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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Program Areas:

Land-Cover/Land-Use Change (LCLUC) (Research)

The Land-Cover/Land-Use Change program is developing and using NASA remote sensing tools, via an interdisciplinary approach that envelops aspects of physical, social and economic sciences, to further our understanding of human interactions with the environment and the interconnection between terrestrial ecosystems and sustainability, vulnerability and resilience of human land use and land cover change. Some of the key elements of the program include: the monitoring and modeling of LCLUC, interactions of LCLUC with the carbon and water cycles, LCLUC feedbacks with the climate system, and LCLUC impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, environmental goods and services, and the management of natural resources. The program’s long-term goal is to facilitate the development of the capability to complete repeated global inventories of land-use and land-cover from space, and to predict land-use and land-cover changes and their direct and indirect impacts on the Earth’s system and society.

NASA Program Manager
Garik Gutman

Visit NASA Land-Cover/Land-Use Change for more information.

Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry (OBB) (Research)

The Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program (OBB) focuses on describing, understanding, and predicting the biological and biogeochemical regimes of the upper ocean, as determined by observation of aquatic optical properties using remote sensing data, including those from space, aircraft, and other suborbital platforms. Scientific issues of interest to the program include: the impact of pollutants and hazards to the biology and hydrology of coastal zones, changes in the diversity and geographical distribution of coastal marine habitats and the implications for the well-being of human society, biogeochemical fluxes and their influence in Earth's oceans and climate over time, and finally the impact of climate and environmental variability and change on ocean ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.

NASA Program Manager
Paula Bontempi

NASA Program Scientist
Laura Lorenzoni

Visit NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry for more information.

Terrestrial Ecology (Research)

Research activities in Terrestrial Ecology address changes in the global carbon cycle and ecosystem structure and function using space-based observations. The goal is to improve our understanding of the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems around the world, their interactions with the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and their role in the cycling of major biogeochemical cycles. The program’s research approach combines the use of remote sensing tools to observe terrestrial ecosystems and their responses to variable forcings through field campaigns and process studies as well as collaborative studies in ecosystem and biogeochemical cycle modeling to analyze and predict emergent ecosystem properties. An important component of the Terrestrial Ecology program focuses on research to establish a theoretical basis for measuring Earth’s surface properties and developing the appropriate methodologies and technical approaches to analyze and interpret such measurements.

NASA Program Managers
Hank Margolis
Kathy Hibbard

Visit NASA Terrestrial Ecology for more information.

Biological Diversity

The Biological Diversity research program uses NASA observations and models to improve our understanding of biodiversity, how and why it is changing, and its effects on and interactions with the Earth system. NASA explores patterns of biodiversity on land and in water using observations from satellites, airborne and seaborne platforms, and in situ surveys. These observations are well-suited for detecting such patterns, especially at the ecosystem level, but also atfiner community and species levels. Through a combination of observations and models, NASA further seeks to understand the geophysical and ecological processes that result in the patterns of biodiversity our observations detect. This process-oriented research aligns the Biological Diversity research program with activities of other NASA Earth Science programs, such as efforts to track the biogeochemical cycling of elements like carbon and studies of the water cycle.

Visit NASA Biological Diversity for more information.

NASA Program Manager
Woody Turner

Ecological Forecasting (Applications)

As part of NASA Applied Sciences, Ecological Forecasting is an applications activity that employs observations and models to predict the impacts of environmental change on ecosystems. It focuses on conservation and natural resource management. and integrates information from the physical, biological, and social sciences to promote synthesis across the domains of physics, geology, chemistry, biology, and psychology. The goal is reliable forecasts that provide decision makers with access to science-based tools in order to project changes in living systems.

NASA Program Manager
Woody Turner

Visit NASA Ecological Forecasting for past meetings and NASA Applications for more information .

Water Resources (Applications)

The Water Resources Applications area supports the use of Earth observations in water resources management related to water demand, supply, and quality. The program includes five functional themes: drought; stream flow and flood forecasting; evapotranspiration and irrigation; water quality; and climate effects on water resources.

NASA Program Manager
Bradley Doorn

Visit NASA Applications for more information.

Carbon Monitoring System (Crosscutting)

The Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) is jointly shared across the Terrestrial Ecology and Atmospheric Composition programs. The CMS is directed through a 2010 Congressional Appropriation and is a forward-looking activity designed to develop a prototype carbon monitoring system based on scientific research towards characterizing, quantifying, understanding, and predicting the evolution of carbon sources and sinks from regional to global scales through improved quantification of carbon reservoirs and fluxes. Active research in the CMS are primarily with land/atmosphere exchange, however, a few ocean/atmosphere awards are in the current portfolio. Visit CMS’s webpage for more information on the program’s objectives, projects, news and announcements.

NASA Program Managers
Kathy Hibbard
Kenneth Jucks
Hank Margolis

Visit NASA Carbon Monitoring System for more information.