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: January

Landslides within the Larch Dominant Permafrost Zone of Central Siberia

K. J. Ranson1, VI Kharuk2(1: Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA GSFC, 2: Sukachev Institute of Forests, Krasnoyarsk, Russia)

Figure 1

Landslides are frequently observed on south facing along rivers in central Siberia. The frequency of landslides has increased over past decades and is correlated positively to precipitation, temperature, as well as equivalent of water thickness anomaly (EWTA, measured in mm) from the GRACE mission. Impact of landslides on boreal forests and water quality needs to be better understood.

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: Jan. 9th

Published or Accepted Papers:

Noojipady. Noojipady, P. (618/ESSIC), Morton, D. C. (618), Schroeder, W. (UMD), Carlson, K. M. (U-HI), Huang, C. (UMD), Gibbs, H. K. (UW), Burns, D. (NWF), Walker, N. F. (NWF), and Prince, S. D. (UMD): Managing fire risk during drought: the influence of certification and El Niño on fire-driven forest conversion for oil palm in Southeast Asia, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., doi:10.5194/esd-2017-2, in review, 2017.

External Interactions:

Noojipady. Praveen Noojipady (618/ESSIC) received his PhD in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park during the 2016 winter graduation (photo attached). Praveen was co-advised by Doug Morton (618), and his dissertation focused on ecosystem degradation and the interactions between climate variability and land management in the Southwest US, Brazil, and Southeast Asia.

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: Benjamin Poulter, Wednesday, February 08th, 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.