Dr. Kenneth Jon Ranson

Dr. Kenneth Jon Ranson

  • 301.614.6650 | 301.614.6695
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 618
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Brief Bio

    Jon Ranson is a Senior Scientist with the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He received the B.S. degree in Watershed Sciences and M.S. degree in Earth Resources from Colorado State University where his graduate research involved geologic and forest cover mapping. He later joined the Laboratory for Applications of Remote Sensing (LARS) at Purdue University where he earned the Ph. D. degree. His Doctoral research quantified bidirectional reflectance characteristics of agricultural crops. In 1986, Dr. Ranson joined the Biospheric Sciences Branch where he has developed remote sensing linkages to forest ecosystem models and conducted optical and radar research while leading several domestic and international NASA projects. He also served as the Deputy Project scientist and Project Scientist of the EOS Terra Mission, was the science lead on the DESDynI lidar concept. His current research is focused on active and passive remote sensing of ecosystem dynamics of the boreal forest, especially in Siberia. He served as Chief of the Biospheric Science Laboratory from 2003-2014 and twice served as an acting NASA HQ Program Manager. He has authored and co-authored over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and was awarded a NASA Leadership Medal, Goddard Exceptional Supervisor Award and numerous Goddard performance awards. He is a member of IEEE GRSS AGU, AAAS and is an adjunct faculty for Johns Hopkins University.

    Research Interests

    Forest dynamics monitoring


    Active and passive optical and microwave research for ecosystem analysis


    Three dimensional ecosystem structure measurements and modeling


    Current Projects

    A high-resolution circumpolar delineation of the forest-tundra ecotone with implications for carbon balance

    The objective of this study was to define a taiga-to-tundra transition zone at the northern edge of the circumpolar boreal forest to replace or augment existing tree lines in the hope that such an ecotone map might provide a more realistic benchmark for subsequent studies investigating the effects of climate change in the far north.

    The TTE is not a distinct edge but a transition zone where patches of tundra and forest are mixed. It is not easily defined and can be difficult to identify and quantify, and there have been a number of remote sensing methods used to depict this ecotone In order to delineate this transition zone, we used the MODIS Vegetation Continuous Fields (VCF) % canopy cover product developed by University of Maryland.

    Multisensor Airborne and Ground Studies of Siberian Arctic Forests

    Acquire and analyze unique field and airborne data sets that will improve satellite remote sensing of the extensive larch forests in Arctic Siberia. Objectives:are: 1) Acquire field measurements required to augment our earlier field measurements within the study area. 2) Acquire airborne measurements of an existing 3-instrument package mounted on a helicopter over Siberian larch forests.3) Analyze the field and aircraft data to develop insights and algorithms for improved methods for estimating above ground biomass and forest cover. 4) Apply results to satellite data to aid in mapping larch forest structure with existing and future remote sensing data.

    Structure and Function of Ecosystems

    Linkages between vegetation functional parameters and 3-D structure.

    Positions/Employment

    10/2014 - Present

    Research Physical Scientist

    Biospheric Sciences Lab. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

     Conduct basic research on optical and microwave remote sensing and modeling for study of global forested ecosystems.

    8/2003 - 9/2014

    Branch Head/Laboratory Chief

    Biospheric Sciences Lab. GSFC, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD
    10/1986 - 7/2003

    Research Physical Scientist

    GSFC, Greenbelt, MD

    Conduct basic research on optical and microwave remote sensing and modeling for study of global forested ecosystems.

    5/1980 - 9/1986

    Research Agronomist,

    Laboratory for Applications of Remote Sensing (LARS), Purdue University. , W. Lafayette, IN

    Conduct basic and applied agricultural and forest research utilizing bidirectional reflectance and microwave scattering measurements and models.

    Teaching Experience

    Teaching
    Courses Taught Remote Sensing Systems and Applications - Fall 1996, 1997, 2006, Spring 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004 2005, 2011-2019(online), Summer 1998, 2002 (online), 2008 (online), 2009 (online), Johns Hopkins University, Environmental Sciences and Policy Program. Understanding and Teaching Earth Observations from Space. JHU Education Division. Fall 2001
    Academic Lectures Arctic Geography, UMBC, ( Fall 2012), Principles of Remote Sensing, Dept of Geography, University of Maryland-College Park, Fall 1995. “ Active Microwave Remote Sensing”, Quantitative Remote Sensing, Graduate Seminar Series - Dept of Geography, University of Maryland-College Park, Spring 1996 - "Principles and Applications of Synthetic Aperture Radar" Physical Principles of Remote Sensing, Dept. Earth, Atmospheres and Planetary Sciences, MIT, Spring 1997, Fall, 1997. “Active Microwave Remote Sensing of Vegetation”, “Introduction to Terra”, MIT course taught at GSFC January 2002.

     

    Education

    B.S. Watershed Sciences,
    Colorado State University 1972

    M.S. Earth Resources
    Colorado State University 1975

    Ph.D. Agronomy (Remote Sensing)
    Purdue University 1983

    Professional Societies

    American Geophysical Union, 2000 - Present
    Member

    Professional Service

    TECHNICAL REVIEWER
    Journals : Agronomy Journal, Canadian Journal of Forestry, IEEE Transactions on Geosciences and Remote Sensing, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing of Environment, Remote Sensing Reviews, Remote Sensing Letters, Remote Sensing, Global Change Biology

    Proposals : NASA Terrestrial Ecosystems Program, NASA Hydrology and Remote Sensing Science Programs, NASA EOS Interdisciplinary Science, NASA New Investigator Program. USDA-ARS, National Environment Research Council (UK), NSERC (Canada), Israeli Science Foundation, USAID, NASA Graduate Student Research Program

    Awards

    2019 NASA Performance Award Award

    2018 NASA Performance Award Award

    2017 NASA Distinguished Performance Award

    2017 - TEAM Excellence Award ( Satellite Needs Assessment Team)

    2016 NASA Performance Award

    2015 NASA Performance Award

    2014 NASA Performance Award

    2013 RF Goddard Exceptional Supervisor Award

    2012 NASA GSFC Performance Award

    2011 NASA GSFC Performance Award

    2010 NASA GSFC Performance Award

    2009 NASA GSFC Performance Award

    2008 NASA GSFC Quality Increase Award

    2007 NASA Leadership Medal, NASA GSFC Special Act Award

    2006 AIAA Space Systems Awards to NASA Earth Observing System Team, NASA GSFC Special Act Award, NASA GSFC Performance Award, NASA GSFC New Business Capture Award

    2005 NASA GSFC Performance Award, NASA GSFC Special Act Award

    2004 NASA GSFC Special Act Award

    2003 NASA GSFC Performance Award

    2002 NASA GSFC Performance Award

    2001 NASA Group Achievement Awards – EOS Terra Project, NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award – EOS Terra Program Team

    2000 NASA GSFC Performance Award (2)

    1998 GSFC Group Achievement Award - Forest Ecosystem Dynamics

    1997 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Performance Award

    1996 GSFC Group Achievement Award - BOREAS Project Team

    1995 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Quality Increase Award

    1994 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Performance Award

    1993 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, Quality Increase Award

    1992 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Performance Award

    1991 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Superior Accomplishment

    1990 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Quality Increase Award

    1989 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Quality Increase Award

    1988 NASA Certificate of Outstanding Performance, NASA Performance Award

     

    Special Experience

    Goddard Leadership Program - April 1995,
    Project Leadership - A Simulation - July 1996
    ENVI, 1999,
    Leadership Alchemy Program-GSFC 2005 (9 months)
    Council for Excellence in Government Fellow 2006

    Selected Public Outreach

    Siberian expedition blogs 7 / 2007 - 8 / 2016
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov Published in NASA Earthobservatory in
    2007  http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SiberiaBlog/

    2008 http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SiberiaBlog2008/

    2010   http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/fromthefield/2010/08/10/wild-west-siberia-2010-introduction/

    2012  http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/fromthefield/category/siberia-2012-embenchime-river-expedition/
    Northwoods, Maine 5 / 1989 - 8 / 2019
    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/fromthefield/2009/08/18/introduction/#more-571

    Conducted field and remote sensing measurements in the Howland and Penobscot Forests in Central Maine. Purpose was 1) test RS algorithms for Radar, Lidar, bi-directional reflectance and several optical imaging sensors, 2) develop and validate forest succession models and 3) develop fusion techniques to improve accuracy of RS methods..

    Brief Bio

    Jon Ranson is a Senior Scientist with the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He received the B.S. degree in Watershed Sciences and M.S. degree in Earth Resources from Colorado State University where his graduate research involved geologic and forest cover mapping. He later joined the Laboratory for Applications of Remote Sensing (LARS) at Purdue University where he earned the Ph. D. degree. His Doctoral research quantified bidirectional reflectance characteristics of agricultural crops. In 1986, Dr. Ranson joined the Biospheric Sciences Branch where he has developed remote sensing linkages to forest ecosystem models and conducted optical and radar research while leading several domestic and international NASA projects. He also served as the Deputy Project scientist and Project Scientist of the EOS Terra Mission, was the science lead on the DESDynI lidar concept. His current research is focused on active and passive remote sensing of ecosystem dynamics of the boreal forest, especially in Siberia. He served as Chief of the Biospheric Science Laboratory from 2003-2014 and twice served as an acting NASA HQ Program Manager. He has authored and co-authored over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and was awarded a NASA Leadership Medal, Goddard Exceptional Supervisor Award and numerous Goddard performance awards. He is a member of IEEE GRSS AGU, AAAS and is an adjunct faculty for Johns Hopkins University.

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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