Profile for Matthew Rodell

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Title: Laboratory Chief
Affiliation: NASA
Contact: E-mail
Office Phone: 301-286-9143
Fax: 301-614-5808

Research Interests

My research focuses on the measurement and modeling of terrestrial water storage and its components, including ground water, soil moisture, snow, and surface waters. I am particularly interested in deriving hydrological information from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite observations of Earth’s time variable gravity field, and I am a member of the GRACE science team. I also lead the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) project, which aims to produce high resolution, optimal output fields of land surface states (e.g., soil moisture and temperature) and fluxes (e.g., evapotranspiration) by parameterizing, forcing, and constraining (via data assimilation) sophisticated numerical land surface models with data from advanced ground and space based observing systems. Improved understanding of variability in the stocks and fluxes of terrestrial water has implications for weather and climate prediction, water management, agricultural applications, natural hazards (e.g., floods and biohazards), and military mobility. My newest research thrusts include quantifying ground water’s role in the Earth system and using our data-integrating models for water resources applications.


Ph.D., Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin: "Estimating Changes in Terrestrial Water Storage", December 2000.

B.S., Environmental Science, The College of William and Mary, May 1994.

Honors and Awards

NASA/GSFC Robert H. Goddard Award for Exceptional Achievement in Science, 2011.

NASA/GSFC Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Outstanding Publication Award, 2010.

NASA/GSFC Special Act Incentive Awards, 2002-09.

NASA/GSFC Earth Science Achievement Award, 2007.

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2006. 


2nd GRACE Hydrology Workshop, organizer and convener, 2009.

GEWEX Global Land Atmosphere System Study (GLASS) Panel, 2008 – present.

NASA Energy and Water Cycle Study (NEWS) Team.

• Co-chair, Energy and Water Cycle Climatology subgroup, 2009-present.

Ground Water Working Groups

• Co-chair of groups under NASA's Terrestrial Hydrology Program and IGWCO-GARS-UNESCO.

• Co-organizer, Workshop on Global Monitoring of Groundwater Resources, 18-19 October 2007, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

American Geophysical Union, 1996 – present.

• Co-chair, Hydrology Section Fall Program Committee, 2009-11.

• Co-chair of Remote Sensing Technical Committee, 2006-08.

GSFC Science and Exploration Directorate Deputy Director's Council on Science.

• Chair, 2007-08. 

GEWEX Coordinated Energy and Water Cycle Observations Project (CEOP), 2002 – present.

• Chair, Land Surface Models subgroup.

American Meteorological Society, 1996 – present.

Goddard Child Development Center Vice President, 2006-08.

Current Projects

Project title: Multi-Sensor Snow Data Assimilation (PI: M. Rodell)

Project Title: Integration of Energy and Water Cycle Research Products in a Global Land Surface Modeling and Assimilation System (PI: M. Rodell)

Project Title: Integrating Enhanced GRACE Water Storage Data into the U.S. and North American Drought Monitors (PI: M. Rodell)

Project Title: Scales of Variability of Groundwater Storage (PI: M. Rodell)

Project Title: The Contribution of Changes in Terrestrial Water Storage to Sea Level Variation (PI: J. S. Famiglietti/UC Irvine)

Project Title: NASA Model and Observation Products for the Study of Land Atmosphere Coupling and Its Impact on Water and Energy Cycles (PI: C. Peters-Lidard )

Project Title: Terrestrial Hydrology from GRACE: Decomposition, Continental Hydroclimatology, and New Applications ( PI: J. S. Famiglietti/UC Irvine)

Project Title: The Application of Multiple Satellite Radar Altimetry Data Sets to Inland Surface Water Projects (PI: C. Birkett/UMD)

Project Title: The Role of Irrigated Croplands in North American Hydroclimatic Regimes (PI: M. Ozdogan/U. Wisconsin)


James S. Famiglietti, and M. Rodell (2013). Water in the Balance Environmental Science , 340, 1300-1301

Li, B., and M. Rodell (2013). Spatial variability and its scale dependency of observed and modeled soil moisture over different climate regions Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci, 17, 1177-1188

Voss, K., J.S. Famiglietti, M. Lo, C. de Linage, M. Rodell, and S.C. Swenson (2013). Groundwater depletion in the Middle East from GRACE with implications for transboundary water management in the Tigris-Euphrates-Western Iran region Water Resources Research, 49(2), 904-914

Doll, P., H. Hoffmann-Dobrev, F. Portmann, S. Siebert, A. Eicker, M. Rodell, G. Strassberg, and B. Scanlon (2012). Impact of water withdrawals from groundwater and surface water on continental water storage variations Journal of Geodynamics, 59-60, 143-156

Forman, B., R. Reichle, and M. Rodell (2012). Assimilation of terrestrial water storage from GRACE in a snow-dominated basin Wat. Resour. Res, 48(W01507).

Houborg, R., M. Rodell, B. Li, R. Reichle, and B. Zaitchik (2012). Drought indicators based on model assimilated GRACE terrestrial water storage observations Wat. Resour. Res, 48(W07525).

Li, B., M. Rodell, R. Zaitchick, R.H. Reichle, R. Koster, and T. van Dam (2012). Assimilation of GRACE terrestrial water storage into a land surface model: Evaluation and potential value for drought monitoring in western and central Europe Journal of Hydrology, 446-447, 103-115

Rodell, M., D.P. Chambers, and J.S. Famiglietti (2012). Groundwater and terrestrial water storage. In Bulletin American Meteor. Soc, 93(7), S29-S30

Sun, A.Y., R. Green, S. Swenson, and M. Rodell (2012). Toward calibration of regional groundwater models using GRACE data Journal of Hydrology, 422-423, 1-9

Taylor, Richard G., Scanlon, Bridget, Doll, Petra, M. Rodell, van Beek, Rens, Wada, Yoshihide, Longuevergne, Laurent, Leblanc, Marc, Famiglietti, James S., Edmunds, Mike, Konikow, Leonard, Green, Timothy R., Chen, Jianyao, Taniguchi, Makoto, Bierkens, Marc F. P., MacDonald, Alan, Fan, Ying, Maxwell, Reed M., Yechieli, Yossi, Gurdak, Jason J., Allen, Diana M., Shamsudduha, Mohammad, Hiscock, Kevin, Yeh, Pat J.-F., Holman, Ian, and Treidel, Holger (2012). Ground water and climate change Nature Climate Change .

Wardlow, B.D, M.C. Anderson, J. Sheffield, B. Doorn, J.P. Verdin, X. Zhan, and M. Rodell (2012). Future Opportunities and Challenges in Remote Sensing of Drought. In B.D. Wardlow, M.C. Anderson, J.P. Verdin (Ed.), Remote Sensing of Drought: Innovative Monitoring Approaches. (289-410). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Satellite.

Famiglietti, J., M. Lo, S.L. Ho, J. Bethune, K.J. Anderson, T.H. Syed, S.C. Swenson, C.R. de Linage, and M. Rodell (2011). Satellites measure recent rates of groundwater depletion in California’s central valley Geophys. Res Letter, 38(L03403).

Jimenez, C., C. Prigent, B. Mueller, S. I. Seneviratne, M. F. McCabe, E.F. Wood, W. B. Rossow, G. Balsamo, A. K. Betts, P. A. Dirmeyer, J. B. Fisher, M. Jung, M. Kanamitsu, R. H. Reichle, M. Reichstein, M. Rodell, J. Sheffield, K. Tu, and K. Wang (2011). Global intercomparison of 12 land surface heat flux estimates J. Geophys. Res, 116(D02102), 27

Kustu, D., Y. Fan, and M. Rodell (2011). Possible link between irrigation in the US High Plains and increased summer streamflow in the Midwest Wat. Resour. Res, 47(W03522).

Mueller, B., S.I. Seneviratne, C. Jimenez, T. Corti, M. Hirschi, G. Balsamo, A. Beljaars, A.K. Betts, P. Ciais, P. Dirmeyer, J.B. Fisher, Z. Guo, M. Jung, C.D. Kummerow, F. Maignan, M.F. McCabe, R. Reichle, M. Reichstein, M. Rodell, W.B. Rossow, J. Sheffield, A. J. Teuling, K. Wang, and E.F. Wood (2011). Evaluation of global observations-based evapotranspiration datasets and IPCC AR4 simulations J. Geophys. Res, 38(L06402), 7

Rodell, M., J.S.Famiglietti, D.P. Chambers, and J. Wahr (2011). Contributions of GRACE to climate monitoring Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , 92(6), S49-S52

Rodell, M., D.P. Chambers, and J.S. Famiglietti (2011). Groundwater and terrestrial water storage Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 92(6), S49-52

Rodell, M., Eric B. McWilliams, James S. Famiglietti, H. Beaudoing, and J.D. Nigro (2011). Estimating evapotranspiration using an observation based terrestrial water budget Hydrological Processes, 25(26), 4082–4092

Su Z, Roebeling RA, Schulz J, Holleman I, Levizzani V, Timmermans WJ, Rott H, Mognard-Campbell N, de Jeu R, Wagner W, M. Rodell, Salama MS, Parodi GN , and Wang L (2011). Treatise on Water Science. Oxford: Academic Press: Elsevier.

Van Dijk, A., L. Renzullo, and M. Rodell (2011). Use of GRACE terrestrial water storage retrievals to evaluate model estimates by the Australian water resources assessment system Wat. Resour. Res, 47(W11524).

Bolten, J.D., W. Crow, X. Zhan, T. Jackson, C. Reynolds, and M. Rodell (2010). Evaluation and application of remotely sensed soil moisture product Proceedings of the IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium

Han, Shin-Chan, In-Young Yeo, Doug Alsdorf, Paul Bates, Jean-Paul Boy , Kim Hyungjun, Oki Taikan, and M. Rodell (2010). Movement of Amazon surface water from time-variable satellite gravity measurements and implications for water cycle parameters in land surface models GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, 11(Q09007), 20

Ozdogan, M., M. Rodell, H. Beaudoing, and D. Toll (2010). Simulating the Effects of Irrigation over the United States in a Land Surface Model Based on Satellite-Derived Agricultural Data J. Hydrometeorology, 11(1), 171-184

Sun, A.Y., R. Green, M. Rodell, and S. Swenson (2010). Inferring aquifer storage parameters using satellite and in situ measurements: Estimation under uncertainty Geophys. Res. Lett., 37(L10401).

Zaitchik, B.F., M. Rodell, and F. Olivera (2010). Evaluation of the Global Land Data Assimilation System using global river discharge data and a source‐to‐sink routing scheme Water Resour. Res., 46(W06507).

Rodell, M., I. Velicogna, and J.S. Famiglietti (2009). Satellite-based estimates of groundwater depletion in India Nature, 460, 999-1002

Zaitchik, B.F., and M. Rodell (2009). Forward-Looking Assimilation of MODIS-Derived Snow-Covered Area into a Land Surface Model J. Hydrometeorology, 10(1), 130-148

de Goncalves, L., W.J. Shuttleworth, D. Vila, E. Larroza, M.J. Bottino, D.L. Herdies, J.A. Aravequia, J.G.Z. De Mattos, D. Toll, M. Rodell, and P. Houser (2009). The South American Land Data Assimilation System (SALDAS) 5-Yr Retrospective Atmospheric Forcing Datasets J. Hydrometeorology, 10(4), 999-1010

Famiglietti, J.S., D. Ryu, A.A. Berg, M. Rodell, and T.J. Jackson (2008). Field observations of soil moisture variability across scales Water Resources Res., 44(W01423), 16 pp

Syed, T.H., J.S. Famiglietti, M. Rodell, J. Chen, and C.R. Wilson (2008). Analysis of terrestrial water storage changes from GRACE and GLDAS Water Resources Res., 44(1), W01423

Zaitchik, B.F., M. Rodell, and R.H. Reichle (2008). Assimilation of GRACE Terrestrial Water Storage Data into a Land Surface Model: Results for the Mississippi River Basin J. Hydrometeorol., 9, 535-548

Chen, J.L., M. Rodell, J.S. Famiglietti, and C.R. Wilson (2007). Attenuation effect on seasonal basin-scale water storage changes from GRACE time-variable gravity J. Geod., 81, 237-245

Gulden, L.E., E. Rosero, Z.-L. Yang, M. Rodell, C.S. Jackson, G.-Y. Niu, P. J.-F. Yeh, and J. Famiglietti (2007). Improving land-surface model hydrology: Is an explicit aquifer model better than a deeper soil profile? Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(L09402), 5

Kato, H., M. Rodell, F. Beyrich, H. Cleugh, E. van Gorsel, H. Liu, and T.P. Meyers (2007). Sensitivity of Land Surface Simulations to Model Physics, Land Characteristics, and Forcings, at Four CEOP Sites J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 85A, 187-204

Niu, G.-Y., K.-W. Seo, Z.-L. Yang, C. Wilson, H. Su, J. Chen, and M. Rodell (2007). Retrieving snow mass from GRACE terrestrial water storage change with land surface model Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(L15704), 5

Rodell, M., J. Chen, H. Kato, J.S. Famiglietti, J.D. Nigro, and C.R. Wilson (2007). Estimating grondwater storage changes in the Mississippi River basin (USA) using GRACE Hydrogeology J. , 15(1), 159-166

Strassberg, G., B.R. Scanlon, and M. Rodell (2007). Comparison of seasonal terrestrial water storage variations from GRACE with groundwater-level measurements from the High Plains Aquifer (USA) Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(L14402), 5 pp

Syed, T.H., J.S. Famiglietti, V. Zlotnicki, and M. Rodell (2007). Contemporary estimates of Pan-Arctic freshwater discharge from GRACE and reanalysis Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(L19404), 6

Lawford, R., M. Bosilovich, S. Eden, S. Benedict, C. Brown, A. Gruber, P. Houser, K. Hsu, J. Huang, W. Lau, T. Meyers, K. Mitchell, C. Peters-Lidard, J. Roads, M. Rodell, S. Sorooshian, D. Tarpley, and S. Williams (2006). U.S. Contributions to the CEOP BAMS, 87(7), 927-939

Seo, K.-W., C.R. Wilson, J.S. Famiglietti, J.L. Chen, and M. Rodell (2006). Terrestrial water mass load changes from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Water Resources Res., 42(W05417), 15

Yeh, P.J.-F., S.C. Swenson, J.S. Famigliette, and M. Rodell (2006). Remote sensing of groundwater storage changes in Illinois using the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Water Resources Res., 42(W12203), 7

de Goncalves, L., W.J. Shuttleworth, S.C. Chou, Y. Xue, P.R. Houser, D. Toll, J. Marengo, and M. Rodell (2006). Impact of different initial soil moisture fields on Eta model weather forecasts for South America J. Geophys. Res., 111(D17102), 14

de Goncalves, L., W.J. Shuttleworth, E.J. Burke, P. Houser, D. Toll, M. Rodell, and K. Arsenault (2006). Toward a South American Land Data Assimilation System: Aspects of land surface model spin-up using the Simplified Simple Biosphere J. Geophys. Res., 111(D17110), 13

Gottschalck, J., J. Meng, M. Rodell, and P. Houser (2005). Analysis of Multiple Precipitation Products and Preliminary Assessment of Their Impact of Global Land Data Assimilation System Land Surface States J. Hydrol., 6, 573-598

Rodell, M., B.F. Chao, A.Y. Au, J.S. Kimball, and K.C. McDonald (2005). Global Biomass Variation and Its Geodynamic Effects: 1982-98 Earth Interactions, 9(2), 19 pp

Rodell, M., P.R. Houser, A.A. Berg, and J.S. Famiglietti (2005). Evaluation of 10 Methods for Initializing a Land Surface Model J. Hydromet., 6(2), 146-155

Rodell, M., J.S. Famiglietti, J. Chen, S.I. Seneviratne, P. Viterbo, S. Holl, and C.R. Wilson (2004). Basin scale estimates of evapotranspiration using GRACE and other observations Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, 1-4

Rodell, M., P.R. Houser, U. Jambor, J. Gottschalck, K. Mitchell, C.-J. Meng, K. Arsenault, B. Cosgrove, J. Radakovich, M. Bosilovich, J.K. Entin, J.P. Walker, D. Lohmann, and D. Toll (2004). The Global Land Data Assimilation System BAMS, 381-394

Rodell, M., and P.R. Houser (2004). Updating a Land Surface Model with MODIS-Derived Snow Cover J. Hydrometeorol., 5, 1064-1075

Houser, P.R., and M. Rodell (2002). GLDAS: An Important Contribution to CEOP GEWEX News, 2, 8-9, 16

Jambor, U., P.R. Houser, M. Rodell, J. Gottschalck, C.-J. Meng, B. Cosgrove, and J.K. Entin (2002). Remotely Sensed Forcing Data and the Global Land Data Assimilation System Proc. IGARSS 2002, 3, 1405-1407

Koike, T., P. Houser, and M. Rodell (2002). Special Report: CEOP Satellite Data Integration CEOP Newsletter, 5

Rodell, M., P.R. Houser, U. Jambor, J. Gottschalck, J. Radakovich, K. Arsenault, C.-J. Meng, and K. Mitchell (2002). Forcing a Global, Offline Land Surface Modeling System with Observation-Based Fields. In 16th Conference on Hydrology. (J11 - J12). Orlando, Florida: Proc. AMS 2002 Annual Meeting.