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 Terrestrial Hydrology: People
Thomas  Farr's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 300-323
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

Thomas Farr

  • B.S., Geology, California Institute of Technology (1974)
  • M.S., Geology, California Institute of Technology (1976)
  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Washington (1981)

Research Interests
  • Application of remote sensing techniques and digital topography to understanding of tectonically active mountain ranges and past climate changes
  • Use of remote sensing to find and monitor water resources in arid regions
  • Processes of weathering and erosion of geologic surfaces and how they affect remote sensing and digital topographic data on Earth, Mars, and Titan
  • Development and use of remote sensing techniques in archaeology


ARIA is a collaborative project between JPL and Caltech to develop data systems and data products based on radar, GPS, and seismic observations for hazard science and response.

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, or NISAR, is a satellite radar mission run jointly by NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) that will survey Earth’s changing ecosystems, dynamic surface, and ice masses.

Cassini Icon Cassini
A joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), Cassini is a sophisticated robotic spacecraft orbiting the ringed planet and studying the Saturnian system in detail.

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1975 - present)
    • Deputy Project Scientist, SRTM (1997-2006)
    • Supervisor, Radar Sciences Group, (1990-1992)
    • Research Scientist, Science Division, JPL (1981-present)
  • Engineering Geologist, Moore & Taber, Sacramento, CA (1974-1975)

Selected Awards
  • Groundwater Resources Assoc., Kevin J Neese award to JPL Land Subsidence Monitoring Team, 2019
  • CA Dept. Water Resources, Remote Sensing and Drought Science Service Award, 2015.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award: Subsidence Mapping in California Team, 2016
  • NASA Group Achievement Award: Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, 2001.
  • Election to the Academic Committee of the Laboratory for Remote Sensing Information Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1995.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award: Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C (SIR-C) Mission Operations, 1995.
  • JPL Group Achievement Award: Development and Operation of Public Information Interface for SIR-C, 1995.
  • 1994 Aerospace Laurel Citation by Aviation Week and Space Technology; to science and mission operations teams for SIR-C/X-SAR mission.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award: Application of Shuttle Imaging Radar-B (SIR-B) Data to Earth Science, 1990.
  • Membership in the IEEE Electromagnetics Institute, 1990.
  • Visiting Scholar, National Academy of Sciences, Committee for Scholarly Exchange with the People's Republic of China, 1988.

Selected Publications
  1. Chaussard, E, TG Farr, 2019, A new method for isolating elastic from inelastic deformation in aquifer systems: application to the San Joaquin Valley, CA, in press, Geophys. Res. Lett.
  2. Liu, Z, P Liu, E Massoud, TG Farr, P Lundgren, JS Famiglietti, 2019, Monitoring groundwater change in California’s Central Valley using Sentinel-1 and GRACE observations, in press, Geosciences.
  3. Jeanne, P., T.G. Farr, J. Rutqvist, D. Vasco, 2019, Role of agricultural activity on land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley, California, J. Hydrology, v. 569, p. 462-469, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.11.077
  4. Ojha, C., M. Shirzaei, S. Werth, D.F. Argus, T.G. Farr, 2018, Sustained groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley exacerbated by intense drought periods, Water Resources Research, 54, doi: 10.1029/2017WR022250.
  5. Donnellan, A., J. Parker, C. Milliner, T.G. Farr, M. Glasscoe, Y. Lou, Y. Zheng, B. Hawkins, 2018, UAVSAR and optical analysis of the Thomas fire scar and Montecito debris flows: Case study of methods for disaster response using remote sensing products. Earth and Space Science, 5, 339–347.
  6. Sharma, P., E. Heggy, TG Farr, 2018, Exploring morphology, layering and formation history of linear terrestrial dunes from radar observations: Implications for Titan, Rem. Sens. Env., v. 204, p. 296-307, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2017.10.023
  7. Smith, R.G., R. Knight, J. Chen, J.A. Reeves, H.A. Zebker, T. Farr, Z. Liu, 2017, Estimating the permanent loss of groundwater storage in the southern San Joaquin Valley, California, Water Resour. Res., v. 53, p. 2133–2148, doi:10.1002/ 2016WR019861.
  8. Argus, D.F., F.W. Landerer, D.N. Wiese, H.R. Martens, Y. Fu, J.S. Famiglietti, J. S., B.F Thomas, T.G. Farr, A.W. Moore, M.M. Watkins, 2017, Sustained water loss in California’s mountain ranges during severe drought from 2012 to 2015 inferred from GPS. J. Geophys. Res.: Solid Earth, v. 122, pl 10,559–10,585,
  9. Farr, T.G., S. Owen, P. Rosen, 2016, Satellite radar to observe Earth’s changing surface: Meeting Report, Eos, v. 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO052427.
  10. Farr, T.G., C. Jones, Z. Liu, 2017, Progress Report: Subsidence in California, March 2015 - September 2016, report to CA Dept. Water Resources,
  11. Farr, T.G., Z. Liu, 2015, Monitoring Subsidence Associated with Groundwater Dynamics in the Central Valley of California Using Interferometric Radar, Ch. 24 in Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Water Cycle, Geophysical Monograph 206, V. Lakshmi, ed., American Geophysical Union, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 978-1-118-87203-1.
  12. Farr, T.G., 2011, Remote sensing in geomorphology, Ch. 12 in Handbook of Geomorphology, K. Gregory, A. Goudie eds, SAGE Pub., London, 597 pp.
  13. Farr, T.G., 2010, Groundwater monitoring with InSAR, abs., workshop on Separating Hydrological and Tectonic Signals in Geodetic Observations- IGCP 565, Reno, NV.
  14. Farr, T.G., R. Blom, P. Paillou, 2010, Remote sensing of the hydrologic history of the eastern Sahara, abs., AGU, San Francisco.
  15. Paillou, P., S. Lopez, T. Farr, A. Rosenqvist, 2010, Mapping subsurface geology in Sahara using L-band SAR: First results from the ALOS/PALSAR imaging radar, v. 3, p. 632-636, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Earth Observations and Remote Sensing.
  16. Radebaugh, J.L., R.D. Lorenz, T.G. Farr, P. Paillou, C. Savage, C. Spencer, 2010, Linear dunes on Titan and Earth: Initial remote sensing comparisons, Geomorphology v. 121, p. 122-132, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.02.022 .
  17. Paillou, P., M. Schuster, S. Tooth, T.G. Farr, A. Rosenqvist, S. Lopez, J-M Malezieux, 2009, Mapping of a major paleodrainage system in eastern Libya using orbital imaging radar: The Kufrah River, Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett., v. 277, p. 327-333, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.10.029.
  18. Farr, T.G., A. Hayes, R. Kirk, K. Mitchell, R. Lopes, R. Lorenz, E. Stofan, J. Radebaugh, S. Wall, C. Wood, and the Cassini Radar Science Team, 2009, Landscapes of Titan, abs., IGARSS '09, Cape Town.
  19. Lasne, Y., P. Paillou, A. Freeman, T.G. Farr, K.C. McDonald, G. Ruffie, J. Malezieux, B. Chapman, F. Demontoux, 2008, Effect of salinity on the dielectric properties of geological materials: Implication for soil moisture detection by means of radar remote sensing, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., v. 46, p. 1674-1688, doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2008.916220.
  20. Farr, T.G., E. Caro, R. Crippen, R. Duren, S. Hensley, M. Kobrick, M. Paller, E. Rodriguez, P. Rosen, L. Roth, D. Seal, S. Shaffer, J. Shimada, J. Umland, M. Werner, M. Oskin, D. Burbank, D. Alsdorf, 2007, The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, v. 45, Reviews of Geophysics, doi: 1029/2005RG000183.
  21. Evans, D.L., T.G. Farr, 2007, The use of interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) in archaeological investigations and cultural heritage preservation, Ch. 4 in Remote Sensing in Archaeology, J. Wiseman and F. El-Baz, ed., Springer, NY, 553 pp.
  22. Heggy, E., S.M. Clifford, T.G. Farr, C.L. Dinwiddie, J.A. Stamatakos, S.H. Gonzalez, 2006, Radar investigations of planetary and terrestrial environments, J. Geophys. Res., v. 111, E06S01, doi:10.1029/2006JE002759.
  23. Gesch, D., T. Farr, J. Slater, J-P. Muller, S. Cook, 2006, Foreword: The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission- Data validation and applications, Photogramm. Eng. Rem. Sens., v. 72, p. 233-235.
  24. Farr, T.G., 2006, Microtopographic statistics of geologic surfaces, IGARSS '06, Denver.
  25. Farr, T.G., 2005, AVIRIS data of explosion craters at the Nevada Test Site and application to interpretation of CRISM data of Mars impact craters, abs. 2005 AVIRIS Workshop, Pasadena, CA.
  26. Farr, T.G., 2004, Terrestrial analogs to Mars: The NRC community decadal report, Planetary and Space Science, v. 52, p. 3-10.
  27. Farr, T.G., 2004, Topographic signatures of geomorphic processes at desert piedmonts, abs., Amer. Geophys. Union, San Francisco.
  28. Paillou, Ph., A. Rosenqvist, J-M. Malezieux, B. Reynard, T. Farr, E. Heggy, 2003, Discovery of a double impact crater in Libya: The astrobleme of Arkenu, C.R. Geosci., v. 335, p. 1059-1069.
  29. Shepard, M.K., B.A. Campbell, M.H. Bulmer, T.G. Farr, L.R. Gaddis, J.J. Plaut, 2002, The roughness of natural terrain: A planetary and remote sensing perspective, J. Geophys. Res., v. 106, p. 32,777-32,795.
  30. Ford, J.P., R.G. Blom, J.L. Coleman, T.G. Farr, J.J. Plaut, H.A. Pohn, F.F. Sabins, 1998, Radar Geology, Ch. 10, p. 511-565, in Henderson, F.M., A.J. Lewis, Principles and Applications of Imaging Radar, Wiley, NY, 866 pp.
  31. Guo, H., Liao, J., Wang, C., Wang, C., Farr, T.G., Evans, D.L., 1997, Use of multifrequency, multipolarization Shuttle Imaging Radar for volcano mapping in the Kunlun Mountains of western China, Rem. Sens. Env., v. 59, p. 364-374.
  32. Farr, T.G., O.A. Chadwick, 1996, Geomorphic processes and remote sensing signatures of alluvial fans in the Kun Lun Mountains, China, J. Geophys. Research, v. 101, p. 23,091-23,100.
  33. Arvidson, R.E., M.K. Shepard, E.A. Guinness, S.B. Petroy, J.J. Plaut, D.L. Evans, T.G. Farr, R. Greeley, N. Lancaster, L.R. Gaddis, 1993, Characterization of lava-flow degradation in the Pisgah and Cima volcanic fields, California, using Landsat Thematic Mapper and AIRSAR data, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull., v. 105, p. 175-188.

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