Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): David Schimel; Fabian D. Schneider; Anthony Bloom; Kevin Bowman; Kerry Cawse-Nicholson; Calyton Elder; Antonio Ferraz; Joshua Fisher; Glynn Hulley; Junjie Liu; Troy Magney; Victoria Meyer; Charles Miller; Nicholas Parazoo; Ryan Pavlick; Podest Erika; Saatchi Sassan; Natasha Stavros; Michael Keller; Townsend Philip; Zheng Ting
    Date: 2019
    Source: New Phytologist
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
    PDF: Download Publication  (5.0 MB)


    Global ecology – the study of the interactions among the Earth’s ecosystems, land, atmosphere and oceans – depends crucially on global observations: this paper focuses on space-based observations of global terrestrial ecosystems. Early global ecology relied on an extrapolation of detailed site-level observations, using models of increasing complexity. Modern global ecology has been enabled largely by vegetation indices (greenness) from operational space-based imagery but current capabilities greatly expand scientific possibilities. New observations from spacecraft in orbit allowed an estimation of gross carbon fluxes, photosynthesis, biomass burning, evapotranspiration and biomass, to create virtual eddy covariance sites in the sky. Planned missions will reveal the dimensions of the diversity of life itself. These observations will improve our understanding of the global productivity and carbon storage, land use, carbon cycleclimate feedback, diversity productivity relationships and enable improved climate forecasts. Advances in remote sensing challenge ecologists to relate information organised by biome and species to new data arrayed by pixels and develop theory to address previously unobserved scales.

    Publication Notes

    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Schimel, David; Schneider, Fabian D.; JPL Carbon and Ecosystem Participants. 2019. Flux towers in the sky: global ecology from space. New Phytologist. 114: 13-.


    Google Scholar


    Ecology, Vegetation Indices, Carbon, Climate.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page