Biospheric Sciences - 618

Mission

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: September

Satellite Retrievals of GPP using the Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI): Off-nadir MODIS Twice per day; Nadir Hyperion paired with fAPARchI

Dr. Elizabeth Middleton & Dr. Qingyuan Zhang

Pauli Decomposition [2] of EcoSAR’s Polarimetric Data

Fig. 1: Our study highlights the value of off-nadir directional PRI reflectance-derived observations from MODIS (at >1 km), and the value of pairing morning (Terra) and afternoon (Aqua) satellite observations to monitor stress responses that inhibit carbon uptake and influence GPP in Canadian forest ecosystems.

The first study highlights the value of satellite high spectral resolution data, off-nadir directional reflectance observations, and the value of pairing morning and afternoon satellite observations to monitor stress responses that inhibit carbon uptake in Canadian forest ecosystems. In addition, we show that MODIS-PRI values, when derived from either: (i) forward views only, or (ii) Terra/Aqua same day (any view) combined observations, provided more accurate estimates of tower-measured daily LUE than those derived from either nadir or backscatter views or those calculated by the widely used semi-operational MODIS GPP model (MOD17) which is based on a theoretical maximum LUE and environmental data. Consequently, we demonstrate the importance of diurnal as well as off-nadir satellite observations for detecting vegetation physiological processes.

Click here to read the full research highlight.

News

Latest News: The EcoSAR website was launched! It contains detailed instrument specs, related publications, data downloads, and information on past and upcoming flight campaigns.

Graphic of an EcoSAR equipped plane flying over wetlands, permafrost, and forest.


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).


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: John Armston, Thursday, October 13th, 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.