Past, Present, and Future Stories of the Sierra Nevada Range

EarthzineDEVELOP Fall 2013 VPS, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session, Original


The Sierra Decision Support System will featuring data integration, viewing, reporting and forecasting of ecological conditions within the Sierra Nevada ecosystem using NASA’s Earth Observing System. Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Ecological Forecasting Team, NASA DEVELOP National Program.

Team Location: Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California


Andrew Nguyen, Project Lead (San Jose State University)

Chase Mueller (University of Texas, San Antonio)

James Brennan (Villanova University)

Erika Edgar (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)

Esther Essoudry (University of California, Berkeley)


Carlos Ramirez (U.S. Forest Service)

Cindy Schmidt (Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, DEVELOP National Program)

Past/Other Contributors:

Forrest Melton (California State University, Monterrey Bay and NASA Ames Research Center)

Amber Jean Kuss (NASA DEVELOP Program)


The Sierra Nevada contains vital ecosystems that are being impacted by climate change, such as decreases in snowmelt, peak runoff, forest health and changes in the distribution of species. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service, Region 5, is undergoing forest plan revisions to implement climate change impacts into mitigation and adaptation strategies. However, there are few processes in place to conduct quantitative assessments of forest conditions while easily and effectively delivering that information to forest managers. To assist the Forest Service, this study is the first of a three-term project to create a decision-support system (DSS) featuring data integration, data viewing, reporting and forecasting of ecological conditions within the Sierra Nevada. The Sierra DSS Viewer will allow users to view spatially represented layers of past, current and future climate and surface conditions along with vegetation properties for the entire Sierra Nevada. The purpose of this viewer is to provide an online integration of satellite, modeled and field data, while allowing users to select specific variables based on the questions of interest. Additionally, future climate conditions and vegetative properties derived from the NASA Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS) and the Lund-Potsdam-Jena Dynamic Global Model (LPJ) will be summarized for each eco-section for the Sierras. This term focused on identification and processing of all climatic and land surface data sets of interest, conducting initial model calibration, and the creation of the DSS framework. These results will help address ecological management concerns and goals for the Sierra ecosystem.

Return to the Fall 2013 VPS page.