Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Jana Kolassa



Org Code: 610.1

Mail Code: 610.1
Greenbelt, MD 20771



Senior Scientific Programmer / Research Scientist

Science Systems and Applications Inc. - Lanham, MD

November 2020 - Present

  • Scientific development of the NASA GMAO land model and land data assimilation systems with particular focus on the dynamic vegetation as well as carbon and nitrogen cycle components included in the experimental Catchment-CN model
  • Assessment of the impact of land data assimilation on model prediction skill with particular focus on the impact of soil moisture assimilation on tropical cyclones

Research Scientist

Universities Space Research Association / Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research - Columbia, MD

February 2017 - December 2020

- Calibration of the NASA Catchment-CN model parameters to improve modeled vegetation phenology and physiology

- Joint assimilation of SMAP soil moisture and MODIS vegetation information into the NASA Catchment-CN land surface model for the generation of improved hydrological fields and surface flux estimates

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (NASA Postdoctoral Program, NPP)

Universities Space Research Association - Columbia, MD

February 2015 - February 2017

- Development of Neural Network soil moisture retrieval algorithm for the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission

- Investigation of new bias correction techniques for the assimilation of SMAP soil moisture observations into the NASA Catchment model

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Columbia University, Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering - New York, NY

February 2014 - February 2015

- Development of a Neural Network based microwave only soil moisture retrieval product from AMSR-E and ASCAT observations


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Environmental Science and Remote Sensing

Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6), Paris, France

Thesis: Soil moisture retrieval from multi-instrument satellite observations

Supervisors: Dr. Filipe Aires, Dr. Catherine Prigent


Master of Science (MSc)

Space Science and Technology

Luleå University of Technology, Kiruna Sweden

September 2008 - June 2010

Thesis: Investigation of cloud ice water content retrieval from active satellite observations


Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Aerospace Engineering

Technical University Delft, Delft, The Netherlands

September 2005 - June 2008

Thesis: Design of an advanced space-based interferometer at 22 GHz





Reichle, R. H., S. Q. Zhang, J. Kolassa, Q. Liu, and R. Todling. 2023. A Weakly-Coupled Land Surface Analysis With SMAP Radiance Assimilation Improves GEOS Medium-Range Forecasts of Near-Surface Air Temperature and Humidity Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 149 1867-1889 [10.1002/qj.4486]

Kumar, S., J. Kolassa, R. Reichle, et al. W. Crow, G. de Lannoy, P. de Rosnay, N. MacBean, M. Girotto, A. Fox, T. Quaife, C. Draper, B. Forman, G. Balsamo, S. Steele‐Dunne, C. Albergel, B. Bonan, J. Calvet, J. Dong, H. Liddy, and B. Ruston. 2022. An Agenda for Land Data Assimilation Priorities: Realizing the Promise of Terrestrial Water, Energy, and Vegetation Observations From Space Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 14 (11): e2022MS003259 [10.1029/2022ms003259]

Lee, E., R. D. Koster, L. E. Ott, et al. J. Joiner, F. Zeng, J. Kolassa, R. H. Reichle, K. R. Arsenault, A. Hazra, and S. Shukla. 2022. Skillful Seasonal Forecasts of Land Carbon Uptake in Northern Mid‐ and High Latitudes Geophysical Research Letters 49 (6): e2021GL097117 [10.1029/2021GL097117]

MacBean, N., H. Liddy, T. Quaife, J. Kolassa, and A. Fox. 2022. Building a Land Data Assimilation Community to Tackle Technical Challenges in Quantifying and Reducing Uncertainty in Land Model Predictions Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 103 (3): E733-E740 [10.1175/bams-d-21-0228.1]

Weir, B., D. Crisp, C. W. O’Dell, et al. S. Basu, A. Chatterjee, J. Kolassa, T. Oda, S. Pawson, B. Poulter, Z. Zhang, P. Ciais, S. J. Davis, Z. Liu, and L. E. Ott. 2021. Regional impacts of COVID-19 on carbon dioxide detected worldwide from space Science Advances 7 (45): eabf9415 [10.1126/sciadv.abf9415]

Reichle, R., S. Zhang, Q. Liu, et al. C. Draper, J. Kolassa, and R. Todling. 2021. Assimilation of SMAP Brightness Temperature Observations in the GEOS Land-Atmosphere Data Assimilation System IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 14 10628-10643 [10.1109/jstars.2021.3118595]

Kolassa, J., R. H. Reichle, R. D. Koster, et al. Q. Liu, S. Mahanama, and F. Zeng. 2020. An observation‐driven approach to improve vegetation phenology in a global land surface model Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 12 e2020MS002083 [10.1029/2020ms002083]

Reichle, R. H., Q. Liu, R. D. Koster, et al. W. T. Crow, G. J. De Lannoy, J. S. Kimball, J. V. Ardizzone, D. Bosch, A. Colliander, M. Cosh, J. Kolassa, S. P. Mahanama, J. Prueger, P. Starks, and J. P. Walker. 2019. Version 4 of the SMAP Level‐4 Soil Moisture Algorithm and Data Product Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 11 (10): 3106-3130 [10.1029/2019ms001729]

Alemohammad, S. H., J. Kolassa, C. Prigent, F. Aires, and P. Gentine. 2018. Global Downscaling of Remotely-Sensed Soil Moisture using Neural Networks Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions 1-19 [10.5194/hess-2017-680]

Kolassa, J., R. Reichle, Q. Liu, et al. S. Alemohammad, P. Gentine, K. Aida, J. Asanuma, S. Bircher, T. Caldwell, A. Colliander, M. Cosh, C. Holifield Collins, T. Jackson, J. Martínez-Fernández, H. McNairn, A. Pacheco, M. Thibeault, and J. Walker. 2018. Estimating surface soil moisture from SMAP observations using a Neural Network technique Remote Sensing of Environment 204 43-59 [10.1016/j.rse.2017.10.045]

Reichle, R. H., G. J. De Lannoy, Q. Liu, et al. R. D. Koster, J. Kimball, W. Crow, J. V. Ardizzone, P. Chakraborty, D. W. Collins, A. L. Conaty, M. Girotto, L. Jones, J. Kolassa, H. P. Lievens, R. A. Lucchesi, and E. B. Smith. 2017. Global Assessment of the SMAP Level-4 Surface and Root-Zone Soil Moisture Product Using Assimilation Diagnostics Journal of Hydrometeorology 18 3217-3237 [10.1175/JHM-D-17-0130.1]

Kolassa, J., R. Reichle, Q. Liu, et al. M. Cosh, D. Bosch, T. Caldwell, A. Colliander, C. Holifield Collins, T. Jackson, S. Livingston, M. Moghaddam, and P. Starks. 2017. Data Assimilation to Extract Soil Moisture Information from SMAP Observations Remote Sensing 9 (11): 1179 [10.3390/rs9111179]

Alemohammad, S. H., B. Fang, A. G. Konings, et al. F. Aires, J. K. Green, J. Kolassa, D. Miralles, C. Prigent, and P. Gentine. 2017. Water, Energy, and Carbon with Artificial Neural Networks (WECANN): a statistically based estimate of global surface turbulent fluxes and gross primary productivity using solar-induced fluorescence Biogeosciences 14 (18): 4101-4124 [10.5194/bg-14-4101-2017]

Kolassa, J., P. Gentine, C. Prigent, F. Aires, and S. Alemohammad. 2017. Soil moisture retrieval from AMSR-E and ASCAT microwave observation synergy. Part 2: Product evaluation Remote Sensing of Environment 195 202-217 [10.1016/j.rse.2017.04.020]

Green, J. K., A. G. Konings, S. H. Alemohammad, et al. J. Berry, D. Entekhabi, J. Kolassa, J.-E. Lee, and P. Gentine. 2017. Regionally strong feedbacks between the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere Nature Geoscience [10.1038/ngeo2957]

Kolassa, J., R. Reichle, and C. Draper. 2017. Merging active and passive microwave observations in soil moisture data assimilation Remote Sensing of Environment 191 117-130 [10.1016/j.rse.2017.01.015]

Kolassa, J., P. Gentine, C. Prigent, and F. Aires. 2016. Soil moisture retrieval from AMSR-E and ASCAT microwave observation synergy. Part 1: Satellite data analysis Remote Sensing of Environment 173 1-14 [10.1016/j.rse.2015.11.011]

Rodriguez-Fernandez, N. J., F. Aires, P. Richaume, et al. Y. H. Kerr, C. Prigent, J. Kolassa, F. Cabot, C. Jimenez, A. Mahmoodi, and M. Drusch. 2015. Soil Moisture Retrieval Using Neural Networks: Application to SMOS IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 53 (11): 5991-6007 [10.1109/tgrs.2015.2430845]

Foley, A. M., D. Dalmonech, A. D. Friend, et al. F. Aires, A. T. Archibald, P. Bartlein, L. Bopp, J. Chappellaz, P. Cox, N. R. Edwards, G. Feulner, P. Friedlingstein, S. P. Harrison, P. O. Hopcroft, C. D. Jones, J. Kolassa, J. G. Levine, I. C. Prentice, J. Pyle, N. Vázquez Riveiros, E. W. Wolff, and S. Zaehle. 2013. Evaluation of biospheric components in Earth system models using modern and palaeo-observations: the state-of-the-art Biogeosciences 10 (12): 8305-8328 [10.5194/bg-10-8305-2013]

Jiménez, C., D. B. Clark, J. Kolassa, F. Aires, and C. Prigent. 2013. A joint analysis of modeled soil moisture fields and satellite observations Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118 (12): 6771-6782 [10.1002/jgrd.50430]

Kolassa, J., F. Aires, J. Polcher, et al. C. Prigent, C. Jimenez, and J. M. Pereira. 2013. Soil moisture retrieval from multi-instrument observations: Information content analysis and retrieval methodology Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118 (10): 4847-4859 [10.1029/2012jd018150]