Terrestrial Carbon Flux

Project Summary

A New Approach for Satellite Monitoring of Pan-Arctic Terrestrial CO2 Exchange.

We are developing a new satellite-based approach for regional assessment and monitoring of terrestrial net carbon exchange (NEE) for the pan-Arctic; NEE quantifies the magnitude and direction of land-atmosphere net CO2 exchange and is a fundamental measure of the balance between carbon uptake by vegetation net primary production (NPP) and carbon loss through soil heterotrophic respiration (Rh).  We are using satellite microwave remote sensing to extract surface soil wetness and temperature information with existing satellite-based measurements of vegetation structure (LAI, FPAR) and productivity (GPP, NPP) from Aqua/Terra MODIS sensors to derive spatially explicit estimates of NEE for the pan-Arctic at weekly and annual intervals.  Calibration and validation activities involve multiscale comparisons with tundra CO2 eddy-flux tower and biophysical measurement networks, detailed hydroecological process model simulations and low altitude flux aircraft overflights along regional moisture and temperature gradients across Alaska.  This project provides the first-ever operational satellite-based approach for regional assessment and monitoring of NEE, the primary measure of carbon exchange between the land and atmosphere.  These data also provide a valuable new tool for assessing regional patterns, temporal variability and environmental controls on pan-Arctic terrestrial sources and sinks for atmospheric CO2 and advances our understanding of the extent to which the Arctic is being affected by recent warming trends and reinforcing global change.

Mean Daily net CO2 Exchange

Prototype application of a new MODIS-AMSR-E sensor-based remote sensing algorithm for daily mapping of land-atmosphere net CO2 exchange (NEE) for the pan-Arctic.

Funding Agency: 


Yi, Y., J.S. Kimball, L.A. Jones, R.H. Reichle, R. Nemani, and H.A. Margolis, 2013. Recent climate and fire disturbance impacts on boreal and arctic ecosystem productivity estimated using a satellite-based terrestrial carbon flux model. JGR Biogeosci. 118, 1-17.

Kimball, J.S., L.A. Jones, K. Zhang, F.A. Heinsch, K.C. McDonald, and W.C. Oechel, 2009. A satellite approach to estimate land-atmosphere CO2 exchange for Boreal and Arctic biomes using MODIS and AMSR-E. IEEE TGARS, 47(2), 569-587.

Jones, L.A., J.S. Kimball, K.C. McDonald, S.K. Chan, E.G. Njoku, and W.C. Oechel, 2007. Satellite microwave remote sensing of boreal and arctic soil temperatures from AMSR-E. IEEE TGARS 45(7), 2004-2018.

Zhang, K., J.S. Kimball, K.C. McDonald, J.J. Cassano, and S.W. Running, 2007. Impacts of large-scale oscillations on pan-Arctic terrestrial net primary production. Geophysical Research Letters 34, L21403.

Zhang, K., J.S. Kimball, M. Zhao, W.C. Oechel, J. Cassano, and S.W. Running, 2007. Sensitivity of pan-Arctic terrestrial net primary productivity simulations to daily surface meteorology from NCEP/NCAR and ERA-40 Reanalyses. JGR Biogeosci. 112, G01011, 1-14.