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Estimating Spatio-Temporal Variability in Evapotranspiration in Interior Alaska Using Field Measurements, Modeling and Remote Sensing University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute/NASA Science Mission Directorate

The magnitude and rapidity of ecological and hydrological changes due to climate warming are so dramatic in interior Alaska that the effects can be witnessed in a single lifetime! Alaska’s NASA EPSCoR project to map and monitor evapotranspiration (ET), a critical component of Alaska’s water cycle, is therefore strategically planned to capture these changes. What may seem like a simple change to human eye is in fact caused by many entwined processes. University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) faculty and students partnered with researchers from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the U. S. Department of Agriculture to understand the underlying processes causing these changes. The project resulted in establishing two permanent field sites in Alaska’s boreal forests with instrumented flux towers to measure essential climate data; hiring project post-doctoral fellow Dr. Jordi Cristóbal as a research faculty member at UAF; graduating Ph.D. student Derek Starkenburg who will continue as a post-doctoral fellow in educational research related to climate systems; training an undergraduate student, Patrick Graham, who will soon start graduate studies at UAF; disseminating new data and research findings through the project website and publications; fostering new research partnerships with federal and state agencies; supporting preparatory science for NASA satellite missions such as SMAP and HyspIRI; and facilitating new research funding, most significant of which is a major research instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation that has helped to establish the only airborne hyperspectral facility in the State of Alaska that will further promote research in ecology and resource exploration in Alaska. For more information check out and www. ; or contact the Principal Investigators Denise Thorsen ( - managing PI) and Anupma Prakash ( - technical PI).

Project researcher, Dr. Jordi Cristóbal training undergraduate student Patrick Graham in setting up field equipment used to collect calibration and validation (CalVal) data. Airborne and satellite missions, as well as local and regional scale surface energy balance models that use input data from NASA satellite missions require such CalVal data for quality control and for quantitative studies. Photo by Meghan Murphy, UAF.

Prof. Anupma Prakash, Science PI, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute

David L. Toll, NASA Technical Monitor, Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15



EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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