Dr. Lahouari Bounoua joined NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Biospheric Sciences Branch in 1993 as a junior member of one of the finest and largest (1991-2000) Earth Observing Science (EOS) Interdisciplinary Science (IDS) group – The Sellers-Mooney ‘Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions’ group to work on the second version of the NASA’s Simple Biosphere model (SiB2) and its coupling and implementation into a global climate model. A unique feature of that work was the a priori incorporation of satellite information into the model formulation and data stream. This seminal work, followed the First Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and led to the first paper in 1996 published in Science simulating the interactions between global terrestrial vegetation and climate under different atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The publication of the SiB2 model formulation, along with its satellite generated biophysical data, was followed by an explosion of publications in the field of Biosphere-Atmosphere exchanges and the newly developed photosynthesis model was adopted by several research groups around the world. To date (July 2016), the SiB2 publication has been cited more than 1121 times in peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Bounoua continued to work on many aspects of the interactions between vegetation and climate and published several papers on the subject between 1996 and 2002 some of which have received noted public interest.
Dr. Bounoua’s work on the global patterns in human consumption of net primary production was published in Nature in 2004 and has since been widely cited more than 262 citations. In 2010 Dr. Bounoua published an original research quantifying the negative feedback of vegetation to greenhouse warming. This modeling approach showed that when leaf growth is allowed in vegetation with down-regulation of physiology under increased atmospheric CO2 concentration, the associated increase in precipitation contributes primarily to increase evapotranspiration and resulted in an additional cooling effect not fully accounted for in previous simulations with elevated CO2. This research was published in Geophysical Research Letters and highlighted in the journal Nature among the most viewed papers in science for the week of January 31, 2011. The work was also highlighted in Nature Geoscience and Nature Climate Change and several national and international media outlets.
Dr. Bounoua’s work on urbanization consisted by first including an urban canopy sub-model into the SiB2 model and testing it in different climate settings. In 2015, Dr. Bounoua led an interdisciplinary group to map urbanization and model its aggregate impact on U.S surface climate. A summary of this research was published in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) and was received with great enthusiasm both by the scientific community and the public at large. The paper has been selected by ERL editors, for the month of August 2015, and highlighted for its particular significance, advances made in the field, multidisciplinary interest, and scientific impact. The paper was also reported about in several media outlets around the world. Dr. Bounoua was invited by the Washington DC Mayer to attend the 2015 2015 Tree Summit: Greening the District through Collaboration.
The relevance of Dr. Bounoua’s work is reflected in the 3614 total citations of his papers averaging 151 citations per year and 93 citations per publication throughout his carrier. Dr. Bounoua’s h-index is 20.