6th ABoVE Science Team Meeting Summary:

The 6th meeting of the ABoVE Science Team was held virtually from June 1st-4th 2020. The meeting was originally slated to take place in Fairbanks, Alaska the week of May 11th, 2020. However, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the meeting was reconfigured into a virtual format. In an attempt to accommodate the growing demands on science team members' time during this new telework environment (e.g., on-line teaching, child care, home schooling, etc.), the meeting was moved to take place after the spring semester had concluded at most academic institutions. In addition, the meeting was structured into two 1.5 hour blocks of presentations each day separated by a one hour break, which allowed participants to take a break and care of personal business as needed.

The meeting was held over WebEx. The virtual environment allowed significantly more participation than previous ABoVE Science Team meetings because there were no physical space constraints. Indeed, although participation was variable, it remained high throughout each day of the meeting, with the number of participants logged into the meeting averaging around 140 each day, with the maximum nearing 190 people. Attendees included individuals from NASA and other US federal agencies, Alaska, and a variety of Canadian territorial and federal agencies. There were also many people from US, Canadian, and European universities. The goal was to collectively assess the latest in ABoVE science via a series of talks by science team members, partner presentations, as well as virtual posters and breakout sessions. Many of the 100 virtual poster presentations were led by students and postdocs. The virtual poster session was well received by all participants and allows for long term availability of all the posters through the AGU archive, another of the positive benefits of having a virtual meeting. The posters can be viewed in this on-line iPoster gallery and recordings from the plenary presentations are now available on the agenda.

Results from the 68 NASA-funded projects as well as 23 affiliated projects were discussed via the invited plenary and partner presentations as well as during the iPoster session. In addition, the 19 ABoVE Phase-2 PIs gave brief status updates on their projects, with particular attention given to the impacts the COVID-19 related delays in the airborne campaign and field season are having on currently funded projects. There were also brief reports on synthesis activities from the various ABoVE Science Team working groups. These included presentations on cross cutting activities related to Arctic vegetation dynamics, gaps in our understanding of the role snow plays in Arctic and boreal ecosystems, fire and insect disturbance, ecosystem structure, carbon cycle dynamics and integrated ecosystem modeling, among others. These synthesis activities have already resulted in several publications in high profile journals, with many more publications planned. Partner presentations nicely demonstrated the engagement of multiple US, federal, and international partners by providing overviews of existing and potential synergies with programs like NGEE-Arctic and NEON, as well as with agencies such as POLAR Canada, the Canadian Forest Service, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. All presentations can be downloaded from the online meeting agenda (no login required). Indeed, it was clear that ABoVE continues to be innovative, productive and impactful, with >233 publications, several of which are in top tier journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS. ABoVE also continues to broaden its impact via increased sharing of datasets through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC).

Finally, we sincerely thank all of those who participated in the meeting, and especially the members of the organizing committee whose efforts led to an extremely productive and rewarding meeting. We very much look forward to seeing all of you in Fairbanks in 2021 for the 7th ABoVE Science Team Meeting!

Virtual Happy Hour

ABoVE Code of Conduct and Land Acknowledgement

1. Code of Conduct ABoVE leadership and the staff of the Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Office are committed to providing safe, welcoming, and productive environments in the field and the lab, and at meetings and conferences, and have adopted the American Geophysical Union Scientific Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct “rejects discrimination and harassment by any means, based on factors such as ethnic or national origin, race, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, age, or economic class.” This Code also includes information on expected behavior, unacceptable behavior, and consequences. If you have any concerns or need an ally contact: Peter Griffith, Libby Larson, Liz Hoy, Leanne Kendig, Sarah Sackett, or Mike Falkowski. To formally file a complaint with NASA, consult Harassment and Discrimination Reporting for NASA Employees, Contractors and Grantee Beneficiaries.

2. Land Acknowledgment We would like to acknowledge that the circumpolar Arctic is the home to many different Indigenous Peoples. We are reminded of their deep connection to this region, and our role as researchers to work towards reconciliation with our Indigenous partners. Wherever you may be reading this newsletter, please join us in honoring the place-based knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and recognizing their ancestral and contemporary stewardship of their homelands.

ASTM6 Survey Feedback

Sixty-two ST members responded to the post-ASTM survey and most (97%) agreed or strongly agreed that the information presented in the ABoVE progress reports was relevant for their work and/or addressed their research interests, and a similar proportion found the online poster session worked well for learning more about the presented activities. Suggested areas for improvement included better capability to engage with the poster authors as well as with colleagues during the breakout sessions. Interestingly, 64% of respondents preferred an in-person meeting over a virtual meeting whereas 10% preferred the virtual meeting (13% had no preference and 13% did not respond to the question). Finally, 40 respondents provided feedback on what they liked best about the meeting and 36 provided thoughts on how future ASTMs could be improved. The organizing committee of the next ASTM will be carefully considering all feedback to make the meeting, whether virtual or in-person, the most effective and productive we possibly can. Thanks to all who participated in the meeting and the survey!

TWO ABoVE AGU Sessions

Abstract deadline is 29 July.

Field Support Brief

In 2019 the ABoVE Logistics Support Team assisted over 13 NASA funded field teams numerous times out of the Fairbanks Logistics Support Office. In addition, a handful of teams were supported out of our shared Arctic Response/ABoVE Offices in Edmonton and Yellowknife. The Logistics Support Team hosted and/or taught a variety of safety training courses, including Wilderness First Aid, Northern Environment Field Safety, ATV safety, and snowmachine courses. There were a wide range of levels of logistics support. Some support efforts consisted of simply providing online bear and field safety courses, a satellite phone, and bear spray to teams. Other efforts involved remote support of helicopter and snowmachine campaigns including expedition planning and field staff support. Teams accessed research sites by floatplane, helicopter, 4x4 truck, ATV, and snowmachines throughout Alaska and parts of Canada. Some of these teams were on extended campaigns in remote locations, while others were operating out of Fairbanks and travelling daily to research sites. There was a coordinated field campaign during the Airborne overflights, but field activities took place throughout the entirety of 2019. At this time, a majority of the planned 2020 field work has been postponed to 2021.

2013-2015 Site Visit Photos

2016-2017 Field Work Photos

2018-2019 Field Work Photos

Sites and Products for ABoVE – please update!

In order to plan a coordinated campaign, ABoVE investigators have asked to know where and when each other are working, and what data products are being created and archived. There are tools on the ABoVE website (and tool tutorials) so that investigators can update their information. See an overview of the ABoVE data workflow here.

Update Your Sites and Measurements!
Although many of you are not going out in the field this summer, some of you may have automated measurements that are still being collected. ABoVE investigators who plan to collect field data in 2020 and 2021 should update their data collection events using the ABoVE Sites and Measurements Tool. View our video tutorial.

Update Your Data Products! 
ABoVE investigators should use the ABoVE Project Profile Update Tool to create metadata records describing planned data products for publication, integration, synthesis, and modeling. View our video tutorial. There are currently 287 products listed in our database (https://above.nasa.gov/profiles_/above_products.html).

Archive Your Data! 
Archiving (and thus publishing) data is an essential part of science team membership (see ABoVE Data Policy). All data products created with NASA funding will be archived at a NASA archive center (e.g. ORNL DAAC). When you submit data, ORNL DAAC staff will perform quality checks on the data, write documentation, and assign a permanent DOI and citation to your data, allowing you to track its re-use. A guide to publishing data is available, as is information on Best Practices for Data Management. Start your submission to the ORNL DAAC today.

Data Usage
Published ABoVE data archived at ORNL DAAC have been accessed a total of 20,273 times by a total of 5,077 unique users (identified by IP address) since January 2015. A total of 112 field, airborne, and modeled data products from ABoVE research are now available from the ORNL DAAC. Browse ABoVE data at the ORNL DAAC. As a reminder, the LVIS data collected for ABoVE are available from NSIDC DAAC and UAVSAR data are archived at the Alaska Satellite Facility.

The three most-downloaded ABoVE datasets in calendar year 2020 are:

The three most-downloaded ABoVE datasets of all time are:

Have you started using the ABoVE Grid yet?

Everyone creating geospatial data products should facilitate synthesis and modeling by using the ABoVE: Study Domain and Standard Reference Grids, Version 2 has been downloaded 241 times in 2020, and 857 times since the campaign started. If you haven’t taken a look already, please check it out now!

ABoVE study domain and reference grids

Recently-published ABoVE data:

Browse ABoVE data at the ORNL DAAC

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

Planet Data for NASA-funded Investigators

The NASA Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition Program (CSDAP) is now making some Planet, Spire, Maxar (formerly DigitalGlobe) and DESIS data available for NASA-funded investigators.

More information on the CSDAP program can be found here: https://earthdata.nasa.gov/esds/small-satellite-data-buy-program

Information on the available products can be found here: https://earthdata.nasa.gov/esds/small-satellite-data-buy-program/commercial-datasets

For Access: Contact CSDAP (csdap@uah.edu) and provide your name, email address, and pertinent information (grant number, contract number, etc.) to indicate that you are authorized to use the data. Find more access information here: https://earthdata.nasa.gov/esds/small-satellite-data-buy-program/faq-commercial-data#planet

New Wetlands Working Group

During ASTM6, a number of investigators met to discuss wetland issues across projects. Now, that group has expanded into an ABoVE Working Group. The Wetlands Working Group's purpose is to coordinate, collaborate, and understand the research happening in the ABoVE domain related to wetland mapping, monitoring, and process modeling. This working group will strive to identify common field and remote sensing methodologies and techniques in order to efficiently pool data and other resources and coordinate product development. Objectives of the working group are to synthesize data to understand regional conditions and change related to wetlands and to identify data and research gaps. For more information, check out the website here >> .

NASA Stories and Media Coverage

Featured Story: Lasers and Bubbles: Solving the Arctic’s Methane Puzzle

Phil Hanke (left) and Katey Walter Anthony determine if an Alaskan lake contains methane by igniting the gas flux. Credits: University of Alaska Fairbanks/Nicholas Hasson

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

View NASA Stories

View Media Coverage

Yukon Webinar Series

The ABoVE Office has been hosting an occasional webinar series focused on environmental and climate science topics in the Yukon Territory. The webinars provide a venue to share data and information about ABoVE research with the broader community, and for all to learn about other research and activities in the territory/region. We welcome presentations from the ABoVE Science Team and other relevant research groups. If you’re interested in presenting or getting on the distribution list to be notified of future events, please contact Libby Larson. Prior webinar presentations can be found here: https://above.nasa.gov/yukon_webinars.html.

ABoVE Featured Publication

Myers-Smith, I. H., Kerby, J. T., Phoenix, G. K., Bjerke, J. W., Epstein, H. E., Assmann, J. J., John, C., Andreu- Hayles, L., Angers-Blondin, S., Beck, P.S.A., Berner, L.T., Bhatt, U.S., Bjorkman, A.D., Blok, D., Bryn, A., Christiansen, C.T., Cornelissen, J.H.C., Cunliffe, A.M., Elmendorf, S.C., Forbes, B.C., Goetz, S.J., Hollister, R., De Jong, R. Loranty, M.M., Macias-Fauria, M., Maseyk, K., Normand, S., Olofsson, J., Parker, T.C., Parmentier, F.W., Post, E., Schaepman-strub, G., Stordal, F., Sullivan, P.F., Thomas, H.J.D., Tømmervik, H., Treharne, R.,Tweedie, C.E., Walker, D.A., Wilmking, M. (2020). Complexity revealed in the greening of the Arctic. Nature Climate Change, 10, 106–117. doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0688-1

New Projects

5 New ABoVE Projects Joined in 2020

View Projects

New Publications

27 New Publications in 2020

View Publications

Science Cloud Data

Multiple large data collections available

Go to Data

Data Products

10 New Data Products

View Data Products

ABoVE Jobs

Multiple job openings with ABoVE Projects. If you would like to post a position, email support@cce.nasa.gov.

View Job Openings


  • 7th ABoVE Science Team Meeting
    May TBD 2021
    Fairbanks, AK

  • Research to Operations (R2O) workshop: Using ABoVE Data in Fire and Resource Management
    May TBD 2021
    Fairbanks, AK

View ABoVE Meetings and Events