NASA HYDROS Earth System Science Pathfinder

Funding Agency:

Principal Investigator:
J.S. Kimball and S.W. Running
MIT; NASA JPL; NASA GSFC; Univ. of Montana; USDA-ARS; Canada CRS and MSB; UCSB; Princeton Univ.
Project Details:

HYDROS is a new $170M NASA satellite mission that will provide the first global observations of daily surface freeze/thaw state and soil moisture conditions, enabling new hydrological applications and new scientific investigations of global change and atmospheric predictability. Soil moisture and freeze/thaw define the land hydrosphere state that regulates land-atmosphere exchanges of water, energy and trace gases. These factors, in turn, regulate regional weather patterns and land ecosystem function. The information provided by HYDROS will likely result in dramatic improvements in regional weather forecast accuracy, regional forest and rangeland health and productivity assessments, and drought and fire hazard mapping.

Currently scheduled for launch in 2009, HYDROS will inaugurate a new generation of satellite active and passive microwave remote sensing measurements of the land surface to enable investigations of water and carbon cycle interactions and associated impacts to regional and global ecosystems. HYDROS builds on a heritage of ground, airborne and satellite measurements that have established the utility of microwave remote sensing for landscape monitoring under night, day and virtually all weather conditions.HYDROS measurements will be merged with data from weather station networks and other satellites in a state-of-the-art land data assimilation system, delivering the most comprehensive view ever of the land hydrosphere.

The HYDROS mission is a multi-institutional and international effort that includes researchers from The University of Montana, NASA, MIT, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Department of Defense, Canadian Space Agency.  Dr. John Kimball and Dr. Steve Running with The University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS) and Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG) are members of the HYDROS mission science team responsible for developing science applications for HYDROS, and developing and implementing HYDROS freeze-thaw detection software and product validation protocols. The University of Montana NASA ESIP is also the primary HYDROS global freeze/thaw data processing facility.

Visit the following web sites for more information about HYDROS and related NTSG science activities