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NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program

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Title: NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program


1
NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program
  • Goal To improve understanding of the structure
    and function of global terrestrial ecosystems,
    their interactions with the atmosphere and
    hydrosphere, and their role in the cycling of the
    major biogeochemical elements and water
  • Science Questions
  • How are global ecosystems changing?
  • How do ecosystems, land cover and biogeochemical
    cycles respond to and affect global environmental
    change?
  • What are the consequences of land cover and land
    use change for human societies and the
    sustainability of ecosystems?
  • How will ecosystems change in the future?

2
NASAs Unique Role in Ecological Research
  • NASAs carbon cycle and ecosystems research
    programs lead in providing remote sensing data,
    remote sensing data analysis, and modeling.
    Also
  • we are a champion for the global, synoptic
    perspective,
  • we are committed to understanding and
    documenting the biophysical basis for remote
    sensing observations,
  • we are a major player in ecosystem, carbon
    cycle, and biogeochemical cycle model
    development, both diagnostic and prognostic, and
  • we are able to organize and support focused
    field campaigns and other large, coordinated
    projects

3
Carbon Cycle Research

4
NASA Carbon Cycle Research
  • To improve understanding of the global carbon
    cycle and to quantify changes in atmospheric CO2
    and CH4 concentrations as well as terrestrial and

aquatic carbon storage in response to fossil fuel
combustion, land use and land cover change, and
other human activities and natural events.
5
NASA Carbon Cycle Research
  • NASAs approach to investigating the global
    carbon cycle is broad-based and balanced, but
    emphasizes NASAs unique capabilities and
    strengths. NASA research
  • Focuses on utilizing existing satellite data and
    developing new capabilities for space-based
    global observations of greenhouse gases, carbon
    stocks, and primary productivity (i.e., carbon
    fixation by photosynthetic organisms)
  • Addresses/quantifies atmospheric, terrestrial,
    and aquatic carbon reservoirs
  • Uses spatial information from remote sensing data
    to scale up site-based measurements of carbon
    storage and carbon fluxes to the atmosphere
  • Conducts calibration/validation of satellite
    data algorithm development airborne field
    campaigns process investigations and data
    analysis/integration/assimilation
  • Develops advanced, quantitative carbon models,
    carbon data assimilation models, and coupled
    carbon-climate models
  • Develops and demonstrates technologies that
    enable improved future capability for the
    nation
  • ? NASAs annual investment in carbon cycle
    science and satellite missions is 170M

6
Satellite Measurements of Carbon (1)
  • Land Cover and Terrestrial Ecosystem Properties
    (systematic global time series)
  • Maps of land cover and vegetation type
    quantification of land cover change, disturbance,
    and regrowth
  • Estimates of vegetation greenness and
    productivity
  • Detection of active fires, burned area, and fire
    emissions
  • Ocean Color and Ecosystem Properties (systematic
    global time series)
  • Estimates of chlorophyll concentration and
    productivity to infer carbon uptake/export to the
    deep ocean
  • Estimates of phytoplankton carbon for improved
    estimates of carbon stocks
  • Estimates of pCO2 for air-sea CO2 fluxes
  • Other Earth Surface Properties
  • Land surface freeze-thaw status (from microwave
    sensors) to estimate growing season length (a key
    control on annual carbon uptake/release) at high
    latitudes
  • Land surface inundation duration and extent (from
    microwave sensors) to estimate methane (CH4)
    fluxes from wetlands

7
NASA Observations for Forest Carbon
  • Landsat (NASA/USGS)
  • Seasonal imagery _at_ 30m resolution gives
  • Area of forest cover change
  • Forest canopy degradation
  • Detection of disturbance/regrowth
  • LDCM to launch 2012
  • Landsat data are now free from US archive

Figure courtesy of J. Masek and C. Tucker, NASA
GSFC
8
Satellite Measurements of Carbon (2)
  • Vegetation Canopy Volume, Height , and Vertical
    Profile
  • Regional/global measurements of vegetation volume
    scattering to estimate aboveground carbon storage
    in low biomass vegetation types (Radar)
  • Globally distributed sampling measurements of
    canopy height and vertical profile to accurately
    estimate aboveground carbon storage (Lidar)
  • Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Concentration
  • Coarse resolution estimates of CO2 high in the
    atmosphere to improve/constrain atmospheric
    models
  • Accurate and precise estimates of CO2 in the
    total atmospheric column, with good sensitivity
    to CO2 low in the atmosphere, to locate and
    quantify surface sources and sinks of carbon

9
DESDynI Radar and Lidar Capabilities for Biomass
and Aboveground Carbon Storage
Multi-beam Lidar accurate biomass and canopy
profiles (along-track) at 25 m resolution, extend
spatially with radar
L-band Radar high resolution mapping of low
forest biomass and disturbance, extend
sensitivity with lidar
Terrestrial Carbon Storage and Changes
Figure courtesy of J. Masek and C. Tucker, NASA
GSFC
9
10
Orbiting Carbon Observatory Mission
  • OCO will measure CO2 O2 globally from space.

Validation establishes accuracy and characterizes
bias.
OCO CO2 data will be used in atmospheric
transport models to locate and quantify surface
carbon sources and sinks.
Sophisticated retrieval algorithms will estimate
averaged atmospheric column CO2 content with
accuracies of 0.3 on regional scales.
11
What Can NASA Do for Carbon Monitoring /
Verification of Compliance with Carbon Policies?
  • Scientific Carbon Monitoring Analysis for Full
    Carbon Accounting
  • Quantification of the carbon impacts of
    disturbance/recovery (global with MODIS, GLAS,
    and/or Japans PALSAR U.S. with Landsat/LDCM,
    Land Surface Imaging Constellation, and forest
    inventory data)
  • Proof-of-concept on utility of GOSAT ( OCO-2)
    observations for identifying and quantifying
    regional-local carbon sources and sinks first
    comparison with traditional methods could be done
    and future requirements established
  • Proof-of-concept on utility of a combined lidar
    and radar data product to quantify aboveground
    carbon storage in forests with DESDynI mission
    if successful end-of-mission product could be
    compared with traditional reporting and serve to
    establish a baseline for assessing future changes
  • Carbon Monitoring in Support of Verification /
    Carbon Markets
  • Scientific carbon monitoring results/products can
    be used as a check on the consistency, validity,
    and/or reliability of official carbon
    emissions/sequestration reporting
  • As remote sensing products improve and confidence
    in their applicability/utility grows, operational
    systems could evolve to include or wholly rely on
    them

12
NASA Carbon Monitoring System Pilot Initiative
  • The Fiscal Year 2010 Congressional Appropriation
    requires NASA to initiate work towards a Carbon
    Monitoring System (CMS), and provides some
    specific direction, including that NASA replicate
    state and national carbon and biomass inventory
    processes as well as carry out pre-phase A and
    pilot initiatives for the development of a CMS.
    The required funding level in FY2010 is 6M.
  • Current planning is considering pilot products
    and scoping activities, for example
  • Biomass Pilot Product focused on quantifying
    terrestrial vegetation carbon stocks
  • Integrated Emission/Uptake (Flux) Product
    focused on developing a global product for
    integrated emission/uptake of atmospheric carbon
    dioxide
  • Scoping Study focused on mapping NASAs evolving
    observational and modeling capability and the
    ability of the research community to use this
    capability to enhance information products to
    meet policy and decision-making requirements.

13
Ecosystems Research

14
Ecosystems Major Objectives
  • How ecosystems respond to changes in climate in
    combination with other contemporary environmental
    changes such as changes in land use and
    management, invasions of exotic species and the
    direct effects of CO2 is unclear.
  • Resolution of these uncertainties is needed
    because of the profound implications for future
    climate, food production, biodiversity,
    sustainable resource management, and the
    maintenance of a healthy, productive
    environment.

15
NASA Ecosystems Research
  • NASAs approach to investigating the global
    ecosystems emphasizes NASAs unique capabilities
    and strengths. NASA research
  • Focuses on utilizing existing satellite data and
    developing new capabilities for space-based
    global observations of ecosystem structure and
    function (including vegetation composition,
    physiology, phenology, successional processes,
    biodiversity, and the biophysics of remote
    sensing)
  • Uses spatial information from remote sensing data
    to scale up site-based measurements to regional
    and global scales
  • Conducts calibration/validation of satellite
    data algorithm development airborne field
    campaigns process investigations and data
    analysis/integration/assimilation
  • Develops advanced, quantitative ecosystem models,
    dynamic global vegetation models (DGVM),
    soil-vegetation-atmosphere transfer models
    (SVAT), and coupled ecosystem-climate models
  • Develops and demonstrates technologies that
    enable improved future capability for the
    nation
  • ? NASAs annual investment in carbon cycle
    science and satellite missions is 95M

16
NASA TERRESTRIAL ECOLOGY (TE) PROGRAM NEXT FIELD
CAMPAIGN
  • To date, no national or international program has
    proposed/developed an idea for a next major TE
    field campaign nor has the NASA TE community
  • In ROSES-2009, TE solicited for scoping studies
    for a major field campaign or related large
    project and 2 studies were selected and funded
    for 12 month scoping studies
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Remote Sensing of
    Global Savannas A Scoping Study for a New TE
    Field Campaign  (Hanan)
  • Vulnerability and Resiliency of Arctic and
    Sub-Arctic Landscapes (VuRSAL) - The Role of
    Interactions between Climate, Permafrost,
    Hydrology, and Disturbance in Driving Ecosystem
    Processes  (Kasischke)
  • Other ideas will be entertained there is no
    commitment to conduct one or the other or both.

17
Our Terrestrial Ecology Program Science
Investigators Meeting

18
TE Meeting Planning Committee
Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, Michigan Tech Research
Institute G. James Collatz, NASA GSFC Carla
Evans, NASA GSFC/Sigma Space Corp. Peter
Griffith, NASA GSFC/Sigma Space Corp. Simon J.
Hook, JPL Ralph Keeling, UCSD   (Local
Host) Josef Kellndorfer, Woods Hole Research
Center John S. Kimball, University of Montana
Jeffrey Masek, NASA GSFC Christopher Potter,
NASA ARC K. Jon Ranson, NASA GSFC Crystal Schaaf,
Boston University Philip Townsend, University of
Wisconsin Diane E. Wickland, NASA HQ Darrel
Williams, Global Science Technology, Inc.      
19
TE Meeting Planning Committee
Laura Bourgeau-Chavez, Michigan Tech Research
Institute G. James Collatz, NASA GSFC Carla
Evans, NASA GSFC/Sigma Space Corp. Peter
Griffith, NASA GSFC/Sigma Space Corp. Simon J.
Hook, JPL Ralph Keeling, UCSD   (Local
Host) Josef Kellndorfer, Woods Hole Research
Center John S. Kimball, University of Montana
Jeffrey Masek, NASA GSFC Christopher Potter,
NASA ARC K. Jon Ranson, NASA GSFC Crystal Schaaf,
Boston University Philip Townsend, University of
Wisconsin Diane E. Wickland, NASA HQ Darrel
Williams, Global Science Technology, Inc.      
Thank You!
20
Our Aspirations for this Meeting
  • You will use this meeting to advance your
    contribution toward achieving the goals of the
    NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program
  • You will share your scientific knowledge and
    experience with each other
  • You will identify problems / deficiencies and
    recommend solutions (for the most part, with a
    focus on problems/solutions that we/I have the
    capacity to act upon)
  • You will identify opportunities to advance our
    science and/or conduct it more efficiently, and
    recommend options for doing so
  • We are looking for help and new ideas to improve
    the content and management of the TE Program
  • ? This meeting is for you, too, and we encourage
    you to take full advantage!

21
My Aspirations for this Meeting
  • I would like to receive some inputs on
    scientific directions / next challenges for the
    program
  • I would like to hear from the TE community
    regarding priorities for data products and their
    stewardship
  • I would like to hear from the TE community about
    more effective use of airborne instruments/platfor
    ms and thoughts about a next major field campaign
  • I would like some help in managing/implementing
    the program
  • ideas on best ways to seek and receive TE
    community inputs
  • ideas on how to more routinely and
    systematically develop research highlights for
    NASA reporting/metrics
  • feedback on how often to meet as the NASA TE
    community and a new committee to plan the next
    meeting/workshop

22
NASA Terrestrial Ecology Meeting Structure
  • Plenary Sessions
  • To provide information on current scientific
    activities, programs, plans
  • To focus on TE research activities and
    accomplishments
  • To provide background on data, missions,
    networks, etc.
  • To get us all on the same page more or less
    regarding the TE program and related national and
    international activities!
  • Talks to stimulate thinking and motivate future
    research
  • Poster Sessions
  • For researchers to share with each other their
    latest results and research project plans,
    activities, etc.
  • For the leaders of related activities to provide
    technical information of interest to the TE
    community
  • ? To exchange the latest scientific and technical
    results
  • Break-out Discussions
  • To discuss research progress and needs
  • To identify problems / gaps / deficiencies in
    the TE Program
  • To identify opportunities to pursue new science
    or implement the programs activities more
    efficiently
  • ? To identify solutions/options and make
    recommendations

23
Break-Out Discussions

24
What is Wanted from the Break-Outs?
  • An informed discussion of the issues and
    opportunities related to the topic
  • A discussion that has interest and value for you
  • A few recommendations / ideas / options
    regarding directions for the program and/or ways
    we could improve the program (1-2 per break-out
    discussion would be plenty!)

25
Terrestrial Ecosystem Carbon Cycle Research
Research Questions to Address (new ideas
below) Gaps / Inefficiencies / Problems Opportunit
ies
  • Decadal Survey Science Themes for Understanding
    and Managing Ecosystems
  • Disruption of the carbon, water and nitrogen
    cycles
  • Changing land and marine resource use
  • Changes in disturbance cycles

CCE MOWG Draft Questions Theme 1 How do
Earths ecosystems work, and how are they
changing? Theme 2 What are the roles of
Earths ecosystems within the larger earth
system? Theme 3 What are the human
relationships to the biosphere, and how can these
be sustainably managed into the future?
26
Modeling
Where should we place our efforts? What new
developments are needed? What is our role in
ecological forecasting (and in relation to NASA
Applied Sciences program element)? Gaps /
Inefficiencies / Problems Opportunities
27
Scientific Applications of New Satellite Data
Products
Which new satellite data products are of greatest
interest to the TE community? What questions
should we prepare to address with these new
satellite data products? Is other data or
infrastructure needed to make optimal use of
these new data products? Gaps / Inefficiencies /
Problems Opportunities
28
Support for Scientific Assessments
  • Which assessments should we be supporting?
  • What remote sensing data products and analyses
    have the most potential to inform the next
    assessment?
  • What do we need to do have our products and
    findings influence the next assessment?
  • Gaps / Inefficiencies / Problems
  • Opportunities

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Another U.S. National Assessment (USGCRP) A new
Biodiversity Assessment Etc. . . .
29
TE Science for Future Missions TE Field
Campaigns (Large and Small)
  • Airborne campaign science
  • Instruments for space flights of opportunity
  • Satellite missions (Venture, Decadal Survey,
    Systematic)
  • The two scoping studies
  • Mission-focused airborne acquisitions
  • Multi-sensor Airborne Campaigns
  • Address future opportunities for Venture Class
    there is nothing we can say about the current
    competition

30
Effective Use of Airborne Remote Sensing
  • What are our primary airborne sensors and
    platforms?
  • Are we using them effectively?
  • to address important science questions
  • to maximize our return on the NASA/TE investment
    in infrastructure, operations, flight hour
    subsidies
  • Are we prepared to make effective use of the new
    or refurbished instruments now in development?
  • What options might TE or NASA Earth Science
    consider to improve research use of airborne
    sensors and platforms?
  • What capabilities do we need that we do not
    have?
  • Gaps / Inefficiencies / Problems
  • Opportunities

31
Data Needs, Products, Distribution, and
Stewardship
  • Are the data (especially satellite data) we need
    available and easy to use?
  • Are we prepared to make effective use of the new
    data products now in development?
  • Are there other data products that should be
    developed?
  • Do the data products that NASA has selected for
    development reflect the priorities of the TE
    community?
  • Does the TE Program need to establish a process
    for prioritizing data sets and the level of
    support that NASA provides?
  • Gaps / Inefficiencies / Problems
  • Opportunities

32
Observation Networks and Collaboration
Opportunities
  • What are the most important in situ networks for
    TE?
  • Do we have effective relationships with those
    networks?
  • Are there other networks we should engage and/or
    support?
  • Gaps / Inefficiencies / Problems
  • Opportunities
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