Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Lesley E Ott



Org Code: 610.1

Mail Code: 610.1
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Employer: NASA

Brief Bio

Lesley Ott is a climate scientist with 20 years experience studying air pollution and greenhouse gases. She received her PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Maryland in 2006 and has been working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center ever since. She currently leads the carbon group within the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA’s center for understanding contemporary weather and climate using a family of advanced Earth system modeling tools. Her work focuses on using a combination of satellite data and numerical models to better understand the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases and how the processes that control them may change over time. She also coordinates a group of university and government scientists that aims to inform how future satellite missions can improve understanding of carbon pollution and public policy.


Research Meteorologist

Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

January 2011 - Present

Assistant Research Scientist

Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

October 2008 - January 2011

NASA Postdoctoral Fellow

Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

October 2006 - October 2008

Graduate Research Assistant

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park - College Park, MD

September 2000 - September 2006


Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science from the University of Maryland - College Park, 2006
Dissertation: An Analysis of Convective Transport, Lightning NOx Production, and Chemistry in Midlatitude and Subtropical Thunderstorms

M.Sc. in Meteorology from the University of Maryland - College Park, 2003

B.Sc. in Physical Sciences from the University of Maryland - College Park, 2000

Professional Service

Editor of Environmental Research Letters Special Collection on Carbon Monitoring Systems

US Global Change Research Program, State of Carbon Cycle Report 2 (SOCCR2), Chapter 8

Member of US Delegation to COP22, Marrakech, Morocco

Member of Earth Science and Applications from Space 2017 Decadal Survey – Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems and Natural Resource Management Panel

Member of NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, OCO, and GeoCarb Science Teams

Lead, Goddard Task Group on Changes in the Arctic and Boreal System (CABS)

Lead, Goddard Task Group on Urban Environments



Balashov, N. V., L. E. Ott, B. Weir, et al. S. Basu, K. J. Davis, N. L. Miles, A. M. Thompson, and R. M. Stauffer. 2023. Flood Impacts on Net Ecosystem Exchange in the Midwestern and Southern United States in 2019 Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 128 (18): [10.1029/2022jd037697]

Kopacz, M., V. Breeze, S. Kondragunta, et al. G. Frost, S. Anenberg, L. Bruhwiler, S. Davis, A. da Silva, J. de Gouw, R. Duren, L. Flynn, A. Gaudel, M. Geigert, G. Goldman, J. Joiner, B. McDonald, L. Ott, V.-H. Peuch, S. E. Pusede, I. Stajner, C. Seftor, C. Sweeney, L. C. Valin, J. Wang, J. Whetstone, and S. Kalluri. 2023. Global Atmospheric Composition Needs from Future Ultraviolet–Visible–Near-Infrared (UV–Vis–NIR) NOAA Satellite Instruments Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 104 (3): E623-E630 [10.1175/bams-d-22-0266.1]

Weir, B., T. Oda, L. E. Ott, and G. A. Schmidt. 2022. Assessing progress toward the Paris climate agreement from space Environmental Research Letters 17 (11): 111002 [10.1088/1748-9326/ac998c]

Jacob, D. J., D. J. Varon, D. H. Cusworth, et al. P. E. Dennison, C. Frankenberg, R. Gautam, L. Guanter, J. Kelley, J. McKeever, L. E. Ott, B. Poulter, Z. Qu, A. K. Thorpe, J. R. Worden, and R. M. Duren. 2022. Quantifying methane emissions from the global scale down to point sources using satellite observations of atmospheric methane Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 22 (14): 9617-9646 [10.5194/acp-22-9617-2022]

Chen, Y., S. Hantson, N. Andela, et al. S. R. Coffield, C. A. Graff, D. C. Morton, L. E. Ott, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, P. Smyth, M. L. Goulden, and J. T. Randerson. 2022. California wildfire spread derived using VIIRS satellite observations and an object-based tracking system Scientific Data 9 (1): 249 [10.1038/s41597-022-01343-0]

Zhang, Z., A. Chatterjee, L. Ott, et al. R. Reichle, A. F. Feldman, and B. Poulter. 2022. Effect of Assimilating SMAP Soil Moisture on CO2 and CH4 Fluxes through Direct Insertion in a Land Surface Model Remote Sensing 14 (10): 2405 [10.3390/rs14102405]

Knowland, K. E., C. A. Keller, P. A. Wales, et al. K. Wargan, L. Coy, M. S. Johnson, J. Liu, R. A. Lucchesi, S. D. Eastham, E. Fleming, Q. Liang, T. Leblanc, N. J. Livesey, K. A. Walker, L. E. Ott, and S. Pawson. 2022. NASA GEOS Composition Forecast Modeling System GEOS‐CF v1.0: Stratospheric composition Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 14 (e2021MS002852): [10.1029/2021ms002852]

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]

Boyd, P. T., E. L. Wilson, A. P. Smale, et al. P. Supsinskas, T. A. Livengood, T. Hewagama, G. L. Villanueva, A. Marshak, N. A. Krotkov, P. Pokorny, J. Bixler, J. D. Noland, G. Ramu, P. Cleveland, J. Ganino, M. Jhabvala, E. Quintana, E. Gilbert, K. Colón, G. N. Arney, S. D. Domagal-Goldman, A. Mandell, T. Barclay, M. Kuchner, and L. Ott. 2022. EarthShine: Observing our world as an exoplanet from the surface of the Moon Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 8 (01): 014003 [10.1117/1.jatis.8.1.014003]

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]

Davis, K. J., E. V. Browell, S. Feng, et al. T. Lauvaux, M. D. Obland, S. Pal, B. C. Baier, D. F. Baker, I. T. Baker, Z. R. Barkley, K. W. Bowman, Y. Y. Cui, A. S. Denning, J. P. DiGangi, J. T. Dobler, A. Fried, T. Gerken, K. Keller, B. Lin, A. R. Nehrir, C. P. Normile, C. W. O’Dell, L. E. Ott, A. Roiger, A. E. Schuh, C. Sweeney, Y. Wei, B. Weir, M. Xue, and C. A. Williams. 2021. The Atmospheric Carbon and Transport (ACT)-America Mission Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 102 (9): E1714-E1734 [10.1175/bams-d-20-0300.1]

Chini, L., G. Hurtt, R. Sahajpal, et al. S. Frolking, K. Klein Goldewijk, S. Sitch, R. Ganzenmüller, L. Ma, L. Ott, J. Pongratz, and B. Poulter. 2021. Land-use harmonization datasets for annual global carbon budgets Earth System Science Data 13 (8): 4175-4189 [10.5194/essd-13-4175-2021]

Kuze, A., Y. Ikehata, N. Kikuchi, et al. F. Kataoka, K. Shiomi, K. Jucks, D. Crisp, B. Weir, and L. Ott. 2021. COVID-19 Impact Monitoring for Climate Environment (Greenhouse Gases) 2021 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium IGARSS [10.1109/igarss47720.2021.9554328]

Lagomasino, D., T. Fatoyinbo, E. Castañeda-Moya, et al. B. D. Cook, P. M. Montesano, C. S. Neigh, L. A. Corp, L. E. Ott, S. Chavez, and D. C. Morton. 2021. Storm surge and ponding explain mangrove dieback in southwest Florida following Hurricane Irma Nature Communications 12 (1): 4003 [10.1038/s41467-021-24253-y]

Weir, B., L. E. Ott, G. J. Collatz, et al. S. R. Kawa, B. Poulter, A. Chatterjee, T. Oda, and S. Pawson. 2021. Bias-correcting carbon fluxes derived from land-surface satellite data for retrospective and near-real-time assimilation systems Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 21 9609–9628 [10.5194/acp-21-9609-2021]

Keller, C. A., K. E. Knowland, B. N. Duncan, et al. J. Liu, D. C. Anderson, S. Das, R. A. Lucchesi, E. W. Lundgren, J. M. Nicely, E. Nielsen, L. E. Ott, E. Saunders, S. A. Strode, P. A. Wales, D. J. Jacob, and S. Pawson. 2021. Description of the NASA GEOS Composition Forecast Modeling System GEOS‐CF v1.0 Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 13 (4): [10.1029/2020ms002413]

Rousseaux, C. S., W. W. Gregg, and L. Ott. 2021. Assessing the Skills of a Seasonal Forecast of Chlorophyll in the Global Pelagic Oceans Remote Sensing 13 (6): 1051 [10.3390/rs13061051]

Tao, Z., S. R. Kawa, J. P. Jacob, et al. D. Y. Liu, G. J. Collatz, J. S. Wang, L. E. Ott, and M. Chin. 2020. Application of NASA-Unified WRF model to carbon dioxide simulation- model development and evaluation Environmental Modelling & Software 132 104785 [10.1016/j.envsoft.2020.104785]

Chen, Y., J. T. Randerson, S. R. Coffield, et al. E. Foufoula‐Georgiou, P. Smyth, C. A. Graff, D. C. Morton, N. Andela, G. R. Werf, L. Giglio, and L. E. Ott. 2020. Forecasting Global Fire Emissions on Subseasonal to Seasonal (S2S) Time Scales Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 12 (9): [10.1029/2019ms001955]

Lee, E., F. Zeng, R. D. Koster, et al. L. E. Ott, S. P. Mahanama, B. Weir, B. Poulter, and T. Oda. 2020. Impact of a Regional US Drought on Land and Atmospheric Carbon Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 125 (8): [10.1029/2019jg005599]

Taillie, P., R. Roman-Cuesta, D. Lagomasino, et al. L. E. Fatoyinbo Agueh, M. Cifuentes-Jara, L. E. Ott, and B. Poulter. 2020. Widespread mangrove damage resulting from the 2017 Atlantic Mega Hurricane Season Environmental Research Letters [10.1088/1748-9326/ab82cf]

Duncan, B. N., L. E. Ott, J. B. Abshire, et al. L. Brucker, M. L. Carroll, J. Carton, J. C. Comiso, E. P. Dinnat, B. C. Forbes, A. Gonsamo, W. W. Gregg, D. K. Hall, I. Ialongo, R. Jandt, R. A. Kahn, A. Karpechko, S. R. Kawa, S. Kato, T. Kumpula, E. Kyrölä, T. V. Loboda, K. C. McDonald, P. M. Montesano, R. Nassar, C. S. Neigh, C. L. Parkinson, B. Poulter, J. Pulliainen, K. Rautiainen, B. M. Rogers, C. S. Rousseaux, A. J. Soja, N. Steiner, J. Tamminen, P. C. Taylor, M. A. Tzortziou, H. Virta, J. S. Wang, J. D. Watts, D. M. Winker, and D. L. Wu. 2020. Space‐Based Observations for Understanding Changes in the Arctic‐Boreal Zone Reviews of Geophysics 58 (1): 2019RG000652 [10.1029/2019rg000652]

Palmer, P. I., E. L. Wilson, G. L. Villanueva, et al. G. Liuzzi, L. Feng, A. J. DiGregorio, J. Mao, L. Ott, and B. Duncan. 2019. Potential improvements in global carbon flux estimates from a network of laser heterodyne radiometer measurements of column carbon dioxide Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 12 (4): 2579-2594 [10.5194/amt-12-2579-2019]

Jacobson, A. R., J. B. Miller, A. Ballantyne, et al. S. Basu, L. Bruhwiler, A. Chatterjee, S. Denning, and L. E. Ott. 2018. Chapter 8: Observations of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Methane. Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report [10.7930/soccr2.2018.ch8]

Lee, E., F. Zeng, R. D. Koster, et al. B. Weir, L. E. Ott, and B. Poulter. 2018. The impact of spatiotemporal variability in atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> concentration on global terrestrial carbon fluxes Biogeosciences 15 5635-5652 [10.5194/bg-15-5635-2018]

Knowland, K. E., R. M. Doherty, K. I. Hodges, and L. E. Ott. 2017. The influence of mid-latitude cyclones on European background surface ozone Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17 (20): 12421-12447 [10.5194/acp-17-12421-2017]

Knowland, K. E., L. E. Ott, B. N. Duncan, and K. Wargan. 2017. Stratospheric intrusion-influenced ozone air quality exceedances investigated in the NASA MERRA-2 Reanalysis Geophysical Research Letters 44 (10): 691–10,701 [10.1002/2017gl074532]

Ott, L. E., B. N. Duncan, A. M. Thompson, et al. G. Diskin, Z. Fasnacht, A. O. Langford, M. Lin, A. M. Molod, J. E. Nielsen, S. E. Pusede, K. Wargan, A. J. Weinheimer, and Y. Yoshida. 2016. Frequency and impact of summertime stratospheric intrusions over Maryland during DISCOVER-AQ (2011): New evidence from NASA's GEOS-5 simulations J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. [10.1002/2015jd024052]

Melroy, H. R., E. L. Wilson, G. B. Clarke, et al. L. E. Ott, J. Mao, A. K. Ramanathan, and M. L. McLinden. 2015. Autonomous field measurements of CO2 in the atmospheric column with the miniaturized laser heterodyne radiometer (Mini-LHR) Appl. Phys. B 120 (4): 609-615 [10.1007/s00340-015-6172-3]

McGrath-Spangler, E. L., A. M. Molod, L. E. Ott, and S. Pawson. 2015. Impact of planetary boundary layer turbulence on model climate and tracer transport Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15 (13): 7269-7286 [10.5194/acp-15-7269-2015]

Ott, L. E., S. Pawson, G. J. Collatz, et al. W. W. Gregg, D. Menemenlis, H. Brix, C. S. Rousseaux, K. W. Bowman, J. Liu, A. Eldering, M. R. Gunson, and S. R. Kawa. 2015. Assessing the magnitude of CO2 flux uncertainty in atmospheric CO2 records using products from NASA's Carbon Monitoring Flux Pilot Project Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres 120 734-765 [doi:10.1002/2014JD022411]

Liu, J., K. W. Bowman, M. Lee, et al. D. K. Henze, N. Bousserez, H. Brix, G. J. Collatz, D. Menemenlis, L. E. Ott, S. Pawson, D. Jones, and R. Nassar. 2014. Carbon monitoring system flux estimation and attribution: impact of ACOS-GOSAT X CO₂ sampling on the inference of terrestrial biospheric sources and sinks Tellus B 66 22486 [10.3402/tellusb.v66.22486]

Lyapustin, A. I., M. J. Alexander, L. E. Ott, et al. A. M. Molod, B. N. Holben, J. Susskind, and Y. Wang. 2014. Observation of mountain lee waves with MODIS NIR column water vapor Geophys. Res. Lett. 41 (2): 710-716 [10.1002/2013GL058770]

Wilson, E. L., M. L. Mclinden, J. H. Miller, et al. G. R. Allan, L. E. Ott, H. Melroy, and G. B. Clarke. 2013. Miniaturized laser heterodyne radiometer for measurements of CO2 in the atmospheric column Applied Physics B 114 (3): 385-393 [10.1007/s00340-013-5531-1]

Tangborn, A., L. L. Strow, B. Imbiriba, L. Ott, and S. Pawson. 2013. Evaluation of a new middle-lower tropospheric CO₂ product using data assimilation Atmos. Chem. Phys. 13 (9): 4487-4500 [10.5194/acp-13-4487-2013]

Strode, S. A., L. E. Ott, S. Pawson, and T. Bowyer. 2012. Emission and transport of cesium-137 from boreal biomass burning in the summer of 2010 JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES 117 [10.1029/2011JD017382]

Allen, M., D. Erickson, W. Kendall, et al. J. Fu, L. Ott, and S. Pawson. 2012. The influence of internal model variability in GEOS-5 on interhemispheric CO<sub>2</sub> exchange J. Geophys. Res. 117 (D10): D10107 [10.1029/2011JD017059]

Ott, L., S. Pawson, and J. Bacmeister. 2011. An analysis of the impact of convective parameter sensitivity on simulated global atmospheric CO distributions J. Geophys. Res. 116 (D21): D21310 [10.1029/2011JD016077]

Liang, Q., R. S. Stolarski, S. Kawa, et al. J. Nielsen, A. R. Douglass, J. M. Rodriguez, D. Blake, E. Atlas, and L. Ott. 2010. Finding the missing stratospheric Br<sub>y</sub>: a global modeling study of CHBr₃ and CH₂Br₂ Atmos. Chem. Phys. 10 (5): 2269-2286 [10.5194/acp-10-2269-2010]

Ott, L., B. N. Duncan, S. Pawson, et al. P. Colarco, M. Chin, C. A. Randles, T. Diehl, and E. Nielsen. 2010. Influence of the 2006 Indonesian biomass burning aerosols on tropical dynamics studied with the GEOS-5 AGCM J Geophys Res 115 (D14): D14121 [10.1029/2009JD013181]

Ott, L., K. E. Pickering, G. Stenchikov, et al. D. Allen, A. DeCaria, B. Ridley, R. Lin, S. Lang, and W. Tao. 2010. Production of lightning NO<sub><i>x</i></sub> and its vertical distribution calculated from three-dimensional cloud-scale chemical transport model simulations J. Geophys. Res. 115 (D4): D04301 [10.1029/2009JD011880]

Ott, L. E., J. T. Bacmeister, S. Pawson, et al. K. E. Pickering, G. Stenchikov, M. J. Suarez, H. Huntreiser, M. Loewenstein, J. Lopez, and I. Xueref-Remy. 2009. Analysis of Convective Transport and Parameter Sensitivity in a Single Column Version of the Goddard Earth Observation System, Version 5, General Circulation Model J. Atmos. Sci. 66 (3): 627-646 [10.1175/2008JAS2694.1]

Barth, M. C., S.-W. Kim, C. Wang, et al. K. E. Pickering, L. E. Ott, G. Stenchikov, M. Leriche, S. Cautenet, J.-P. Pinty, C. Barthe, C. Mari, J. Helsdon, R. Farley, A. M. Fridlind, A. S. Ackerman, V. Spiridonov, and B. Telenta. 2007. Cloud-scale model intercomparison of chemical constituent transport in deep convection Atmos Chem Phys 7 4709-4731 [10.5194/acp-7-4709-2007]

DeCaria, A. J., K. E. Pickering, G. L. Stenchikov, and L. E. Ott. 2005. Lightning-generated NO X and its impact on tropospheric ozone production: A three-dimensional modeling study of a Stratosphere-Troposphere Experiment: Radiation, Aerosols and Ozone (STERAO-A) thunderstorm J. Geophys. Res. 110 (D14): D14303 [10.1029/2004JD005556]

Stenchikov, G., L. Ott, J. Scala, et al. W.-K. Tao, A. DeCaria, K. Pickering, D. Bartels, and T. Matejka. 2005. Simulation of the fine structure of the 12 July 1996 Stratosphere-Troposphere Experiment: Radiation Aerosols and Ozone (STERAO-A) storm accounting for effects of terrain and interaction with mesoscale flow J Geophys Res 110 (D14304): [0.1029/2004JD005582]

Ridley, B., L. Ott, L. Emmons, et al. D. Montzka, A. Weinheimer, D. Knapp, F. Grahek, L. Li, M. J. Mcgill, P. Kucera, M. J. Mahoney, G. M. Heymsfield, and G. Brasseur. 2004. Florida thunderstorms: A faucet of reactive nitrogen to the upper troposphere J. Geophys. Res. 109 (D17): DI7305 [10.1029/2004JD004769]


Weir, B., and L. E. Ott. 2022. OCO-2 GEOS Level 3 monthly, 0.5x0.625 assimilated CO2 V10r <a href="">Product User's Guide (Version 1.0)</a> Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) Greenbelt, MD, USA [10.5067/BGFIODET3HZ8]

Weir, B., and L. E. Ott. 2022. OCO-2 GEOS Level 3 daily, 0.5x0.625 assimilated CO2 V10r <a href="">Product User's Guide (Version 1.0)</a> Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) Greenbelt, MD, USA [10.5067/Y9M4NM9MPCGH]

Duncan, B., L. Ott, and C. Parkinson. 2020. Insights from Space: Satellite Observations of Arctic Change Eos 101 [10.1029/2020eo136294]

Gelaro, R., W. M. Putman, S. Pawson, et al. C. S. Draper, A. M. Molod, P. M. Norris, L. E. Ott, N. C. Privé, O. Reale, D. Achuthavarier, M. G. Bosilovich, V. J. Buchard, W. C. Chao, L. Coy, R. I. Cullather, A. M. Da Silva, A. S. Darmenov, R. M. Errico, M. Fuentes, M.-J. Kim, R. D. Koster, W. R. Mccarty, J. Nattala, G. S. Partyka, S. D. Schubert, G. R. Vernieres, Y. V. Vikhliaev, and K. Wargan. 2015. Evaluation of the 7-km GEOS-5 Nature Run NASA Technical Report Series on Global Modeling and Data Assimilation 36 (NASA/TM-2014-104606):