This newsletter was distributed to members of the ABoVE community November 16, 2018.

ABoVE Science Team,

It has been almost 6 months since our last newsletter and it seems the time has flown by.  That is partly because we collectively had another busy field season, much of the Science Team was engaged in Phase 2 proposals, and progress on many other elements of ABoVE leadership and management has been relentlessly ongoing.  Reflecting back, some of those “other things” include another season of airborne data acquisitions (see report by Chip and Peter in this newsletter), bringing a new NASA HQ Program Scientist into the ABoVE fold (see blurb by Mike Falkowski in this newsletter), planning for mini-workshops with stakeholders in the Yukon and NWT (see update by Libby in this newsletter), and continuing to summarize “What We’re Learning” (WWL) from ABoVE research.  We will provide another update on WWL in the Spring newsletter but would like to again thank everyone who contributed to this effort.  Among other things, input from many of you has been used in presentations by the heads of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, including the Earth Science Division Director (Mike Freilich) and the Associate Director for Research (Jack Kaye).

In the interest of keeping everyone appraised of Science Team activities as well as its size and composition, we have produced a summary available on the ABoVE website.  We note there are many ways to slice categorization of the Science Team, but suffice it to say ABoVE involves hundreds of scientists, hundreds more research assistants, associates, postdocs and students, and yet hundreds more interested and engaged stakeholders who both follow and actively participate in ABoVE research.  Check out the numbers for yourself here.  Related, coordination with ABoVE partners continues with periodic bursts of intense activity.  Most recently, we coordinated with Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) on a report entitled Pushing remote sensing capacity to aid climate change research in Canada’s North, which will be available later this year.

With so many researchers involved, the number of publications coming from ABoVE research is substantial.  Many of these publications are appearing in high profile journals and receiving well-deserved media attention.  You can see a summary of ABoVE publications on the web site here.  It is also clear from the monthly Working Group Lead telecons that the number of anticipated publications is substantially ramping up as we near the end of Phase 1 and prepare for initiation of Phase 2 activities and projects (with selections to be announced in the Spring).

In addition to publications, there have been numerous presentations at professional meetings and elsewhere including another bevvy of presentations at this year’s AGU Fall Meeting, with 40 presentations in 5 oral sessions and 60 posters in one poster session (see session details here, all focused on The Resilience and Vulnerability of Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems to Climate Change.  We look forward to seeing many of you there and extend special thanks to the session organizers (Michelle Mack, Abhishek Chatterjee, Natalie Boelman, Peter Griffith and Scott).

Finally, for now, we note that planning for the 5th ABoVE Science Team (ASTM5) meeting has begun.  An organizing committee has been formed and a series of telecons has been scheduled over the coming months.  Due to circumstances beyond our control we had to move the dates of ASTM5 from the first week of April to May 20th - 23rd.  We apologize for any inconvenience this causes but we expect to have 1-2 representatives of each Phase 1 project present at the meeting and we hope to be able to have brief summaries of selected Phase 2 projects introduced as well.  More on ASTM5 will be forthcoming as planning progresses.  As always, please contact us with any issues you may have and, just as importantly, keep us posted on exciting new advances and ABoVE supported publications.

Scott, Chip, Peter, Hank and Mike


NASA Group Achievement Award

Chris Scolese and Peter Griffith

The ABoVE Airborne Science Campaign Team earned the NASA Group Achievement Award "for successful airborne science campaigns to characterize the vulnerability and resilience of North American Arctic and boreal ecosystems to environmental change."  Peter Griffith accepted the award on behalf of the team during the NASA Agency Honors Awards Ceremony held at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on October 24th, 2018.  Awards were presented by NASA Goddard Center Director Chris Scolese.

We would also like to congratulate those who earned Individual Awards:

James Blair won the 2018 Moe I. Schneebaum Memorial Award for Engineering, for his dedication of 25+ years in advancing laser altimetry for NASA's Earth and planetary science missions.

Michelle Hofton won the Exceptional Public Achievement Medal, for her excellence as science and field operations lead during the Land Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) 2017 ABoVE and IceBridge field campaigns.
More Information

Are you looking for citizen science opportunities to enhance your ABoVE science?

The ABoVE Student and Citizen Science working group is discussing how to support ABoVE scientists and communities.  The GLOBE Program has recently updated the GLOBE Observer mobile app to include a new tool called “Land Cover - Adopt a Pixel”.  Launched in September 2018, participants use their smartphones to take six photos of the landscape and can add field notes about the types of land cover.  The app data is designed to support remote sensing applications. Scientists can use the collected information as reference photos or direct data to improve the mapping, measuring, monitoring, and modeling of Arctic ecosystems.  The GLOBE Observer science team encourages ABoVE scientists to begin exploring the new citizen science land cover data that can be visualized on a world map here or downloaded here.  If you have ideas for incorporating citizen science consider joining this working group >>. A webinar is being planned for early-2019.

The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play. Once downloaded, data can be collected while offline. An interactive tutorial within the app will teach you how to make observations. To learn more, follow GLOBE Observer on Facebook @nasa.globeobserver, Twitter @NASAGO, or visit the GLOBE Observer web site.

GLOBE Observer is part of The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program, an international science and education program that provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment. In addition to land cover, citizen scientists can use GLOBE Observer to collect and report observations on clouds and mosquito habitats.

Holli Kohl, GLOBE Observer coordinator; Chair of the ABoVE Student and Citizen Science Working Group,
Peder Nelson, science lead for land cover in GLOBE Observer,
Dr. Helen Amos, senior research scientist for GLOBE Observer,

More Information

Get to know: Michael Falkowski
Program Scientist in the Terrestrial Ecology Program


Dr. Michael Falkowski recently started as a Program Scientist in the Terrestrial Ecology Program at NASA Headquarters where part of his duties will include supporting the planning and implementation of ABoVE. Dr. Falkowski joins NASA from Colorado State University where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Falkowski has conducted research in conjunction with a variety of governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations to solve problems in ecosystem science and applied natural resource conservation and management, primarily through the analysis of remotely-sensed and other geospatial data. This research has largely focused on characterizing vegetation composition, structure, and function and associated dynamics across a variety of ecosystem types and spatial extents. In addition to research, Dr. Falkowski has taught numerous courses in remote sensing, geospatial science, and forest ecology. Dr. Falkowski has previously held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota and Michigan Technological University and was also a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Research Fellow with the Canadian Forest Service at the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria, British Columbia.


2018 ABoVE Airborne Continuity Measurements

During summer 2018, ABoVE successfully completed airborne continuity measurement campaigns with the imaging spectrometer (AVIRIS-NG) and L-band synthetic aperture radar. These flights were intended to create time series for ABoVE researchers, and, in the case of AVIRIS-NG, to overfly key locations that were not obtained during the 2017 ABoVE Airborne Campaign.

The AVIRIS-NG campaign took place from 21 July – 18 August. Flights included complete sampling over the three DOE NGEE-Arctic watersheds in the Seward Peninsula (Teller, Council, Kougarok), as well as acquisitions over Interior Alaska, the YK Delta, Noatak, the Deadhorse area, the Yukon Flats, Old Crow Flats, and Scotty Creek NT. The team deployed to Inuvik for two weeks with the hopes of mapping the Mackenzie Delta, but persistent cloud cover prevented any acquisitions.

The L-band SAR campaign began in the Saskatoon, SK area with a tomoSAR acquisition coordinated with the German Aerospace Research Agency (DLR) F-SAR airborne sensor. Subsequent flights covered the Peace-Athabasca Delta, the Great Slave Lake region, sites along the Alaska-Canada Highway, Interior Alaska, the Seward Peninsula, North Slope Alaska, the Mackenzie Delta, and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. A highlight of the campaign was having two First Nations students fly with the team on the Yellowknife sortie. Read the blog post for how this experience changed one student’s perspective on her science and the relationship between NASA and the Sahtu. The team also hosted interviewers from NPR and HBO VICE.

The ABoVE airborne observations were complemented by observations simultaneously collected within the ABoVE domain by G-LiHT, the NEON Airborne Observing Platform, NOAA, DLR’s F-SAR, and Alfred Wegener Institute’s (AWI) AirMETH. ABoVE sensor flight lines and links to the data may be found on the ABoVE web site.

Finally, a paper summarizing the 2017 ABoVE Airborne Campaign has been accepted for the ABoVE special collection in Environmental Research Letters.


More Information

Data Products Update

Submit Your Data to the Archive
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC), funded by NASA, is the designated archive for ABoVE data products. NASA-funded projects must archive their data according to NASA’s data policy and their Cooperative Agreements (see here for details). Affiliated projects are encouraged to archive their data when appropriate at the ORNL DAAC, e.g., when their data have been used in synthesis activities with NASA projects. Submit your data for archival as soon as they are finalized and ready for publication.

The ORNL DAAC has published 64 ABoVE datasets, including airborne, field, and modeling products, since January 2015. So far a total of 43 TB of data have been delivered to 8300+ users, and the data DOIs have been cited in at least 6 papers.
When you submit data, ORNL DAAC staff will perform quality checks on the data, write documentation, and will assign a permanent DOI and citation to your data, allowing you to track its re-use. The DAAC also offers the option to publish data in conjunction with a paper. A guide to publishing data is available. Information on Best Practices for Data Management is also available.

Start your submission to the ORNL DAAC today

Recently-published ABoVE data:

Browse ABoVE data at the ORNL DAAC
ORNL DAAC now offers data browsing by Science Theme, including a special collection of data on Arctic Ecosystems. Over 300 datasets from CARVE, ABoVE, BOREAS and other historical campaigns are available. Browse Arctic Ecosystems Data

See all archived ABoVE data at NASA Data Centers in the Earthdata portal

We Are The Land and the Land Is Us: Indigenous Women Accompany NASA Campaign Studying Climate Change in the Arctic

University environmental science students Joanne Spearman (left) and Mandy Bayha, from the Northwest Territories in Canada flew with Peter Griffith and the NASA 502 Crew. They also conducted field work with Paul Siqueira and Bruce Chapman with NISAR.

Quote from Mandy: "It was an enriching and humbling experience to participate in the ABoVE project. If an organization such as NASA realizes that indigenous traditional knowledge is both valid and important, then I am hopeful for our next generation of indigenous people. I believe that this is the first step in reconciliation: acknowledgment and appreciation."

From left: NASA pilot Terry Luallen, Mandy Bayha, NASA ABoVE Chief Support Scientist Peter Griffith, Joanne Speakman, NASA pilot Troy Asher.
Photo: Stephen M. Fochuk, Yellowknife, Canada

View Mandy's Blog

View Joanne's Blog

NASA Science Mission Directorate Statement on Anti-Harassment

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing concerning an issue that I am relentlessly passionate about: building effective and innovative teams that achieve amazing results for NASA Science. To achieve excellence, we need focus and commitment from the best and brightest of all backgrounds. This goes hand-in-hand with my strong belief in the value and imperative of diversity and inclusion. As the Associate Administrator for Science and as an educator, husband, father and friend, I have personally experienced the value of diversity in my life. On the flip side, I have supported many individuals who have been hurt by harassment, and I have seen the devastating consequences it has had on them and on our community.

We are all responsible for addressing harassment in the workplace. All too often bystanders have failed to intervene, allowing predators to continue harassment for years or even decades.

On September 11, 2018, Administrator Bridenstine signed the "NASA Policy Statement on Antidiscrimination in NASA Conducted or Funded Program, Activities, and Institutions". Let me reinforce the Administrator's policy that discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, sex (including sexual harassment), disability and age is not acceptable.

Harassment is a serious violation of professional ethics, and should be regarded and treated as such within NASA, as well as our contractor and associated academic communities. I would like to encourage everyone related to NASA science to report harassment claims directly utilizing the information provided in the NASA policy statement signed by Administrator Bridenstine. The Administrator's policy can be found here and guidance for filing a harassment complaint can be found here.

As we go forward, I want to be clear that everyone is welcome within NASA Science however, harassing behavior has no place here. Every scientist, engineer and mission support contributor has a right to be treated with respect. NASA strives to create a workplace environment that is free of harassment and discrimination, and we expect every university and contractor with which we do business to strive for the same.

I call on everyone in our community to join me and our team at NASA Science to continually reassert through our words and actions that we are committed to these values.

Thomas H Zurbuchen, Ph.D.
Associate Administrator,
Science Mission Directorate

View NASA policy statement

ABoVE Activities in Yellowknife, NWT, March 5 - 7, 2019

The Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) is planning three special activities for March 2019 in Yellowknife.

March 5th: GNWT is sponsoring a Fire Workshop for scientists and stakeholders. Details will be distributed soon.

March 6th: Leadership from ABoVE, Polar Knowledge Canada, and GNWT will meet with scientists, managers, community members and other stakeholders to discuss ABoVE progress to date, possible future activities, and areas of potential collaboration.

March 7th: The Earth to Sky partnership team is planning to meet with researchers and interested community members to explore developing a few key communication and outreach products. These products will help make climate change research and its implications an easier topic of conversation for NWT communities and visitors. Key messages to consider may include research updates, actions and response strategies, and success stories from across the Arctic.

If you are interested in participating in any of these activities, please contact Libby Larson

Yukon Science Discussion Group

We have started a discussion group on science activities in Yukon, especially as they may overlap with, inform, and be informed by NASA ABoVE activities. Participants include researchers, government and other relevant land managers and stakeholders. We will have a few calls within the next few months, thinking that this relatively minimal time commitment will still be fruitful for information sharing and learning, generating ideas on data needs and usage, possible collaborations, etc.

If you are interested in participating please contact Libby Larson

NASA Stories and Media Coverage

ABoVE has been getting a lot of attention in the Media and covered through NASA's news team. Check out what has been covered!

View NASA Stories

View Media Coverage

New Projects

4 New ABoVE Projects

View Projects

New Publications

27 New Publications in 2018

View Publications

Science Cloud Data

Multiple large data collections available

Go to Data

Data Products

35 New Data Products

View Data Products

ABoVE AGU Sessions of Interest

We’re all looking forward to the many AGU Sessions of Interest. If you have a talk or poster about ABoVE in a session other than "The Resilience and Vulnerability of Arctic and Boreal Ecosystems to Climate Change", please reply to as in the following example:

IN34B-03: Accelerating Science with Cloud Technologies in the ABoVE Science Cloud

We'll compile a list of talks and posters about ABoVE in the other sessions so that we don’t miss out on the chance to hear about your research.

View AGU Sessions

ABoVE Jobs

Multiple job openings with ABoVE Projects. If you would like to post a position, email

View Job Openings


View ABoVE Calendar