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 Water and Carbon Cycles: People
Erika Podest's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 300-233H
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

Erika Podest

Dr. Erika Podest is a scientist with the Water and Carbon Cycles Group in JPL's Earth Science Division and Visiting Associate Researcher in the Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering (JIFRESSE) at UCLA. Her research focuses on using Earth observing satellites, particularly microwave sensors, for characterizing and monitoring wetland ecosystems and seasonal freeze/thaw dynamics in the northern high latitudes as related to the global carbon and water cycles and climate change. She is working on the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, a NASA Earth observing satellite that launched on Jan. 31 2015, which will improve our understanding of Earth's water and carbon cycles and our ability to manage water resources.

  • Ph.D., Applied Physics Specializing in Remote Sensing and Image Processing - University of Dundee, Scotland, UK
  • M.Sc., Applied Physics Specializing in Remote Sensing and Image Processing - University of Dundee, Scotland, UK
  • B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering, Minor in Mathematics and Aviation Safety - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona, USA

Research Interests

Effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems particularly wetlands and the boreal high latitudes using spaceborne microwave remote sensing.


CARVE (Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment) Icon CARVE (Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment)
CARVE is an airborne mission to measure CO2 and CH4 fluxes from Alaska.

JIFRESSE is a scientific collaboration between UCLA and JPL to improve understanding and to develop future projections about global climate change.

SERVIR aims to advance and transition NASA capabilities towards critical regions around the world.

SMAP - Soil Moisture Active & Passive Icon SMAP - Soil Moisture Active & Passive
SMAP, launched in 2015, provides global measurements of soil moisture and other hydrologic variables for a variety of science and applications benefits.

Professional Experience
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
    • Scientist, Water and Carbon Cycles Group (2009-present)
    • Caltech Postdoctoral Scholar (2006-2008)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, SMAPVEX12 Field Campaign Team (2013)
  • JPL Team Award (800), Water Cycle Workshop (2013)
  • JPL Team Award (324), SMAPVEX12 Field Campaign (2013)
  • JPL Team Award (324), Water Cycle Workshop (2012)
  • JPL Mariner Award, Representing NASA at COP-17 (2012)
  • JPL Team Award, CARVE (2010)

Selected Publications
  1. Podest, E., K.C. McDonald, and J.S. Kimball, 2014. Multisensor microwave sensitivity to freeze/thaw dynamics across a complex boreal landscape. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 52, no. 11.
  2. Thompson, D. R, M. de la Torre Juarez, C. M. Barker, J. Holeman, S. Lundeen, S. Mulligan, T. H. Painter, E. Podest, F. C. Seidel, E. Ustinov, 2013. Airborne imaging spectroscopy to monitor the evolution of urban mosquito microhabitats. Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 137.
  3. Bohn, T. J., E. Podest, R. Schroeder, N. Pinto, K. C. McDonald, M. Glagolev, I. Filippov, S. Maksyutov, M. Heimann, and D. P. Lettenmaier, 2013: The effects of surface moisture heterogeneity on wetland carbon fluxes in the West Siberian Lowland, Biogeosciences Discussions, 10, 6517-6562, doi:10.5194/bgd-10-6517-2013.
  4. Bateni, S. M., S. A. Margulis, E. Podest, and K. McDonald, 2015. Characterizing Snowpack and the Freeze–Thaw State of Underlying Soil via Assimilation of Multifrequency Passive/Active Microwave Data: A Case Study (NASA CLPX 2003). IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 173-189.
  5. Bateni S.M., C. Huang, S. Margulis, E. Podest, and K. McDonald, 2013. Feasibility of Characterizing Snowpack and the Freeze-Thaw State of Underlying Soil Using Multifrequency Active/Passive Microwave Data. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, vol. 51, no. 7.
  6. Schroeder, R., M.A. Rawlins, K. McDonald, E. Podest, R. Zimmermann, and M. Kueppers. 2010. "Satellite microwave remote sensing of North Eurasian inundation dynamics: development of coarse-resolution products and comparison with high-resolution synthetic aperture radar data", Environmental Research Letters 5, 015003 (7pp), doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/015003.
  7. Gao H., T. Bohn, E. Podest, K. McDonald, D. Lettenmaier, 2011. On the Causes of the Shrinking of Lake Chad. Environmental Res. Lett. 6 034021.
  8. Rawlins, M.A., M. Steele, M. M. Holland, J. C. Adam, J. E. Cherry, J. A. Francis, P. Ya. Groisman, L. D. Hinzman, T. G. Huntington, D. L. Kane, J. S. Kimball, R. Kwok, R. B. Lammers, C. M. Lee, D. P. Lettenmaier, K. C. McDonald, E. Podest, J. W. Pundsack, B. Rudels, M. C. Serreze, A. Shiklomanov, Ø. Skagseth, T. J. Troy, C. J. Vörösmarty, M. Wensnahan, E. F. Wood, R. Woodgate, D. Yang, K. Zhang, T. Zhang, 2010. "Analysis of the Arctic System for Freshwater Cycle Intensification: Observations and Experiments". Journal of Climate, 23, 5715-5737.
  9. Whitcomb, J., M. Moghaddam, K. McDonald, J. Kellndorfer, and E. Podest, 2008. "Wetlands Map of Alaska Using L-Band Radar Satellite Imagery", Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 54-72, February 2009.
  10. Bohn, T., D. Lettenmaier, K. Sathulur, L. C. Bowling, E. Podest, and K. McDonald, 2007. "Methane Emissions from Western Siberian Wetlands: Heterogeneity and Sensitivity to Climate Change", Environmental Research Letters, 2 (4), No. 045015, ISSN 1748-9326.
  11. Podest, E. and S. Saatchi, 2002. "Application of Multiscale Texture in Classifying JERS-1 Data over Tropical Vegetation", International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2002, 23(7) 1487-1506.
  12. Saatchi, S., B. Nelson, E. Podest, and J. Holt, 2000. "Mapping Land Cover Types in the Amazon Basin using 1 km JERS-1 Mosaic", International Journal of Remote Sensing, 21:(6-7) 1201-1234.

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