October 10, 2019

Neil Armstrong Distinguished Visiting Fellow lecture: Dara Entekhabi

Event Date: October 10, 2019
Hosted By: AAE
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Location: PHYS 110
Priority: Yes
School or Program: Aeronautics and Astronautics
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Land Water, Energy and Carbon Cycles Coupling Diagnosed from Remotely Sensed Global Observations from NASA's SMAP Mission

Dara Entekhabi
Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Chair Professor, Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Over land the three main cycles that govern the climate and metabolism of the Earth system – the water, energy and carbon cycles – are strongly coupled together. Disturbances in one cycle propagate to the others through this coupling. Shortcomings in the characterization of this coupling are a major source of error and divergence among projections of future climate based on Earth System models. A variable that controls the degree of coupling among the three main cycles is soil moisture. Soil moisture affects water and heat loss as well as vegetation transpiration and soil respiration. In this talk global maps of surface soil moisture recently obtained from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, together with data from other sensors, are used to diagnose the degree of coupling in different environments. The soil moisture observations are made by. The data are used to address science questions in global water cycle dynamics and global ecology where soil moisture affects the rates of evaporation and transpiration.

Dara Entekhabi is the Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Chair Professor in the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His areas of research activity include Earth remote sensing, climate and water cycle dynamics, land-atmosphere interaction and boundary-layer processes. Professor Entekhabi is a fellow in the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Geophysical Union (AMS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is an member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Professor Dara Entekahbi is also the Science Team Leader of the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission that was launched on January 31, 2015 by NASA.