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: December

GEDI and TanDEM-X Fusion for Enhanced Height/Biomass

1, T. E. Fatoyinbo1, 2, S.-K Lee2, S. Hancock2, R. Dubayah (1: Biospheric Sciences Laboratory NASA GSFC, 2: Department of Geographical Sciences UMD)

Figure 1

A new fusion technique that will combine GEDI (Lidar) and TanDEM-X (SAR) data to generate higher resolution, wall-to-wall forest height and biomass maps has been developed using simulated GEDI metrics over dense tropical forests in Central Africa. With this method, Forest canopy height can be estimated using the Pol-InSAR technique combined with the fused GEDI/TanDEM-X Digital Terrain Model at a finer resolution (20 m) than the planned GEDI product 1km) and with a height estimation error of ~15%.

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: Feb. 12th

Published or Accepted Papers:

Hubbard. Policelli, F. (617), Hubbard, A. (618/SSAI), Jung, H. C. (617/SSAI), Zaitchik, B., Ichoku, C. (613), "Lake Chad Total Surface Water Area as Derived from Land Surface Temperature and Radar Remote Sensing Data", Remote Sensing, In-Press, 2018, doi: 10.3390/rs10020252. In this paper, an extended record (dry seasons 1988-2016) of the total surface water area of Lake Chad including both open water and flooded vegetation was derived using Land Surface Temperature (LST) data from Terra MODIS (dry seasons 2000-2016) and EUMETSAT Meteosat (dry seasons 1988-2001) from an earlier study.

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: Ian Paynter, Wednesday, February 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.