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 Carbon Cycle And Ecosystems: People
Michelle  Gierach's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 233-300
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
Curriculum Vitae:

Michelle Gierach

  • 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)

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.


S-MODE (Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment) Icon S-MODE (Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment)
S-MODE will test the hypothesis that submesoscale ocean dynamics make important contributions to vertical exchange of climate and biological variables in the upper ocean.

CMS Flux (Carbon Monitoring System Flux) Icon CMS Flux (Carbon Monitoring System Flux)
Carbon Monitoring System Flux (CMS Flux) incorporates the full suite of NASA observational, modeling, and assimilation capabilities to attribute CO2 climate forcing to spatially resolved emissions.

CORAL (COral Reef Airborne Laboratory) Icon CORAL (COral Reef Airborne Laboratory)
CORAL will provide the most extensive picture to date of the condition of a large portion of the world’s coral reefs from a uniform data set.

OCO-2 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory Icon OCO-2 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) is a mission designed to make precise, time-dependent global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from an Earth orbiting satellite.

ORCAS (O<sub>2</sub>/N<sub>2</sub> Ratio and CO<sub>2</sub> Airborne Southern Ocean) Icon ORCAS (O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean)
The O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean (ORCAS) Study is an NSF sponsored airborne field campaign with research flights planned from Punta Arenas, Chile during January and February of 2016.

PRISM (Portable Remote Imaging SpectroMeter) Icon PRISM (Portable Remote Imaging SpectroMeter)
Portable Remote Imaging SpectroMeter (PRISM) is a compact lightweight, airborne instrument compatible with a wide range of aerial vehicles.

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)

Selected Awards
  • 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. Carroll, D., D. Menemenlis, M. M. Gierach, et al., 2019: 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, submitted.
  2. 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,
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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:
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.


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