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: April

Ground Reflectance Training Course At Railroad Valley Playa

Kurtis Thome1, and Brian Wenny2 (1: Biospheric Sciences Lab NASA GSFC, 2: SSAI)

Figure 1

Calibration and validation ensures high data quality and comparability between sensor systems. The Geoscience Spaceborne Imaging Spectroscopy Technical Committee (GSIS TC) conducted a training activity in July 2017 at the vicarious calibration test site at Railroad Valley, NV. The course, organized by C. Ong (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Perth) and K. Thome (NASA/GSFC) included demonstration of measurement protocols for surface and atmospheric parameters that minimize uncertainties as part of the vicarious calibration of on-orbit sensors. The course also allowed evaluation of a field portable transfer radiometer and sampling approaches to surface reflectance retrievals.

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: Mar. 9th

External Interactions:

Poulter. Poulter (618) participated in field work in southern Arizona visiting flux-tower sites at the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed, operated by the USDS ARS. He was part of a UK National Environmental Research Council funded group from University of Exeter using drone-based structure from motion and low-cost eddy covariance instruments to investigate and model the carbon cycle of semi-arid systems.

Fatoyinbo. M. Freilich (NASA HQ) and W. Turner W (NASA HQ) recently signed a three-year partnership agreement with Conservation International to support work by T. Fatoyinbo (618), C.S.R. Neigh (618) and C.H. Resende De Sousa (USRA) to develop land ecosystem maps for four countries that have signed the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa. Read the article.

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.