Remote Sensing of Land Water Mobility

Project Summary

The lack of available water constrains hydrologic and ecological processes for two-thirds of the Earth’s land surface. We are working with colleagues at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop new satellite microwave remote sensing algorithms for detecting and monitoring land-atmosphere water and energy exchange over North America. These data will provide continuous weekly-annual observations of surface evaporation and vegetation conditions from 1988 onward that can be used for a variety of applications including monitoring agricultural, rangeland and forest health, improving regional weather forecasts and water resource monitoring. Regional and global data sets developed from this project include satellite based evapotranspiration (ET), terrestrial freeze-thaw status and net primary productivity (NPP).


Frolking, S., T. Milliman, K. McDonald, J. Kimball, M. Zhao, and M. Fahnestock, 2006. Evaluation of the SeaWinds scatterometer for regional monitoring of vegetation phenology. Journal of Geophysical Research 111, D17302, doi:10.1029/2005JD006588.

Frolking, S., M. Fahnestock, T. Milliman, K. McDonald, and J.S. Kimball, 2005. Interannual variability in North American grassland biomass/productivity detected by SeaWinds scatterometer backscatter. Geophysical Research Letters, 32(21), L21409, 10.1029/2005GL024230.

Mu, Q., M. Zhao, F.A. Heinsch, M. Liu, H. Tian and S.W. Running. Evaluating water stress controls on primary production in biogeochemical and remote sensing based models. Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, G01012, doi:10.1029/2006JG000179.

Running, S.W., and J.S. Kimball, 2005. Satellite-based analysis of ecological controls for land-surface evaporation resistance. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. Vol. 5., M.G. Anderson and J.J. McDonnell (Eds.), John Wiley & Sons Ltd.