Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Frederick S Policelli


Frederick S Policelli's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6573
Org Code: 617
Mail Code 617
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Policelli is a member of the NASA GSFC Hydrological Sciences Laboratory, where he is engaged in research and applications including surface water and flood water mapping.  Dr. Policelli studied mechanical engineering and worked in propulsion systems development and testing during his early career.  Dr. Policelli has extensive experience in applied sciences, systems engineering, and project management. Currently, Dr. Policelli is Principal Investigator on a NASA mission concept development project and Co-Investigator on a NASA Applied Sciences funded project that develops near real time global to regional scale flood mapping products with the goal of extending the results to operational partners for use in disaster management.  Dr. Policelli recently completed his PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Research Interests

Water Balance

Earth Science: Analysis

Basin-level water balance analyses on a global basis.

Surface Water Extent and Flood Mapping

Earth Science: Analysis

Near real time, global water and flood extent mapping for disaster management and related research and analysis.

Flood Modeling

Earth Science: Analysis

Near real time, basin level flood modeling for disaster management and related research and analysis.

Current Projects

Global Flood Mapping


Near real time global surface water extent and flood mapping for disaster management and research use.

Vegetation Optical Depth retrieval from active and passive microwave data

Remote Sensing

Mission concept development

Teaching Experience

Student mentoring as part of the NASA Applied Sciences Program's DEVELOP project.


Project Engineer

Pratt & Whitney Division of United Technologies, Inc. - East Hartford, CT

April 1987 - April 1991

Development of commercial jet engines.

Systems Engineer/Test Director

NASA SSC Propulsion Test Directorate - Stennis Space Center, MS

May 1991 - April 1998

Development, operation, and managment of propulsion test stands.

Project Manager

NASA SSC Applied Sciences Directorate - Stennis Space Center, MS

April 1998 - October 2005

Management of projects related to development of applications of remote sensing data and establishing a U.S. commercial remote sensing business sector.  This position included details served in the U.S. Senate, NASA HQ, and NASA GSFC.

AST, Technical Management

NASA GSFC Office of Applied Sciences - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

October 2005 - October 2015

Mr. Policelli served as deputy to the chief of the NASA GSFC Office of Applied Sciences, where he provides leadership in center efforts to transition NASA research results to operational end-users for societal benefit.

Physical Scientist

NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center

October 2015 - Present

Dr. Policelli conducts research and applications development in the NASA GSFC Hydrological Science Lab


1986 B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University,(Ithaca, NY)

1990 M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Hartford Graduate Center, (Hartford,CT)

2018 Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University Earth and Planetary Sciences Department (Baltimore, MD)

Selected Publications


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. "A predictive model for Lake Chad total surface water area using remotely sensed and modeled hydrological and meteorological parameters and multivariate regression analysis." Journal of Hydrology 568 1071-1080 [10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.11.037] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Lake Chad Total Surface Water Area as Derived from Land Surface Temperature and Radar Remote Sensing Data." Remote Sensing 10 (2): [10.3390/rs10020252] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Upper Blue Nile Basin Water Budget from a Multi-Model Perspective." Journal of Hydrology [10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.10.040] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Biomass burning, land-cover change, and the hydrological cycle in Northern sub-Saharan Africa." Environmental Research Letters 11 (9): 095005 [10.1088/1748-9326/11/9/095005] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Unlocking the full potential of Earth observation during the 2015 Texas flood disaster." Water Resources Research 52 (5): 3288-3293 [10.1002/2015wr018428] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "An integrated modeling system for estimating glacier and snow melt driven streamflow from remote sensing and earth system data products in the Himalayas." Journal of Hydrology 519 (Part B): 1859-1869 [10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.09.050] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Flood extent mapping for Namibia using change detection and thresholding with SAR ." Environ. Res. Lett. 9 (3): 035002 [10.1088/1748-9326/9/3/035002] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Microwave Satellite Data for Hydrologic Modeling in Ungauged Basins." IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters 9 (4): 663-667 [10.1109/lgrs.2011.2177807] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Evaluation of Global Flood Detection Using Satellite-Based Rainfall and a Hydrologic Model." J. Hydrometeorology 13 (4): 1268-1284 [10.1175/JHM-D-11-087.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "The coupled routing and excess storage (CREST) distributed hydrological model." Hydrological Sciences Journal 56 (1): 84-98 [10.1080/02626667.2010.543087] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Hydroclimatology of Lake Victoria region using hydrologic model and satellite remote sensing data." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 15 (1): 107-117 [10.5194/hess-15-107-2011] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Satellite Remote Sensing and Hydrologic Modeling for Flood Inundation Mapping in Lake Victoria Basin: Implications for Hydrologic Prediction in Ungauged Basins." IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 49 (1): 85-95 [10.1109/tgrs.2010.2057513] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "Observed and simulated hydroclimatology using distributed hydrologic model from in-situ and multi-satellite remote sensing datasets in Lake Victoria region in East Africa." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions 7 (4): 4785-4816 [10.5194/hessd-7-4785-2010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2010. "HIMALA: Climate Impacts on Glaciers, Snow, and Hydrology in the Himalayan Region." Mountain Research and Development 30 (4): 401-404 [10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-10-00071.1] [Journal Article/Letter]


2017. "The NASA Global Flood Mapping System." Remote Sensing of Hydrological Extremes 47-63 [DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-43744-6_3] [Article in Book]