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 Carbon Cycle And Ecosystems (329G): People
Erika  Podest's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 300-233H
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Erika Podest

Dr. Erika Podest is a scientist with the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems 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.

  • 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.
  • Integrating different remote sensing and in situ measurements to address biodiversity science


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

SMAP - Soil Moisture Active Passive Icon SMAP - Soil Moisture Active Passive
The Soil Moisture Active Passive mission provides measurements of soil moisture, freeze/thaw state, as well as sea surface salinity and ocean wind.

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.

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, 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. 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, T. Kinsey, 2019. "Impact of the ARSET Program on Use of Remote-Sensing Data", ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf., 8, 261.
  2. 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.
  3. Rodriguez-Alvarez, N., B. Holt, S. Jaruwatanadilok, E. Podest, K. C. Cavanaugh, 2019. "An Arctic Sea Ice Multi-Step Classification Based on GNSAA-R Data from the TDS-1 Mission", Remote Sensing
  4. Chew, C., S. Lowe, N. Parazoo, S. Esterhuizen, S. Oveisgharan, E. Podest, C. Zuffada, A. Freedman, A., 2017. "SMAP Radar Receiver Measures Land Surface Freeze/Thaw State Through Capture of Forward-Scattered L-Band Signals", Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 198, pp. 333-344.
  5. Schroeder, R., McDonald, K.C., Chapman, B.D., Jensen, K., Podest, E., Tessler, Z.D., Bohn, T.J., Zimmermann, R., 2015. "Development and Evaluation of a Multi-Year Fractional Surface Water Data Set Derived from Active/Passive Microwave Remote Sensing Data", Remote Sens., 7, 16688-16732.
  6. Bue, B., D. Thompson, G. Sellar, E. Podest, M. Eastwood, M. Helminger, I. McCubbin, J. Morgan, 2015. "Leveraging In-scene Spectra for Robust Discrimination of Vegetation Species with MESMA-MDA", ISPRS, 108, pp. 33-48.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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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