Sciences and Exploration Directorate

David M Mocko


David M Mocko's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6222
Org Code: 617
Mail Code 617
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Employer: Science Application International Corp.

Brief Bio

David M. Mocko is a Senior Research Scientist with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) supporting the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory (HSL) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.  He graduated from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) in 1991.  He then earned an M.S. in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University in 1994.  David serves as a co-PI on proposals as part of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS).  He is a core team member for land-surface model integration and evaluation for the Land Information System (LIS) software framework.  David has participated in a Coordinated Energy and water cycle Observations Project (CEOP) multi-model analysis intercomparison, water cycle studies using Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and MERRA-2 reanalyses, and in the Global Soil Wetness Project (GSWP).  His research interests include land-surface modeling, drought monitoring and analysis, reanalyses, and the global energy and water cycle.

Current Projects

Land Information System (LIS)

North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS)

National Climate Assessment - Land Data Assimilation System

Hydrology / Water Cycle


Senior Research Scientist

Science Applications International Corporation - Greenbelt, MD

August 2004 - Present

Supporting the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory, and formerly supporting the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office and the Climate and Radiation Branch.  Serving as Co-PI on proposals as part of the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS).  Developing the Land Information System (LIS) software framework as a member of the LIS core team.  Performed water cycle studies using MERRA and MERRA-2 datasets.  Serving as a member of the NOAA Drought Task Force.  Writing results from studies in peer-reviewed journals.  Presenting results at scientific conferences and meetings.

Scientific Programmer/Analyst

Science Applications International Corporation - Greenbelt, MD

October 1995 - August 2004

Supported the Climate and Radiation Branch at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  Improved a land-surface hydrology model via modifications of its physical parameterizations, including a new snow-physics scheme.  Simulated climate studies using an atmospheric general circulation model.  Participated in the Global Soil Wetness Project (GSWP), the Project for Intercomparison of Land surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) Phase 2e, and the Global Land-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE) land-surface model intercomparisons.  Wrote results in peer-reviewed journals and presented results at various scientific conferences and meetings.

Operating Systems Programmer II

Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) - Fort Collins, CO

February 1995 - August 1995

Installed UNIX workstation and configured use of RAMS, GRASS, Emacs, X11, LaTeX, HTTP, etc., for a team of researchers.  Programmed and modified computer code in FORTRAN, C, and HTML.

Graduate Research Assistant

Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science - Fort Collins, CO

July 1991 - January 1995

Employed the Colorado State University Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) on two different case studies: 7 Jul 1987, as part of the FIRE I experiment over the ocean off California; and 7 Jun 1983, as part of the BLX 83 experiment over Oklahoma.  Programmed nine fractional cloudiness parameterizations into RAMS.  Evaluated the performance of the various parameterizations against observational data and tested sensitivity to using fractional cloudiness within the model's predictive equations.


M.S., Atmospheric Science, 1994, Colorado State University

B.S., Physics (Computer Science track), 1991, The College of New Jersey

Professional Societies

American Meteorological Society

1992 - Present

American Geophysical Union

1994 - Present

Professional Service

NOAA/MAPP Drought Task Force

NASA GES DISC User Working Group

Reviews of proposals and journal articles

Served as mentor for summer undergraduate students


  • Sep 2017 – Award for Scientific/Technical Support; Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Geophysics
  • Aug 2011 – Award for Scientific Support; Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory
  • Jan 2009 – Outstanding Performance; Global Modeling and Assimilation Office
  • Jan 2009 – Special Act Award; Climate and Radiation Branch
  • Jan 2005 – Outstanding Scientific Support; Climate and Radiation Branch
  • Aug 1999 – Outstanding Performance in Technical Support – Science; Laboratory for Atmospheres

Other Professional Information

56 total co-authored peer-reviewed publications, of which 5 first author

h-index: 22 (as of 15 June 2020)

NASA Earthdata User Profile



2021. "Advances in Land Surface Models and Indicators for Drought Monitoring and Prediction." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 102 (5): E1099–E1122 [10.1175/bams-d-20-0087.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Assimilation of vegetation conditions improves the representation of drought over agricultural areas." J. Hydrometeor. 22 (5): 1085-1098 [10.1175/jhm-d-20-0065.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Drought Variability over the Conterminous United States for the Past Century." Journal of Hydrometeorology [10.1175/jhm-d-20-0158.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Snow Ensemble Uncertainty Project (SEUP): quantification of snow water equivalent uncertainty across North America via ensemble land surface modeling." The Cryosphere 15 (2): 771-791 [10.5194/tc-15-771-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The NASA hydrological forecast system for food and water security applications." Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. early online release [10.1175/bams-d-18-0264.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Impact of surface albedo assimilation on snow estimation." Remote Sensing 12 (4): 645 [10.3390/rs12040645] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Global GRACE data assimilation for groundwater and drought monitoring: Advances and challenges." Water Resour. Res. 55 7564-7586 [10.1029/2018wr024618] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "NCA-LDAS: Overview and analysis of hydrologic trends for the National Climate Assessment." J. Hydrometeor. 20 1595-1617 [10.1175/JHM-D-17-0234.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "NCA-LDAS land analysis: Development and performance of a multisensor, multivariate land data assimilation system for the National Climate Assessment." J. Hydrometeor. 20 1571-1593 [10.1175/JHM-D-17-0125.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Assimilation of remotely sensed Leaf Area Index into the Noah-MP land surface model: Impacts on water and carbon fluxes and states over the continental U.S." J. Hydrometeor. 20 1359-1377 [10.1175/jhm-d-18-0237.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Evaluating the uncertainty of terrestrial water budget components over High Mountain Asia." Frontiers in Earth Science 7 [10.3389/feart.2019.00120] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Comprehensive evaluation of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model in the North American Land Data Assimilation System." J. Hydrometeor. 19 (11): 1853-1879 [10.1175/jhm-d-18-0139.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "The Land surface Data Toolkit (LDT v7.2) – a data fusion environment for land data assimilation systems." Geosci. Model Dev. 11 (9): 3605-3621 [10.5194/gmd-11-3605-2018] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Attribution of flux partitioning variations between land surface models over the continental U.S." Remote Sensing 10 (5): 751 [10.3390/rs10050751] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Similarity assessment of land surface model outputs in the North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS)." Water Resour. Res. 53 (11): 8941-8965 [10.1002/2017wr020635] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Role of forcing uncertainty and background model error characterization in snow data assimilation." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 (6): 2637-2647 [10.5194/hess-21-2637-2017] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Diagnosing an artificial trend in NLDAS-2 afternoon precipitation." J. Hydrometeor. 18 (4): 1051-1070 [10.1175/jhm-d-16-0251.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Comparison and assessment of three advanced land surface models in simulating terrestrial water storage components over the United States." J. Hydrometeor. 18 (3): 625-649 [10.1175/jhm-d-16-0112.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Atmospheric water balance and variability in the MERRA-2 reanalysis." J. Climate 30 (4): 1177-1196 [10.1175/jcli-d-16-0338.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Assimilation of gridded GRACE terrestrial water storage estimates in the North American Land Data Assimilation System." J. Hydrometeor. 17 (7): 1951-1972 [10.1175/jhm-d-15-0157.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Basin-scale assessment of the land surface water budget in the NCEP operational and research NLDAS-2 systems." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 121 (6): 2750-2779 [10.1002/2015jd023733] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Basin-scale assessment of the land surface energy budget in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction operational and research NLDAS-2 systems." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 121 (1): 196-220 [10.1002/2015jd023889] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Benchmarking NLDAS-2 soil moisture and evapotranspiration to separate uncertainty contributions." J. Hydrometeor. 17 (3): 745-759 [10.1175/jhm-d-15-0063.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Quantifying the added value of snow cover area observations in passive microwave snow depth data assimilation." J. Hydrometeor. 16 (4): 1736-1741 [10.1175/JHM-D-15-0021.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Evaluating observation influence on regional water budgets in reanalyses." J. Climate 28 (9): 3631-3649 [10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00623.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Blending satellite-based snow depth products with in situ observations for streamflow predictions in the Upper Colorado River Basin." Water Resour. Res. 51 (2): 1182-1202 [10.1002/2014WR016606] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "NLDAS Views of North American 2011 Extreme Events (Chapter 25)." Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Water Cycle 409-426 [10.1002/9781118872086.ch25] [Article in Book]

2014. "Assimilation of passive microwave-based soil moisture and snow depth retrievals for drought estimation." J. Hydrometeor. 15 (6): 2446-2469 [10.1175/JHM-D-13-0132.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Implementation of a soil albedo scheme in the CABLEv1.4b land surface model and evaluation against MODIS estimates over Australia." Geosci. Model Dev. 7 (5): 2121-2140 [10.5194/gmd-7-2121-2014] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Uncertainties, correlations, and optimal blends of drought indices from the NLDAS multiple land surface model ensemble." J. Hydrometeor. 15 (4): 1636-1650 [10.1175/JHM-D-13-058.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Transpiration and Physical Evaporation: Regional and Seasonal Variability Over the Conterminous United States." Encyclopedia of Natural Resources - Land I 1055-1061 [10.1081/E-ENRA-120047654] [Article in Book]

2014. "Application of USDM statistics in NLDAS-2: Optimal blended NLDAS drought index over the continental United States." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 119 (6): 2947-2965 [10.1002/2013JD020994] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Comparing evaporative sources of terrestrial precipitation and their extremes in MERRA using relative entropy." J. Hydrometeor. 15 (1): 102-116 [10.1175/JHM-D-13-053.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Impact of land surface initialization approach on subseasonal forecast skill: A regional analysis in the Southern Hemisphere." J. Hydrometeor. 15 (1): 300-319 [10.1175/JHM-D-13-05.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Influence of leaf area index prescriptions on simulations of heat, moisture, and carbon fluxes." J. Hydrometeor. 15 (1): 489-503 [10.1175/JHM-D-13-063.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Evaluation of a coupled event-driven phenology and evapotranspiration model for croplands in the United States northern Great Plains." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 118 (11): 5065-5081 [10.1002/jgrd.50387] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Where does the irrigation water go? An estimate of the contribution of irrigation to precipitation using MERRA." J. Hydrometeor. 14 (1): 275-289 [10.1175/JHM-D-12-079.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Multiscale evaluation of the improvements in surface snow simulation through terrain adjustments to radiation." J. Hydrometeor. 14 (1): 220-232 [10.1175/JHM-D-12-046.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Multimodel analysis of energy and water fluxes: Intercomparisons between operational analyses, a land surface model, and remote sensing." J. Hydrometeor. 13 (1): 3-26 [10.1175/2011JHM1372.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Continental-scale water and energy flux analysis and validation for the North American Land Data Assimilation System project phase 2 (NLDAS-2): 1. Intercomparison and application of model products." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 117 (D3): D03109 [10.1029/2011JD016048] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Estimating evapotranspiration with land data assimilation systems." Hydrological Processes 25 (26): 3979-3992 [10.1002/hyp.8387] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Ten-year climatology of summertime diurnal rainfall rate over the conterminous U.S." Geophys. Res. Lett. 37 (13): L13807 [10.1029/2010GL044139] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "A multimodel analysis for the Coordinated Enhanced Observing Period (CEOP)." J. Hydrometeor. 10 (4): 912-934 [10.1175/2009JHM1090.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "Role of precipitation uncertainty in the estimation of hydrologic soil properties using remotely sensed soil moisture in a semi-arid environment." Water Resour. Res. 44 (5): W05S18 [10.1029/2007WR005884] [Journal Article/Letter]

2007. "Using remotely-sensed estimates of soil moisture to infer soil texture and hydraulic properties across a semi-arid watershed." Remote Sens. Environ. 110 (1): 79-97 [10.1016/j.rse.2007.02.007] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Soil moisture memory in AGCM simulations: Analysis of Global Land-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE) Data." J. Hydrometeor. 7 (5): 1090-1112 [10.1175/JHM533.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "GLACE: The Global Land-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment. Part II: Analysis." J. Hydrometeor. 7 (4): 611-625 [10.1175/JHM511.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "GLACE: The Global Land-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment. Part I: Overview." J. Hydrometeor. 7 (4): 590-610 [10.1175/JHM510.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Performance of two cloud-radiation parameterization schemes in the finite volume general circulation model for anomalously wet May and June 2003 over the continental United States and Amazonia." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 111 (D6): D06201 [10.1029/2005JD006246] [Journal Article/Letter]

2004. "Regions of strong coupling between soil moisture and precipitation." Science 305 (5687): 1138-1140 [10.1126/science.1100217] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Simulating the Midwestern U.S. drought of 1988 with a GCM." J. Climate 16 (23): 3946-3965 [10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016<3946:STMUDO>2.0.CO;2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Impact of snow conditions in spring dynamical seasonal predictions." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 108 (D16): 8616 [10.1029/2002JD003113] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Simulation of high-latitude hydrological processes in the Torne-Kalix basin: PILPS Phase 2(e): 2: Comparison of model results with observations." Global and Planetary Change 38 (1-2): 31-53 [10.1016/S0921-8181(03)00004-3] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Simulation of high-latitude hydrological processes in the Torne-Kalix basin: PILPS Phase 2(e): 1: Experiment description and summary intercomparisons." Global and Planetary Change 38 (1-2): 1-30 [10.1016/S0921-8181(03)00003-1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "Refinements to SSiB with an emphasis on snow-physics: Evaluation and validation using GSWP and Valdai data." Earth Interactions 5 (5-001): 31 pages [10.1175/1087-3562(2001)005<0001:RTSWAE>2.0.CO;2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "Influence of land surface fluxes on precipitation: Inferences from simulations forced with four ARM-CART SCM datasets." J. Climate 14 (17): 3666-3691 [10.1175/1520-0442(2001)014<3666:IOLSFO>2.0.CO;2] [Journal Article/Letter]

1999. "New snow-physics to complement SSiB. Part I: Design and evaluation with ISLSCP Initiative I datasets." J. Meteor. Soc. Japan 77 (1B): 335-348 [Full Text] [Journal Article/Letter]

1999. "New snow-physics to complement SSiB. Part II: Effects on soil moisture initialization and simulated surface fluxes, precipitation, and hydrology of GEOS II GCM." J. Meteor. Soc. Japan 77 (1B): 349-366 [Full Text] [Journal Article/Letter]

1998. "Comparison of a land surface model (SSiB) to three parameterizations of evapotranspiration - A study based on ISLSCP Initiative I data." Earth Interactions 2 (2-003): 35 pages [10.1175/1087-3562(1998)002<0001:COALSM>2.3.CO;2] [Journal Article/Letter]

1995. "Evaluation of fractional cloudiness parameterizations for use in a mesoscale model." J. Atmos. Sci. 52 (16): 2884-2901 [10.1175/1520-0469(1995)052<2884:EOFCPF>2.0.CO;2] [Journal Article/Letter]


2014. "Drought Prediction for Socio-Cultural Stability Project." NASA/TM-2014-218303 [Full Text] [Report]