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Michelle Gierach

Michelle Gierach's Photo


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 233-300

Pasadena, CA 91109





Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Terrestrial Hydrology



  • B.S., Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (2004)
  • M.S., Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (2006)
  • Ph.D., Marine Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina (2009)

Professional Experience

  • Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California (2011-Present)
    • Project Manager for the NASA EVS-2 COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) mission, JPL, (2018 - 2019)
    • Project Scientist for the NASA EVS-2 COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) mission, JPL, (2015 - 2019)
    • Project Scientist for the NASA Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC), JPL, (2011 - Present)
  • Postdoctoral Associate, University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Miami, Florida (2009-2011)

Research Interests

Application of satellite and airborne observations, in-situ data, and model simulations to study synoptic to decadal changes in the ocean, with specific focus on biophysical interactions, coastal water quality, and carbon fluxes.

Selected Awards

  • NASA Group Achievement Award, CORAL Mission Team (2020)
  • NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medal (2018)
  • Florida State University Reubin O'D. Askew Young Alumni Award (2016)
  • Florida State University Notable Noles (2016)
  • Lew Allen Award for Excellence (2015)
  • NASA Early Career Achievement Medal (2013)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Graduate Study (2009)

Selected Publications

  1. Sikder, M.D., M. Bonnema, C. Emery, C. David, P. Lin, M. Pan, S. Biancamaria, M.M. Gierach, 2020: A synthetic dataset inspired by satellite altimetry and impacts of sampling on global spaceborne discharge characterization, Water Resources Research,
  2. Carroll, D., D. Menemenlis, M. M. Gierach, et al., 2020: The ECCO-Darwin data-assimilative global ocean biogeochemistry model: Estimates of seasonal to multi-decadal surface ocean pCO2 and Air-sea CO2 flux, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 12, e2019MS001888.
  3. Fichot, G.G., K. Matsumoto, B. Holt, M.M. Gierach, K.S. Tokos, 2019: Assessing change in the overturning behavior of the Laurentian Great Lakes using remotely sensed lake surface water temperatures, Remote Sensing of Environment, 235,
  4. Thompson, D., K. Cawse-Nicholson, Z. Erickson, C.G. Fichot, C. Frankenberg, B.-C. Gao, M.M. Gierach, R. Green, D. Jensen, V. Natraj, A. Thompson, 2019: A unified approach to estimate land and water reflectances with uncertainties for coastal imaging spectroscopy, Remote Sensing of Environment, 231, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2019.05.017.
  5. Erickson, Z., C. Frankenberg, D. Thompson, A. Thompson, M.M. Gierach, 2019: Remote sensing of chlorophyll fluorescence in the ocean using imaging spectrometry: Towards a vertical profile of fluorescence, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2018GL081273.
  6. Stephens, B., et al., 2018: The O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean (ORCAS) Study, Bulletin of American Meteorological Society, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0206.1.
  7. Fournier, S., J. Vialard, M. Lengaigne, T. Lee, M.M. Gierach, and A.V.S. Chaitanya, 2017: Modulation of the Ganges-Brahmaputra river plume by the Indian Ocean Dipole and eddies inferred from satellite observations, Journal of Geophysical Research, doi:10.1002/2017JC013333.
  8. Fournier, S., D. Vandemark, L. Gaultier, T. Lee, B. Jonsson, and M.M. Gierach, 2017: Interannual variation in offshore advection of Amazon-Orinoco plume waters: observations, forcing mechanisms, and impacts, Journal of Geophysical Research, 122, 8966-8982, doi:10.1002/2017JC013103.
  9. Chatterjee, A., M. M. Gierach, D. Crisp, A. Eldering, M. Gunson, C. O'Dell, B. Stephens, A. Sutton, and D. Schimel, 2017: Influence of El Niño on atmospheric CO2 over the tropical Pacific Ocean: Findings from NASA's OCO-2 mission, Science, doi:10.1126/science.aam5776.
  10. Liu, J., K. Bowman, D. Schimel, N. Parazoo, Z. Jiang, M. Lee, A. Bloom, D. Wunch, K. Gurney, D. Menemenlis, M. M. Gierach, D. Crisp, and A. Eldering, 2017: Contrasting carbon cycle responses of tropical continents to the 2015-16 El Niño, Science, doi:10.1126/science.aam5690.
  11. Trinh, R. C., C. G. Fichot, M. M. Gierach, B. Holt, N. K. Malakar, G. Hulley, and J. Smith, 2017: Application of Landsat 8 for monitoring impacts of wastewater discharge on coastal water quality, Frontiers in Marine Science, doi:10.3389/fmars.2017.00329.
  12. Bowman, K., J. Liu, A. Bloom, N. Parazoo, M. Lee, Z. Jiang, D. Menemenlis, M. M. Gierach, G.J. Collatz, and K. Gurney, 2017: Global and Brazilian carbon response to El Niño Modoki 2011-2010, Earth and Space Science, 4, 637-660, doi:10.1002/2016EA000204.
  13. Thompson, D. M., E. Hochberg, G. P. Asner, R. O. Green, D. Knapp, B. C. Gao, R. Garcia, M. M. Gierach, Z. Lee, and S. Maritorena, 2017: Airborne Mapping of Benthic Reflectance Spectra with Bayesian Linear Mixtures, Remote Sensing Environment, 200, 18-30, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2017.07.030.
  14. Holt, B., R. C. Trinh, and M. M. Gierach, 2017: Stormwater Runoff Plumes in the Southern California Bight: A Comparison Study with SAR and MODIS Imagery, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 118, 141-154, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.040.
  15. Gierach, M. M., B. Holt, R. Trinh, B. Pan, and C. Rains, 2017: Satellite detection of wastewater diversion plumes in southern California. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 186, 171-182, doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2016.10.012.
  16. Basnayake, R., E. Bollt, N. Tufillaro, J. Sun, and M. M. Gierach, 2017: Regularization destriping of remote sensing imagery. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, doi:10.5194/npg-2016-74.
  17. Fournier, S., J.T. Reager, T. Lee, J. Vazquez-Cuervo, C.H. David, and M.M. Gierach, 2016: SMAP observes flooding from land to sea: The Texas event of 2015, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2016GL070821.
  18. Fournier, S., T. Lee, and M. M. Gierach, 2016: Seasonal and interannual variations of sea surface salinity associated with the Mississippi River plume observed by SMOS and Aquarius, Remote Sens. Environ., 180, 431-439, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2016.02.050.
  19. Fichot, C. G., B. Downing, B. Bergamaschi, L. Windham-Myers, M. Marvin-DiPasquale, D. R. Thompson, and M. M. Gierach, 2015: High-resolution remote sensing of water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, Environmental Science and Technology, 50(2), 573-583, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b03518.
  20. Thompson, D. R., F. C. Seidel, B. C. Gao, M. M. Gierach, R. O. Green, R. M. Kudela, and P. Mouroulis, 2015: Optimizing irradiance estimates for coastal and inland water imaging spectroscopy. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL063287.
  21. Lee, T., G. Lagerloef, H.-Y. Kao, M. J. McPhaden, J. Willis, M. M. Gierach, 2014: The influence of salinity on Tropical Atlantic instability waves and eddies.J. Geophys. Res., 119(12), 8375-8394, doi:10.1002/2014JC010100.
  22. Gierach, M. M., M. Messié, T. Lee, K.B. Karnauskas, and M.-H. Radenac, 2013: Biophysical Responses near Equatorial Islands in the Western Equatorial Pacific Ocean during El Niño/La Niña Transitions. Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1002/2013GL057828.
  23. Gierach, M. M., J. Vazquez, T. Lee, V. Tsontos, 2013: Aquarius and SMOS detect effects on an extreme Mississippi River flooding event in the Gulf of Mexico, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50995.
  24. Lee, T., D.E. Waliser, J. F. Li; F. W. Landerer, and M. M. Gierach, 2013: Evaluation of CMIP3 and CMIP5 Wind Stress Climatology Using Satellite Measurements and Atmospheric Reanalysis Products. J. Clim., 26(16), 5810-5826, doi:
  25. Lee, T., G. Lagerloef, M. M. Gierach, H.-Y. Kao, S. Yueh, and K. Dohan, 2012: Aquarius reveals salinity signature of tropical instability waves. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L12610, doi:10.1029/2012GL052232.
  26. Gierach, M. M., T. Lee, D. Turk, and M.J. McPhaden, 2012: Biological response to the 1997-98 and 2009-10 El Niño events in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L10602, doi:10.10.29/2012GL051103.
  27. Gierach, M. M., H. C. Graber, and M. J. Caruso, 2012: SAR-derived gap jet characteristics in the lee of the Philippine Archipelago. J. Remote Sens. Environ., 117, 289-300.
  28. Gierach, M. M., B. Subrahmanyam, and P. G. Thoppil, 2009: Physical and biological responses to Hurricane Katrina (2005) in a 1/25° nested Gulf of Mexico HYCOM. J. Mar. Syst., 78, 168-179.
  29. Gierach, M. M., B. Subrahmanyam, A. Samuelsen, and K. Ueyoshi, 2009: Hurricane-driven alteration in plankton community size structure in the Gulf of Mexico: A modeling study. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07604, doi:10.1029/2009GL037414.
  30. Gierach, M. M., and B. Subrahmanyam, 2008: Biophysical responses of the upper ocean to major Gulf of Mexico hurricanes in 2005. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 113, C04029, doi:10.1029/2007JC004419.
  31. Gierach, M. M., and B. Subrahmanyam, 2007: Satellite data analysis of the upper ocean response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005) in the Gulf of Mexico. IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett., 4, 132-136.
  32. Gierach, M. M., and B. Subrahmanyam, 2007: "Global ocean color and phytoplankton", State of the Climate in 2006. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88, S43-S45.
  33. Gierach, M. M., M. A. Bourassa, P. Cunningham, J. J. O'Brien, and P. D. Reasor, 2007: Vorticity-based detection of tropical cyclogenesis. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 46, 1214-1229.