Integrating new satellite observations from SMAP and OCO-2 for analyzing terrestrial water and carbon connections

Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:40 PM
John S Kimball1, Natasha Stavros2 and David Schimel2, (1)The University of Montana, Flathead Lake Biological Station, Polson, MT, United States, (2)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Water and Carbon Cycles group, Pasadena, CA, United States
The successful inauguration of both NASA OCO-2 (Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2) and SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) missions, and continuing operations from other flagship Earth Observing systems (e.g. MODIS) provide new opportunities to improve understanding of global carbon and water cycle connections over land. Carbon and water cycles interact such that soil moisture and frozen temperatures constrain net ecosystem productivity and terrestrial sources and sinks for atmospheric CO2. OCO-2 and SMAP will have overlapping global observations beginning in 2015. The combined measurements from these sensors provide complimentary information linking top-down atmospheric CO2 measurements with bottom-up carbon fluxes and underlying environmental controls.

SMAP will consist of a satellite L-band radar and radiometer suite designed for global monitoring of soil moisture and freeze-thaw dynamics. SMAP science objectives include improving understanding of processes linking terrestrial water, energy and carbon cycles, and quantifying the net carbon flux in boreal landscapes. SMAP products include model enhanced estimates of net ecosystem CO2 flux (NEE) and component carbon fluxes for productivity and respiration; targeted accuracy for NEE is defined at the level of tower (FLUXNET) eddy covariance measurement based CO2 fluxes.

OCO-2 has similar carbon science objectives and complimentary observations to SMAP, including canopy fluorescence (SIF) and atmosphere total column CO2 concentrations (XCO2) derived with unprecedented sampling and precision. An initial framework for integrating and analyzing these data is presented in the context of planned post-launch field campaigns and community carbon model synthesis activities. Example research applications are presented using available satellite data prior to SMAP and OCO-2 operations. Activities include using SIF (a proxy for canopy photosynthesis) with MODIS FPAR and SMAP data to improve understanding of canopy structural and functional phenology attributes. Also discussed are research priorities and next steps for regional experiments, benchmarking studies and carbon model inversions linking top down atmosphere CO2 observations with bottom-up C-fluxes and environmental controls that build upon existing community activities.