Sensing Forest Water Dynamics from Space: Towards Predicting the Earth System Response to Droughts

October 14 - 18, 2019
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

In the last two decades, severe droughts and extreme climate events have caused widespread tree mortality across many forest biomes globally, causing profound effects on the function of ecosystems and their services in terms of water and carbon regulation of the Earth System.  Hot and dry conditions and increasing atmospheric demand for water from vegetation have been exceeding the capacity of the plants to pump water from soil to leaves, leading to the collapse of plant hydraulic systems.  Large-scale tree mortality and the concomitant shifts in the land carbon and energy balance are expected to lead to large biogeochemical and biophysical climatic feedbacks.  However,  process level understanding of tree mortality and quantification of the links between carbon and water fluxes and feedback mechanisms have been limited by the lack of vegetation measurements at tree to landscape scales. Spaceborne observation of water in forested vegetation will allow us to address challenging questions about the fate of forests under water and heat stress, including  impacts on carbon and water fluxes. 

The focus of this study is to greatly increase our current  capacity to understand and predict the response of forest ecosystems to droughts and links between water and carbon processes in the earth’s biosphere.  Our goal is to identify space-borne observational approaches, based on recent breakthroughs in remote sensing measurements of vegetation water content as well as related vegetation properties and ecosystem modelling.  Focusing on recent results from in-situ studies, satellite observations of large-scale water stress in forest ecosystems, and improvements in the  Earth System Models (ESM), the workshop will have the challenging task of identifying new measurement approaches and observational frameworks for future research programs and Earth Observing (EO) missions.

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Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (3 pages pdf, 148KB) that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Please note that with enough notice, you can reserve rooms for attendees at the Athenaeum, which has been recognized as a Platinum Club of America. Newly refurbished, it is conveniently located on the Caltech Campus. Contact Janet Seid if you would like to check the availability of this option.

Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Wilson Avenue. Turn right into the North Wilson Structure and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosk located inside the North Wilson Structure or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in an unmarked spot in the North Wilson Structure located on Wilson Avenue.

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