Earth Sciences Division

Peter C Griffith


Peter C Griffith's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6610
Org Code: 618
Mail Code 618
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Missions & Projects

Brief Bio

The NASA’s Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Office (CCE Office) is hosted by Goddard Code 618 and is funded by program elements of the NASA Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Focus Area at NASA HQ to provide scientific and logistics support across various CC&E Focus Area activities.

Dr. Peter Griffith is an ecosystem ecologist and carbon cycle scientist. He is the founding director of the CCE Office, and the project manager for the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment ( and for NASA's Carbon Monitoring System ( 

#EarthDayAtHome 2020: Tour of the Permafrost Tunnel

Carbon Crisis in 90 Seconds cartoon

Origin Story for Carbon Crisis in 90 Seconds

Above and Beyond: NASA's Journey to Tomorrow >>

Current Projects

Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)


NASA Carbon Monitoring System


NASA Group Achievement Award for support of the Large-scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (2003)

NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal (2016)

NASA Group Achievement Award for the ABoVE Airborne Campaign (2018)

The University of Georgia Graduate School Alumni of Distinction Award recognizing alumni who exemplify the school's mission "to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things" (2013)

NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal (2023), for outstanding leadership of the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office supporting Earth science missions and dedication to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. This is NASA’s highest form of recognition that is awarded to non-Government individuals or to an individual who was not a Government employee during the period in which the service was performed, whose distinguished service, ability, or vision has personally contributed to NASA’s advancement of United States’ interests. 


B.S. (cum laude), Botany & Zoology, Duke University (1978)

M.S., Marine, Estuarine, & Environmental Science, University of Maryland College Park (1982)

Ph.D., Ecology, University of Georgia (1988)

Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union

At-Large Member of the AGU Council (2014-2018) Leadership Development & Governance Committee (2020- )

1984 - Present



2024. "The ABoVE L-band and P-band airborne synthetic aperture radar surveys." Earth System Science Data 16 (6): 2605-2624 [10.5194/essd-16-2605-2024] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Summary of the ABoVE L-band and P-band Airborne SAR Surveys, 2012-2022." ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA [10.3334/ORNLDAAC/2150] [Dataset]

2023. "The ABoVE L-band and P-band Airborne SAR Surveys." Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss. [10.5194/essd-2021-172] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Scientist-stakeholder relationships drive carbon data product transfer effectiveness within NASA program." Environmental Research Letters [10.1088/1748-9326/ac87bf] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "The NASA Carbon Monitoring System Phase 2 synthesis: scope, findings, gaps and recommended next steps." Environmental Research Letters 17 (6): 063010 [10.1088/1748-9326/ac7407] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System and Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) social network and community of practice." Environmental Research Letters [10.1088/1748-9326/aba300] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "An overview of ABoVE airborne campaign data acquisitions and science opportunities." Environmental Research Letters 14 (8): 080201 [10.1088/1748-9326/ab0d44] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Carbon budget of tidal wetlands, estuaries, and shelf waters of Eastern North America." Global Biogeochemical Cycles 32 [10.1002/2017gb005790] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Missing pieces to modeling the Arctic-Boreal puzzle." Environmental Research Letters 13 (2): [10.1088/1748-9326/aa9d9a] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "A science plan for carbon cycle research in North American coastal waters. Report of the Coastal CARbon Synthesis (CCARS) community workshop, August 19-21, 2014." Coastal CARbon Synthesis [10.1575/1912/7777] [Report]

2016. "Social network and content analysis of the North American Carbon Program as a scientific community of practice." Social Networks 44 (2016): 226-237 [] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Net ecosystem production and organic carbon balance of U.S. East Coast estuaries: A synthesis approach." Global Biogeochem. Cycles 29 96–111 [10.1002/2013GB004736] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Southeastern U.S.A. continental shelf respiratory rates revisited." Biogeochemistry 107 (1-3): 501-506 [10.1007/s10533-010-9552-0] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Investigators Share Improved Understanding of the North American Carbon Cycle." Eos - Trans. AGU 88 (24): 255 [Journal Article/Letter]

1995. "Seasonal and spatial variations in pelagic community respiration on the southeastern US continental shelf." Continental Shelf Research 15 (7): 815--825 [Journal Article/Letter]

1994. "Activity and distribution of attached bacteria in Chesapeake Bay." Marine Ecology Progress Series 108 1 [Journal Article/Letter]

1991. "Hydrolysis of protein and model dipeptide substrates by attached and nonattached marine Pseudomonas sp. strain NCIMB 2021." Applied and environmental microbiology 57 (8): 2186--2191 [Journal Article/Letter]

1990. "Metabolic activity of size-fractionated microbial plankton in estuarine, nearshore, and continental shelf waters of Georgia." Marine Ecology Progress Series MESEDT 59 (3): [Journal Article/Letter]

1988. "A high-precision respirometer for measuring small rates of change in the oxygen concentration of natural waters." Limnology and Oceanography 33 (4): 632-638 [10.4319/lo.1988.33.4.0632] [Journal Article/Letter]

1987. "Computer-automated flow respirometry: metabolism measurements on a coral reef flat and in a microcosm." Limnology and Oceanography 32 442-451 [Journal Article/Letter]


2019. "Pushing remote sensing capacity for climate change research in Canada’s North: POLAR’s contributions to NASA's Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)." Polar Knowledge: Aqhaliat Report 1 (1): 53-62 [10.35298/pkc.2018.07] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "ABoVE: Directory of Field Sites Associated with 2017 ABoVE Airborne Campaign." ORNL DAAC [10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1582] [Dataset]

Selected Public Outreach

Subject Matter Expert for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit “Knowing Nature: Stories of the Boreal Forest”

May 2023 - Present

Knowing Nature: Stories of the Boreal Forest / Historias del bosque boreal focuses on the biodiversity and global importance of the our northern-most forests through first-person stories, commissioned objects, interactive experiences and exquisite photography and videography.

The boreal forest holds stories written over thousands of years, stories of 500 billion trees, billions of migratory birds, millions of lakes and miles of rivers. The boreal forest stores more carbon that most tropical forests and plays a significant role in stabilizing our climate. The boreal forest is also home to hundreds of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and communities. Their ways of knowing nature offer a vision for a sustainable future. 

This timely exhibition integrates the themes of climate change, Indigenous perspectives and the relationship between people and nature. It takes audiences on a learning journey that starts with curiosity, builds empathy and leads to action. Knowing Nature offers stories of resilience, strength and hope in a changing world.