Biospheric Sciences - 618


Biospheric Sciences is a part of the Hydrospheric, Biospheric, and Geophysics 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: June

Operational support to ocean color missions

B. Holben1, G. Zibordi2, I. Slutsker1, D. Giles1, M. Sorokin1, T. Eck1, A. Smirnov1, J. Schafer1 (1: Biospheric Sciences Laboratory NASA GSFC, 2: Joint Research Center)

Figure 1

Figure 1

The Ocean Color Component of the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET-OC) was conceived to support the validation of satellite ocean color data products such as normal water leaving radiance and aerosol optical thickness through autonomous radiometric measurements performed from offshore platforms. The network, established in 2002 in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, currently includes more than 20 globally distributed sites located in different marine regions. AERONET-OC data are presently operationally applied by NASA to assess data products from a number of ocean color sensors (e.g., the Ocean Land Color Imager (OLCI) onboard Sentinel-3, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard the NOAA-20 satellite and the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) spacecraft). AERONET-OC Version 3 will be released later in 2018. It will improve calibration, quality assurance and support new measurements over fresh water.

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: Jun. 18th

Osmanoglu. Batu Osmanoglu (618) and MinJeong Jo (618/USRA) attended the NISAR Forest Application Workshop at the USFS International Program office in Washington D.C. on Wednesday and Thursday to represent the NASA DISASTERS program. They discussed the potential applications of NISAR to the forest monitoring, and how it can be used in the case of a disaster planning, response and recovery.

External Interactions:

Butcher.. Ginger Butcher (618/SSAI) participated in one of the series of panel discussions with leaders of the Maker movement discussing its impact on the economy, education, and community development that preceded the Capitol Hill Maker Fair on June 12 at the Rayburn House Office Building. During the fair that evening, Mike Taylor (618/SSAI) presenting spectrometer activities with Landsat data and Ginger shared an activity using paper circuits and LEDs to create light-up NASA badge.

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 Wednesdays between 12:00 and 1:00 PM.

Next Seminar: Ben Poulter and Katelyn Dolan, Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

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.