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: August

First Image Products from EcoSAR - Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Batuhan Osmanoglu (618), SeungKuk Lee, Rafael Rincon (555), Lola Fatoyinbo (618), Tobias Bollian, Jon Ranson (618) NASA/GSFC

EcoSAR is an advanced airborne polarimetric and interferometric P-band (435 MHz) SAR instrument. The aim of EcoSAR is to provide two- and three-dimensional fine scale measurements of terrestrial ecosystem structure and biomass. Polarimetric and interferometric imagery from EcoSAR over Costa Rica are starting to come out. Preliminary analysis indicate good system performance as efforts focus on improving processing algorithms.

Pauli Decomposition [2] of EcoSAR’s Polarimetric Data

“EcoSAR Measurements for March 2014” shows the first images processed for Corcovado National Park in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica [1]. In its full capacity EcoSAR is capable of generating 16 polarimetric images using its two antennas. During the 2014 flight campaign EcoSAR collected fully polarimetric data on the right wing antenna and single pass interferometric data utilizing both antennae and horizontal polarization. Technical issues with the left side radar processor limited data acquisition to horizontal polarization. Recent upgrades fixed the problem and EcoSAR is ready to acquire

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Latest News: Lab member Brent Holben has been selected as a 2016 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in recognition of his research accomplishments and leadership of the AERONET program. Congratulations to Brent and the other 2016 AGU Fellows.

Brent Holben

Click here for past news.

Weekly Highlights: July 25th

Published or Accepted Papers:

Ungar. Thompson, D.R., A.K. Thorpe, C. Frankenberg, R.O. Green, R. Duren, L. Guanter, A. Hollstein, E. Middleton (618), L. Ong, and S. Ungar (618) (2016). Space-based remote imaging spectroscopy of the Aliso Canyon CH4 super-emitter. Geophysical Research Letters, DOI:10.1002/, accepted May 22, 2016.

Wooten. Carroll M.L. (618/SSAI), M.R. Wooten (618/SSAI), C. Dimiceli, R.A. Sohlberg, and J.R.G. Townshend. 2016. ABoVE: Surface Water Extent, Boreal and Tundra Regions, North America, 1991-2011. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. ABoVE Water Maps represent 3 epochs (1991, 2001, 2011) of surface water in the ABoVE study domain. The maps are now publicly available via the Oak Ridge National Laboratory DAAC (ORNL-DAAC).

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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: David Coomes, Thursday, September 8th, 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.