Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Joseph Anthony Santanello


Joseph Anthony Santanello's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.286.7450
Org Code: 617
Mail Code 617
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio


Research Interests

Land-Atmosphere Coupling of Water and Energy Cycles

Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) Thermodynamics and Satellite Remote Sensing

Soil Moisture-PBL Interactions; Irrigation Modeling

Land Surface, PBL, and NWP/Mesoscale Modeling; Land Data Assimilation and Calibration                          

Research Highlights

Development and application of metrics and tools to quantify and improve understanding of Local Land-Atmosphere Coupling (LoCo) in models and observations. Over the last 15 years, leads the GEWEX LoCo working group focused on coordinating international efforts to diagnose and improve land-atmosphere interactions in models from local to global scales. During this time, the 'LoCo' brand and efforts have gained recognition both nationally and internationally in conferences and symposia and have inspired a new generation of young scientists to incorporate process-level research into model evaluation and development.

Land Team lead of the NASA Unified WRF (NU-WRF) modeling system, which includes coupling to NASA's Land Informaton System (LIS) and facilitates model-data fusion research in the realm of land data assimilation (e.g. soil moisture) and land surface model calibration (e.g. surface fluxes).  

Lead of GSFC working group supporting NASA's Decadal Survey Incubation efforts for the PBL, assessing current capabilities and limitations of satellite remote sensing to routinely monitor the PBL for land surface and land-atmosphere studies and modeling, including engagement of GSFC and mission science teams, as well as the PBL community in response to the 2017 Decadal Survey.

Extended visits and collaborations with operational modeling centers (ECMWF and UKMO) on studies of LoCo and land surface model development, including the incorporation of these models into NASA's Land Information System.


Ph.D. Geography, Boston University, January 2005

Dissertation: Estimation of Land Surface Energy Balance and Surface Properties Using Remotely-Sensed Observations of the Convective Planetary Boundary Layer

M.S. Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, May 1999

Thesis: Parameterization of Fractional Vegetation Cover and Near-Surface Soil Water Content in a Coupled Model and its Related Short-Term Forecast Implications

B.S. Meteorology, Rutgers University, Cook College, May 1996

Professional Experience

10/15-present: Lead of GSFC 'PBL from Space' working group and coordination of PBL related projects

11/08-present: Physical Scientist, Hydrological Sciences Branch, NASA-GSFC

11/08-present: Local Land-Atmosphere Coupling (LoCo); NASA NEWS

04/09-present: LIS Optimization and Uncertainty Study ; NASA AIST

05/09-present: NASA Unified WRF (NU-WRF) Project; NASA MAP

05/10-08/10: Visiting Scientist, United Kingdom Met Office

Land Surface Processes Group; Collaboration with Dr. Martin Best

02/08-05/08: Visiting Scientist, Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI)

Climate Research Division; Collaboration with Dr. Bart van den Hurk

01/05-11/08: Research Associate, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), Univ. Maryland, Hydrological Sciences Branch, NASA-GSFC

10/05-10/08: Local Land-Atmosphere Coupling (LoCo); NASA-NEWS

03/05-10/07: Army Remote Moisture System (ARMS); Army COE, USDA

02/05-10/08: Land-Atmosphere Interactions from MODIS and AIRS

01/05-09/05: NASA-GSFC Land Information System (LIS); GLDAS

09/01-12/04: Ph.D. Dissertation; NASA Earth System Science Fellowship

Department of Geography, Boston University; Advised by Dr. Mark A. Friedl

06/02: Volunteer, Soil Moisture Experiments (SMEX02 and SMAPVEX08)

USDA-ARS, Ames, IA and Kent Island, MD; Advised by Dr. Bill Kustas and Tom Jackson

06/01-08/01: NASA-GSFC Graduate Student Summer Program

Hydrological Sciences Branch; Mentored by Dr. Paul Houser and Dr. Matthew Rodell

06/97-06/99: Master of Science Thesis Penn State University; Advised by Dr. Toby N. Carlson and Dr. George S. Young

06/99-08/99: Web Course Designer, PSUBAMS Model Exercises

College of Academic Computing, The Pennsylvania State University

08/96-12/04: Meteorology Instructor and Observer The Pennsylvania State University, Salem State College, and Boston University

Professional Service

Co-Chair, GEWEX Global Land Atmosphere System Study (GLASS) Panel (2010-2014)

Editor, Earth Interactions (AMS; 2015-present)

Associate Editor, Journal of Hydrometeorology (2012-2015)

Project Lead, GEWEX-GLASS Local Land-Atmosphere Coupling (LoCo) Initiative (2008-present)

Member, WCRP Modeling Advisory Council (WMAC) (2012-2015)

Ex-Officio Member, WMO Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (WGNE; 2010-2014)

Member, AGU Hydrology Remote Sensing Technical Committee (2008-)

Member, AGU Large-Scale Field Experimentation Committee (2008-)

Convener, AGU Fall Meeting sessions on Land-Atmosphere Interactions (2009, 2011, 2014)

Coordinator, NASA Terrestrial Water Cycle (TWC) Seminar Series (2009-2012)

Mentor, NASA Graduate Student Summer Program (2009, 2012-2015)

Member, GSFC Summer Intern Placement Panel (2009, 2010)

Member, Review Panels: NASA NEWS, Decisions, COUND, ESSF, and U.S. DOE

Reviewer, AMS, AGU, and many other national and international journals

Honors and Awards

Early Career Achievement Medal, NASA Honor Awards (2012)

Scientific Achievement Award, NASA Hydrospheric and Biospheric Processes (HOBI) Lab, (2012, 2015, 2019)

Editor's Award, Journal of Hydrometeorology (2012)

GEWEX-iLEAPS Early Career Scientist Award, Melbourne, Australia (2009)

NASA Earth System Science Fellowship (2001-4)

Presidential University Graduate Fellowship, Boston University (2000)

High Honors, 4.0 GPA (Jr./Sr.), 8th in class; Rutgers University (1996)





2024. "Accurate Assessment of Land-Atmosphere Coupling in Climate Models Requires High Frequency Data Output." Geosci. Model Dev. 17 1869–1883 [10.5194/gmd-17-1869-2024] [Journal Article/Letter]

2024. "Irrigated Agriculture Significantly Modifies Seasonal Boundary Layer Atmosphere and Lower-Tropospheric Convective Environment." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 63 (2): 245-262 [] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Investigating the Response of Land-Atmosphere Interactions and Feedbacks to Spatial Representation of Irrigation in a Coupled Modeling Framework." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 27 2787–2805 [10.5194/egusphere-2023-91] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "A Methodology for Estimating the Energy and Moisture Budget of the Convective Boundary Layer Using Continuous Ground-Based Infrared Spectrometer Observations." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 62 (7): 901-914 [10.1175/jamc-d-22-0163.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Irrigation in the Earth system." Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 4 (7): 435-453 [10.1038/s43017-023-00438-5] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Surf, Turf, and Above the Earth: Unmet Needs for Coastal Air Quality Science in the Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL)." Earth's Future 11 (6): [10.1029/2023ef003535] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "A SmallSat Concept to Resolve Diurnal and Vertical Variations of Aerosols, Clouds, and Boundary Layer Height." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 104 (4): E815–E836 [10.1175/bams-d-21-0179.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Detail Enhancement of AIRS/AMSU Temperature and Moisture Profiles Using a 3D Deep Neural Network." Artificial Intelligence for the Earth Systems 1-34 [10.1175/aies-d-22-0037.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Advancing Atmospheric Thermodynamic Sounding from Space using Hyperspectral Microwave Measurements." IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 1-16 [10.1109/jstars.2023.3269697] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Assimilation of NASA's Airborne Snow Observatory Snow Measurements for Improved Hydrological Modeling: A Case Study Enabled by the Coupled LIS/WRF‐Hydro System." Water Resources Research 58 (3): e2021WR029867 [10.1029/2021wr029867] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Evaluating the impact of model resolutions and cumulus parameterization on precipitation in NU-WRF: A case study in the Central Great Plains." Environmental Modelling & Software 145 105184 [10.1016/j.envsoft.2021.105184] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The Inland Maintenance and Re-intensification of Tropical Storm Bill (2015) Part 2: Precipitation Microphysics." Journal of Hydrometeorology 22 (10): 2695–2711 [10.1175/jhm-d-20-0151.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Integrating continuous atmospheric boundary layer and tower-based flux measurements to advance understanding of land-atmosphere interactions." Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 307 108509 [10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108509] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Understanding the Impacts of Land Surface and PBL Observations on the Terrestrial and Atmospheric Legs of Land–Atmosphere Coupling." Journal of Hydrometeorology 22 (9): 2241-2258 [10.1175/jhm-d-20-0263.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The Great Plains Irrigation Experiment (GRAINEX)." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 102 (9): E1756-E1785 [10.1175/bams-d-20-0041.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "The Inland Maintenance and Reintensification of Tropical Storm Bill (2015) Part 1: Contributions of the Brown Ocean Effect." Journal of Hydrometeorology 22 (10): 2265 [10.1175/jhm-d-20-0150.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Evidence of warm core structure maintenance over land: a case study analysis of cyclone Kelvin." Environmental Research Communications 3 (4): 045004 [10.1088/2515-7620/abf39a] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Assimilation of lidar planetary boundary layer height observations." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 (2): 1099-1110 [10.5194/amt-14-1099-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Data Availability Principles and Practice." Earth Interactions 24 (5): 1 [10.1175/ei-d-20-0022.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Global evaluation of terrestrial near-surface air temperature and specific humidity retrievals from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS)." Remote Sensing of Environment 252 112146 [10.1016/j.rse.2020.112146] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Assessing the Impact of Soil Layer Depth Specification on the Observability of Modeled Soil Moisture and Brightness Temperature." Journal of Hydrometeorology 1-54 [10.1175/jhm-d-19-0280.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Increased Likelihood of Appreciable Afternoon Rainfall Over Wetter or Drier Soils Dependent Upon Atmospheric Dynamic Influence." Geophysical Research Letters 47 (11): [10.1029/2020gl087779] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Quantification of the Land Surface and Brown Ocean Influence on Tropical Cyclone Intensification over Land." Journal of Hydrometeorology 21 (6): 1171-1192 [10.1175/jhm-d-19-0214.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Impacts of irrigation on summertime temperatures in the Pacific Northwest." Earth Interactions 24 (1): 1-26 [10.1175/ei-d-19-0015.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Impact of Aerosols From Urban and Shipping Emission Sources on Terrestrial Carbon Uptake and Evapotranspiration: A Case Study in East Asia." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 125 (2): [10.1029/2019jd030818] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Aircraft observed diurnal variations of the planetary boundary layer under heat waves." Atmospheric Research 235 104801 [10.1016/j.atmosres.2019.104801] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Influence of Land Cover and Soil Moisture based Brown Ocean Effect on an Extreme Rainfall Event from a Louisiana Gulf Coast Tropical System." Scientific Reports 9 (1): 17136 [10.1038/s41598-019-53031-6] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Atmospheric boundary layer dynamics from balloon soundings worldwide: CLASS4GL v1.0." Geoscientific Model Development 12 (5): 2139-2153 [10.5194/gmd-12-2139-2019] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Understanding the Impacts of Soil Moisture Initial Conditions on NWP in the Context of Land–Atmosphere Coupling." Journal of Hydrometeorology 20 (5): 793-819 [10.1175/jhm-d-18-0186.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Development and Evaluation of a Long‐Term Data Record of Planetary Boundary Layer Profiles From Aircraft Meteorological Reports." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 124 (4): 2008-2030 [10.1029/2018jd029529] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Modeling Regional Pollution Transport Events During KORUS-AQ: Progress and Challenges in Improving Representation of Land-Atmosphere Feedbacks." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123 (18): 10,732-10,756 [10.1029/2018jd028554] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "A New Research Approach for Observing and Characterizing Land-Atmosphere Feedback." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 99 1639-1664 [10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0009.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Heterogeneity in Warm-Season Land-Atmosphere Coupling Over the U.S. Southern Great Plains." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123 (15): 7867-7882 [10.1029/2018jd028463] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Land-Atmosphere Interactions: The LoCo Perspective." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 99 (June): 1253-1272 [10.1175/bams-d-17-0001.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Verification of Land–Atmosphere Coupling in Forecast Models, Reanalyses, and Land Surface Models Using Flux Site Observations." Journal of Hydrometeorology 19 (2): 375-392 [10.1175/jhm-d-17-0152.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Estimating Evapotranspiration From Satellite Using Easily Obtainable Variables: A Case Study Over the Southern Great Plains, USA." IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 11 (1): 12-23 [10.1109/jstars.2017.2753723] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Irrigation Signals Detected From SMAP Soil Moisture Retrievals." Geophysical Research Letters 44 (23): 11,860-11,867 [10.1002/2017gl075733] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Using ARM Observations to Evaluate Climate Model Simulations of Land-Atmosphere Coupling on the U.S. Southern Great Plains." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122 (21): 11,524-11,548 [10.1002/2017jd027141] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Detecting the 2012 drought in the southeastern US with MODIS- and GRACE-based drought indicators." Remote Sensing of Hydro-Meteorological Hazards [Article in Book]

2017. "The impact of anthropogenic land use and land cover change on regional climate extremes." Nature Communications 8 (1): 989 [10.1038/s41467-017-01038-w] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Assessment of Irrigation Physics in a Land Surface ModelingFramework using Non-Traditional and Human-Practice Datasets." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 2953-2966 [10.5194/hess-2017-51] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Sensitivity of CONUS Summer Rainfall to the Selection of Cumulus Parameterization Schemes in NU-WRF Seasonal Simulations." Journal of Hydrometeorology 18 (6): 1689-1706 [10.1175/jhm-d-16-0120.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Estimating evaporative fraction from readily obtainable variables in mangrove forests of the Everglades, U.S.A." International Journal of Remote Sensing 38 (14): 3981-4007 [10.1080/01431161.2017.1312033] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Utility of Satellite Remote Sensing for Land–Atmosphere Coupling and Drought Metrics." Journal of Hydrometeorology 18 (3): 863-877 [10.1175/jhm-d-16-0171.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Confronting Weather and Climate Models with Observational Data from Soil Moisture Networks over the United States." Journal of Hydrometeorology 17 (4): 1049-1067 [10.1175/jhm-d-15-0196.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2016. "Impact of Soil Moisture Assimilation on Land Surface Model Spinup and Coupled Land-Atmosphere Prediction." Journal of Hydrometeorology 17 517-540 [10.1175/jhm-d-15-0072.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Evaluating the utility of satellite soil moisture retrievals over irrigated areas and the ability of land data assimilation methods to correct for unmodeled processes." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 19 (11): 4463-4478 [10.5194/hess-19-4463-2015] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "The Heated Condensation Framework. Part II: Climatological Behavior of Convective Initiation and Land–Atmosphere Coupling over the Conterminous United States." Journal of Hydrometeorology 16 (5): 1946-1961 [10.1175/jhm-d-14-0118.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "The Heated Condensation Framework. Part I: Description and Southern Great Plains Case Study." Journal of Hydrometeorology 16 (5): 1929-1945 [10.1175/jhm-d-14-0117.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "An intensified seasonal transition in the Central U.S. that enhances summer drought." J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 120 (17): 8804-8816 [10.1002/2014jd023013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Impact of urbanization on US surface climate." Environ. Res. Lett. 10 (8): 084010 [10.1088/1748-9326/10/8/084010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Quantifying the Land–Atmosphere Coupling Behavior in Modern Reanalysis Products over the U.S. Southern Great Plains." J. Climate 28 (14): 5813-5829 [10.1175/jcli-d-14-00680.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Integrated modeling of aerosol, cloud, precipitation and land processes at satellite-resolved scales." Environmental Modelling and Software 67 149-159 [Full Text] [doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2015.01.007] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "The Plumbing of Land Surface Models: Benchmarking Model Performance." Journal of Hydrometeorology, vol. 16, issue 3, pp. 1425-1442 16 1425 [Full Text] [10.1175/JHM-D-14-0158.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Evaluating the utility of satellite soil moisture retrievals over irrigated areas and the ability of land data assimilation methods to correct for unmodeled processes." Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions 12 5967 [Full Text] [10.5194/hessd-12-5967-2015] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Impact of irrigation methods on land surface model spinup and initialization of WRF forecasts." Journal of Hydrometeorology 16 1135-1154 [doi:10.1175/JHM-D-14-0203.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Assessing the Impact of L-Band Observations on Drought and Flood Risk Estimation: A Decision-Theoretic Approach in an OSSE Environment." J. Hydrometeor 15 (6): 2140-2156 [Full Text] [10.1175/JHM-D-13-0204.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Introducing multisensor satellite radiance-based evaluation for regional Earth System modeling." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119 (13): 8450-8475 [10.1002/2013JD021424] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Diagnosing the Nature of Land–Atmosphere Coupling: A Case Study of Dry/Wet Extremes in the U.S. Southern Great Plains." J. Hydrometeor. 14 (1): 3-24 [10.1175/JHM-D-12-023.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Impact of Land Model Calibration on Coupled Land–Atmosphere Prediction." J. Hydrometeor. 14 (5): 1373-1400 [10.1175/JHM-D-12-0127.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Effect of land cover on atmospheric processes and air quality over the continental United States – a NASA Unified WRF (NU-WRF) model study." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 13 (13): 6207-6226 [10.5194/acp-13-6207-2013] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Representation of Soil Moisture Feedbacks during Drought in NASA Unified WRF (NU-WRF)." J. Hydrometeor 14 (1): 360-367 [10.1175/JHM-D-12-069.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "A comparison of methods for a priori bias correction in soil moisture data assimilation." Water Resour. Res. 48 (3): W03515 [10.1029/2010WR010261] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Land surface Verification Toolkit (LVT) – a generalized framework for land surface model evaluation." Geosci. Model Dev. 5 (3): 869-886 [10.5194/gmd-5-869-2012] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Quantifying the change in soil moisture modeling uncertainty from remote sensing observations using Bayesian inference techniques." Water Resour. Res. 48 (11): W11514 [10.1029/2012WR012337] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Acceleration of Land Surface Model Development over a Decade of Glass." Bull Amer Meteor Soc 92 (12): 1593–1600 [10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00007.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Diagnosing the Sensitivity of Local Land-Atmosphere Coupling via the Soil Moisture-Boundary Layer Interaction." J. Hydrometeor. 12 766-786. [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Results from Local Land-Atmosphere Coupling (LoCo) Project." GEWEX Newsletter 21 (4): 7-9 [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Diagnosing the Sensitivity of Local Land–Atmosphere Coupling via the Soil Moisture–Boundary Layer Interaction." J. Hydrometeor 12 (5): 766-786 [10.1175/JHM-D-10-05014.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2009. "A modeling and observational framework for diagnosing local land-atmosphere coupling on diurnal time scales." J. Hydrometeorology 10 577-599. [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. "Convective Planetary Boundary Layer Interactions with the Land Surface at Diurnal Time Scales: Diagnostics and Feedbacks." J Hydrometeorol 8 (5): 1082-1097 [10.1175/JHM614.1] [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]

2005. "Empirical Investigation of Convective Planetary Boundary Layer Evolution and its Relationship with the Land Surface." J Appl Meteorol 44 (6): 917-932 [10.1175/JAM2240.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2003. "Diurnal Covariation in Soil Heat Flux and Net Radiation." J Appl Meteorol 42 (6): 851-862 [10.1175/1520-0450(2003)042<0851:DCISHF>2.0.CO;2] [Journal Article/Letter]

2001. "Mesoscale Simulation of Rapid Soil Drying and its Implications for Predicting Daytime Temperature." J Hydrometeor 2 71-88 [Journal Article/Letter]