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: May

Comparison of Forest Canopy Height estimation from Lidar, InSAR and Very High Resolution Stereo Imagery highlights the advantages and alternatives for forest structure and biomass estimation in remote areas

Lola Fatoyinbo1, David Lagomasino1,2, SeungKuk Lee1,2, Emanuelle Feliciano1,3 (Code 618 1: NASA/GSFC, 2:USRA/GESTAR, 3:NPP)

Comparison of Canopy Height from Airborne Lidar, SRTM, VHR Stereo, and TDX

Scatterplot of model height vs. lidar height for HiRes, TDX, and SRTM

Line graph A) Canopy Height. B) Canopy Height Differential. X axis: Bin Height (m). Y axis: %Frequency.  Values for SRTM, TDX, HiRes, and Lidar

Height distributions for each of the remote sensing models. Close match between VHR, TanDEM-X (TDX), and airborne lidar

Our results show the applicability and accuracy of Very High Resolution Stereo Imagery (VHR Stereo) InSAR data (from TanDEM-X and SRTM) to measure canopy height, canopy height changes, and estimate aboveground biomass and carbon stocks in forest ecosystems, such as mangroves.

Click here to read the full research highlight.


Latest News: Dr. Assaf Anyamba (USRA/618) has used MODIS NDVI data to evaluate the increased risk of mosquito-borne illness in the Arabian Peninsula during 2016. Wetter than normal weather has led to increased vegetation, and potentially, more favorable habitat for mosquitos. Full story.

Click here for past news.

Weekly Highlights: June 13th

Accepted Publications:

Bounoua. Lachir A, Bounoua L (618), Zhang P (618/UMD) , Thome K (618), Messouli M. Modeling urban growth Impact on surface climate in a semi-arid region using the Simple Biosphere model (SiB2): A Case Study in Marrakech, Morocco. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, in press. The paper reports the use of NASA’s Simple Biosphere model (SiB2) to assess the impact of urbanization on the surface climate in the semi-arid continental city of Marrakech (Morocco). Results indicate that surface temperatures differ between urban and surrounding vegetated lands by as much as 8.3oC, making the city a major heat source.

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: Jim Ellenwood, Thursday, June 30th, 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.