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Using NASA Remote Sensing and Models to Advance Integrated Assessments of Coupled Human-Forest Dynamics for North America

Hurtt, George: University of Maryland (Project Lead)
Bond-Lamberty, Ben: Pacific NW National Lab (Co-Investigator)
Chini, Louise: University of Maryland (Co-Investigator)
Edmonds, Jae: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Joint Global Change Research Institute (Co-Investigator)
Frolking, Steve: University of New Hampshire (Co-Investigator)
Janetos, Anthony (Tony): Boston University (Co-Investigator)
Thomson, Allison: Joint Global Change Research Institute (Co-Investigator)
Dolan, Katelyn: University of Maryland (Participant)
Fisk, Justin: Applied Geosolutions (Participant)
Flanagan, Steve: University of Maryland (Participant)
Imhoff, Marc: Joint Global Change Research Institute (Participant)

Project Funding: 2010 - 2013

NRA: 2009 NASA: Terrestrial Ecology   

Funded by NASA

Human activity has significantly altered basic element cycles, the water cycle, and the land surface at local to planetary scales, and these alterations are influencing the global environment, including the Earth's climate system. Population and the demand for energy, food, fiber, and water will increase in the future, placing even greater pressure on the Earth system. Planning for the next century requires accurate models of the Earth system, including human activity. Recent studies with integrated assessment models models linking human and natural systems at a global scale highlight the importance of terrestrial systems in climate stabilization efforts. We propose to link remote sensing, terrestrial ecosystem modeling, and integrated assessment modeling to improve assessments of carbon dynamics, land-use change, and climate mitigation policies. Our research aims to reduce uncertainties associated with forest modeling within integrated assessments, and to quantify the impacts of climate change on forest growth and productivity for integrated assessments of terrestrial carbon management. In particular, we address the following three major science questions: (1) How can remote sensing and mechanistic ecosystem models be used to improve integrated assessments involving coupled human-forest dynamics? (2) What are the opportunities for land-use strategies such as afforestation or woody bioenergy crop production to contribute to stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations? (3) What are the linked remote sensing/ecosystem modeling requirements for improving integrated assessments of climate mitigation strategies? To answer these questions, we will build upon and integrate our teams leadership experience and ongoing efforts in three key areas: Lidar-initialized Ecosystem Demography (ED) modeling, MiniCAM integrated assessment modeling, and global land- use modeling. This work will yield new and innovative coupled models that will be used to mechanistically simulate the interactive effects of ecosystem dynamics and human land-use in the context of climate change and the development of strategies to mitigate it.


Flanagan, S., Hurtt, G., Fisk, J., Sahajpal, R., Hansen, M., Dolan, K., Sullivan, J., Zhao, M. 2016. Potential Vegetation and Carbon Redistribution in Northern North America from Climate Change. Climate. 4(1), 2. DOI: 10.3390/cli4010002

Fisk, J. (2015) Net Effects of Disturbance: Spatial, Temporal, and Societal Dimensions of Forest Disturbance and Recovery on Terrestrial Carbon Balance. Ph.D. Thesis. UNH.

Huntzinger, D. N., Schwalm, C., Michalak, A. M., Schaefer, K., King, A. W., Wei, Y., Jacobson, A., Liu, S., Cook, R. B., Post, W. M., Berthier, G., Hayes, D., Huang, M., Ito, A., Lei, H., Lu, C., Mao, J., Peng, C. H., Peng, S., Poulter, B., Riccuito, D., Shi, X., Tian, H., Wang, W., Zeng, N., Zhao, F., Zhu, Q. 2013. The North American Carbon Program Multi-Scale Synthesis and Terrestrial Model Intercomparison Project - Part 1: Overview and experimental design. Geoscientific Model Development. 6(6), 2121-2133. DOI: 10.5194/gmd-6-2121-2013

Dang, X., Lai, C., Hollinger, D. Y., Schauer, A. J., Xiao, J., Munger, J. W., Owensby, C., Ehleringer, J. R. 2011. Combining tower mixing ratio and community model data to estimate regional-scale net ecosystem carbon exchange by boundary layer inversion over four flux towers in the United States. Journal of Geophysical Research. 116(G3). DOI: 10.1029/2010JG001554

Hall, F. G., Bergen, K., Blair, J. B., Dubayah, R., Houghton, R., Hurtt, G., Kellndorfer, J., Lefsky, M., Ranson, J., Saatchi, S., Shugart, H. H., Wickland, D. 2011. Characterizing 3D vegetation structure from space: Mission requirements. Remote Sensing of Environment. 115(11), 2753-2775. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2011.01.024

Hurtt, G. C., Chini, L. P., Frolking, S., Betts, R. A., Feddema, J., Fischer, G., Fisk, J. P., Hibbard, K., Houghton, R. A., Janetos, A., Jones, C. D., Kindermann, G., Kinoshita, T., Klein Goldewijk, K., Riahi, K., Shevliakova, E., Smith, S., Stehfest, E., Thomson, A., Thornton, P., van Vuuren, D. P., Wang, Y. P. 2011. Harmonization of land-use scenarios for the period 1500-2100: 600 years of global gridded annual land-use transitions, wood harvest, and resulting secondary lands. Climatic Change. 109(1-2), 117-161. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0153-2

Hurtt, G. C., Fisk, J., Thomas, R. Q., Dubayah, R., Moorcroft, P. R., Shugart, H. H. 2010. Linking models and data on vegetation structure. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 115(G2). DOI: 10.1029/2009JG000937

Gelfand, I., Sahajpal, R., Zhang, X., Izaurralde, R. C., Gross, K. L., Robertson, G. P. 2013. Sustainable bioenergy production from marginal lands in the US Midwest. Nature. 493(7433), 514-517. DOI: 10.1038/nature11811

Le Page, Y., Hurtt, G., Thomson, A. M., Bond-Lamberty, B., Patel, P., Wise, M., Calvin, K., Kyle, P., Clarke, L., Edmonds, J., Janetos, A. 2013. Sensitivity of climate mitigation strategies to natural disturbances. Environmental Research Letters. 8(1), 015018. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/015018

Le Page, Y., Morton, D., Bond-Lamberty, B., Pereira, J. M. C., Hurtt, G. 2015. HESFIRE: a global fire model to explore the role of anthropogenic and weather drivers. Biogeosciences. 12(3), 887-903. DOI: 10.5194/bg-12-887-2015

Sahajpal, R. (2014) Assessing Cellulosic Biofuel Feedstock Production Across a Gradient of Agricultural Management Systems in the US Midwest. Ph.D. Thesis, UMD. DRUM DOI: DOI: 10.13016/M2B60T

Sahajpal, R., Zhang, X., Izaurralde, R. C., Gelfand, I., Hurtt, G. C. 2014. Identifying representative crop rotation patterns and grassland loss in the US Western Corn Belt. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 108, 173-182. DOI: 10.1016/j.compag.2014.08.005

Sun, G., Caldwell, P., Noormets, A., McNulty, S. G., Cohen, E., Moore Myers, J., Domec, J., Treasure, E., Mu, Q., Xiao, J., John, R., Chen, J. 2011. Upscaling key ecosystem functions across the conterminous United States by a water-centric ecosystem model. Journal of Geophysical Research. 116. DOI: 10.1029/2010JG001573

Xiao, J., Zhuang, Q., Baldocchi, D. D., Law, B. E., Richardson, A. D., Chen, J., Oren, R., Starr, G., Noormets, A., Ma, S., Verma, S. B., Wharton, S., Wofsy, S. C., Bolstad, P. V., Burns, S. P., Cook, D. R., Curtis, P. S., Drake, B. G., Falk, M., Fischer, M. L., Foster, D. R., Gu, L., Hadley, J. L., Hollinger, D. Y., Katul, G. G., Litvak, M., Martin, T. A., Matamala, R., McNulty, S., Meyers, T. P., Monson, R. K., Munger, J. W., Oechel, W. C., Paw U, K. T., Schmid, H. P., Scott, R. L., Sun, G., Suyker, A. E., Torn, M. S. 2008. Estimation of net ecosystem carbon exchange for the conterminous United States by combining MODIS and AmeriFlux data. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 148(11), 1827-1847. DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2008.06.015

Xiao, J., Chen, J., Davis, K. J., Reichstein, M. 2012. Advances in upscaling of eddy covariance measurements of carbon and water fluxes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 117(G1). DOI: 10.1029/2011JG001889

Xiao, J., Ollinger, S. V., Frolking, S., Hurtt, G. C., Hollinger, D. Y., Davis, K. J., Pan, Y., Zhang, X., Deng, F., Chen, J., Baldocchi, D. D., Law, B. E., Arain, M. A., Desai, A. R., Richardson, A. D., Sun, G., Amiro, B., Margolis, H., Gu, L., Scott, R. L., Blanken, P. D., Suyker, A. E. 2014. Data-driven diagnostics of terrestrial carbon dynamics over North America. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 197, 142-157. DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2014.06.013

2015 NASA Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Joint Science Workshop Poster(s)

  • Plant migrations role on future carbon balance from climate change in Northern North America   --   (Steve Flanagan, George Hurtt, Justin Fisk, Ritvik Sahajpal)   [abstract]
  • The integrated Ecosystem Demography (iED) model: Linking ecological and socio-economic models for improved integrated assessments of climate mitigation   --   (Justin P Fisk, George Hurtt, Yannick le Page, Pralit Patel)   [abstract]
  • Quantifying spatial and temporal patterns of forest disturbance over a quarter century and across three distinct regions of the US   --   (Katelyn Dolan, George Hurtt, Chang Huang, Jeffrey Masek, Justin Fisk, Ralph Dubayah)   [abstract]
  • Integrating Lidar Canopy Height and Landsat-based Forest Disturbance History with Ecosystem Demography Model for Carbon Change Estimation, A Case in Charles County, Maryland   --   (Maosheng Zhao, Chengquan Huang, George Hurtt, Ralph Dubayah, Justin Fisk, Anu Swatantran, Wenli Huang, Hao Tang)   [abstract]

2013 NASA Terrestrial Ecology Science Team Meeting Poster(s)

  • Using NASA Remote Sensing and Models to Advance Integrated Assessments of Coupled Human-Forest Dynamics for North America   --   (George Hurtt, Jae Edmonds, Ralph Dubayah, Louise Chini, Steve Frolking, Ritvik Sahajpal, Katelyn Dolan, Steve Flanagan, Anthony Janetos)   [abstract]
  • High-Resolution Ecosystem Modeling as part of Robust Carbon Monitoring System   --   (Maosheng Zhao, George Hurtt, Ralph Dubayah, Justin Fisk, Amanda Armstrong, Anuradha Swatantran, Naira Pinto, Oliver Rourke, Steve Flanagan, Chengquan Huang)   [abstract]

2011 NASA Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Joint Science Workshop Poster(s)

  • Sensitivity of Vegetation Structure and Dynamics to Climate Data   --   (Steve Flanagan, George Hurtt, Justin Fisk, Oliver Rourke, Louise Parsons Chini, Amanda Armstrong)   [abstract]
  • iED: Linking ecological and socio-economic models for improved integrated assessments of climate mitigation and adaptation   --   (George Hurtt, Jae Edmonds, Justin Fisk, Ben Bond-Lamberty, Yannick LePage, Louise Chini, Allison Thomson, Ralph Dubayah, Anthony Janetos, Steve Frolking, Doug Morton, Jeff Chambers)   [abstract]
  • Linking Models and Data on Vegetation Structure: Implications for Predictions of North American Carbon Stocks and Fluxes   --   (George Hurtt, Justin Fisk, Ralph Dubayah, Steve Flanagan, Katelyn Dolan, Michael Lefsky, Naiara Pinto, Hank Shugart, Marc Simard)   [abstract]

2010 NASA Terrestrial Ecology Science Team Meeting Poster(s)

  • Integration of long term Landsat observations with DESDynI measurements for monitoring terrestrial carbon fluxes within and beyond the DESDynI mission   --   (Chengquan Huang, Ralph Dubayah, George Hurtt, Jeffrey G Masek, Samuel N Goward)   [abstract]
  • Harmonization of Global Land-Use Scenarios for the Period 1500-2100 for the 5th IPCC Assessment   --   (Louise Parsons Chini, George Hurtt, Steve Frolking, Richard Betts, Johannes Feddema, Gunther Fischer, Kees Klein Goldewijk, Kathy Hibbard, Anthony Janetos, Chris Jones, Georg Kindermann, Tsuguki Kinoshita, Keywan Riahi, Elena Shevliakova, Steve Smith, Elke Stehfest, Allison Thomson, Peter Thornton, Detlef van Vuuren, Yingping Wang)   [abstract]

More details may be found in the following project profile(s):