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Erika Podest

Photo of Erika Podest


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 300-233H

Pasadena, CA 91109






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Member of:

Carbon Cycle And Ecosystems


Dr. Erika Podest is a scientist with the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Group in JPL's Earth Science Division. Her research focuses on using Earth observing satellites, particularly microwave sensors, for monitoring wetland ecosystems and the vegetation growing season length in the northern high latitudes as related to the global carbon and water cycles and climate change. She is an instructor with NASA’s Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) Program, leading trainings that focus on the use of satellite remote sensing data (primarily radar) to support applications related to water and disasters.


  • 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

Professional Experience

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

Research Interests

  • Effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems particularly wetlands and the boreal high latitudes using spaceborne microwave remote sensing.
  • Integrating different remote sensing and in situ measurements to address biodiversity science

Selected Awards

  • NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medal (2022)
  • JPL Voyager Award (2022)
  • JPL Voyager Award (2020)
  • JPL Team Award (329)
  • NASA GLOBE Observer Team, Group Achievement Award (2017)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, SMAP Science and Cal/Val Team (2016)
  • Federal Labs Interagency Partnership Award for SMAP Applications (2016)
  • 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. Duncan, P., E. Podest, K. J Esler, S. Geerts, and C. Lyons, 2023. Mapping Invasive Herbaceous Plant Species with Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery: Echium plantagineum in a Mediterranean Shrubland as a Case Study. Geomatics, 3, 328-344.
  2. Pimple, U., D. Simonetti, R. Peters, U. Berger, E. Podest, and V. Gond, 2022. “Enhancing Monitoring of Mangrove Spatiotemporal Tree Diversity and Distribution Patterns”. Land Degradation & Development, 1– 18.
  3. Davitt, A., D. Tesser, H. Gamarro, M. Anderson, K. Knipper, J. Xue, W. Kustas, M. Alsina, E. Podest, and K. McDonald, 2022. “The Complementary Uses of Sentinel-1A SAR and ECOSTRESS Datasets to Identify Vineyard Growth and Conditions: A Case Study in Sonoma County”, California. Irrig Sci, 40, 655–681 (2022).
  4. Prados, A., I., E. Podest, D. Barbato, A. Carleton-Hug, B. Blevins, S. Hudson-Odoi, A. Mehta, and C. K. Ovando Crespo, 2021. “Best Practices in Multilanguage Satellite Remote Sensing Training: Case Studies In Spanish-Speaking Countries”, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 105-111.
  5. Geller, G., J. Cavender-Bares, J. Gamon, K. McDonald, E. Podest, P. Townsend, S. Ustin, 2020. “Epilogue: Toward a Global Biodiversity Monitoring System”, Remote Sensing of Plant Biodiversity, Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, Jun. 2020, pp. 519-526.
  6. Prados, A.I., A. Carleton-Hug, P. Gupta, A. Mehta, B. Blevins, C. Schmidt, D. G. Barbato, A. J. McCullum, E. Hook, E. Podest, M. Follette-Cook, S. Hudson-Odoi, and T. Kinsey, 2019. "Impact of the ARSET Program on Use of Remote-Sensing Data", ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 8, 261.
  7. Schimel, D., F. D. Schneider, … E. Podest, 2019. “Flux Towers in the Sky: Global Ecology from Space”, New Phytologist, 224: 570-584.
  8. Rodriguez-Alvarez, N.; S. Misra, E. Podest, M. Morris, and L. Bosch-Lluis, 2019. “The Use of SMAP-Reflectometry in Science Applications: Calibration and Capabilities”, Remote Sensing, 11, 2442.
  9. Rodriguez-Alvarez, N., E. Podest, K. Jensen, and K. McDonald, 2019. "Classifying Inundation in a Tropical Wetlands Complex with GNSS-R", Remote Sensing, 11 (9):1053-53.
  10. Rodriguez-Alvarez, N., B. Holt, S. Jaruwatanadilok, E. Podest, and K. C. Cavanaugh, 2019. "An Arctic Sea Ice Multi-Step Classification Based on GNSS-R Data from the TDS-1 Mission", Remote Sensing, 230, 111202.
  11. Jensen, K., K. McDonald, E. Podest, N. Rodriguez-Alvarez, V. Horna, and N. Steiner, 2018. “Assessing L-Band GNSS-Reflectometry and Imaging Radar for Detecting Sub-Canopy Inundation Dynamics in a Tropical Wetlands Complex”, Remote Sensing, 10, 1431.
  12. Chew, C., S. Lowe, N. Parazoo, S. Esterhuizen, S. Oveisgharan, E. Podest, C. Zuffada, and A. Freedman, 2017. “SMAP Radar Receiver Measures Land Surface Freeze/Thaw State Through Capture of Forward-Scattered L-Band Signals”, Remote Sensing of Environment, 198:333-344.
  13. Schroeder, R., K. McDonald, B. Chapman, K. Jensen, E. Podest, Z.D. Tessler, T. Bohn, and R. Zimmermann, 2015. “Development and Evaluation of a Multi-Year Fractional Surface Water Data Set Derived from Active/Passive Microwave Remote Sensing Data”, Remote Sensing, 7, 16688-16732.
  14. Bue, B., D. Thompson, G. Sellar, E. Podest, M. Eastwood, M. Helminger, I. McCubbin, and J. Morgan, 2015. “Leveraging In-Scene Spectra for Robust Discrimination of Vegetation Species with MESMA-MDA”, ISPRS, 108, pp. 33-48.
  15. Bateni, S. M., Margulis, S. A., E. Podest, and K. McDonald, 2015. “Characterizing Snowpack and the Freeze-Thaw State of Underlying Soil via Assimilation of Multi-Frequency Passive/Active Microwave Data: A Case Study (NASA CLPX 2003)”, IEEE TGARS, vol. 53, No. 1.
  16. Podest, E., K. McDonald, and J.S. Kimball, 2014. “Multisensor Microwave Sensitivity to Freeze/Thaw Dynamics Across a Complex Boreal Landscape”, IEEE TGARS, vol. 52, No. 11.
  17. 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 Multi-Frequency Active/Passive Microwave Data”, IEEE TGARS, vol. 51, No. 7.
  18. 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, and E. Ustinov, 2013. “Airborne Imaging Spectroscopy to Monitor the Evolution of Urban Mosquito Microhabitats”, Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 137.
  19. 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.
  20. Gao H., T. Bohn, E. Podest, K. McDonald, and D. Lettenmaier, 2011. “On the Causes of the Shrinking of Lake Chad”, Environmental Research Letters, 6, 034021.
  21. 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).
  22. 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, and T. Zhang, 2010. “Analysis of the Arctic System for Freshwater Cycle Intensification: Observations and Experiments”, Journal of Climate, 23, 5715-5737.
  23. Whitcomb, J., M. Moghaddam, K. McDonald, J. Kellndorfer, and E. Podest, 2009. “Wetlands Map of Alaska Using L-Band Radar Satellite Imagery”, Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 54-72.
  24. 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.
  25. Podest, E. and S. Saatchi, 2002. “Application of Multiscale Texture in Classifying JERS-1 Data over Tropical Vegetation”, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 23 (7), 1487-1506.
  26. 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.