

Click here for past news.

Weekly Highlights: May 9th

External Interactions:

Middleton. Betsy Middleton (618) hosted three European scientists in April: Dr. Sergio Cogliati from the Univ. of Milan, Italy; Dr. Caroline Nicol from the Univ. of Edinburgh; and a PhD student from the Univ. of Valencia, Spain, here for 3 months as part of her degree program. All three scientists are involved in fluorescence research and are expert on topics relevant to measurement, retrieval, and inter- pretation of solar induced fluorescence (SIF). Ongoing collaborations include the use of field and laboratory data collected by Betsy and her Spectral Bio-Indicator research group. Drs. Cogliati and Nicol gave a joint seminar in the 618 seminar series on April 2

Click here for more research highlights.

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: Samuel Goward and Darrel Williams, Thursday, May 26th, 2016

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.