Woubet G. Alemu

Woubet G. Alemu

  • POSTDOC
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 618
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NPP POST-DOC CONTRACT
  • Brief Bio

    Dr. Alemu is a Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Godard Space Flight Center, Earth Sciences Division, Biospheric Sciences Laboratory through the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). He is working on Cropland mapping, and Crop yield estimation and forecasting in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia using synergistic data from Active/Passive Microwave and finer spatial resolution commercial/public Optical Remote Sensing Satellites and in-situ datasets. He is working with Dr. Christopher S.R. Neigh.

    Research Interests

    Remote Sensing; Geographic Information Systems/Science; Geospatial Sciences; Geography; Land Surface Phenology; Land Use/Land Cover Change; Natural Resources Management; Environmental Science; Landscape Ecology; Cropland Mapping; Crop Yield Estimation & Forecasting; Climate Variability; Food Security

    Current Projects

    Cropland Mapping, Yield Estimation, and Forecasting for Food Security Using Satellite Microwave and High Resolution Optical Datasets in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia

    In today’s world of increasing food insecurity due to the anticipated more frequent and extreme weather events, such as drought and floods, and developing countries unmatched population growth relative to economic development, a comprehensive understanding of global food crop production and yield is a critical need. More than 90% of agricultural production in East Africa comes from small-holder farmers, which are solely dependent on traditional rain-fed farming systems.

    In-situ agricultural datasets are scarce in this part of the world. The Amhara Region occupies the northwestern highlands of Ethiopia that has the most crop-producing potential, yet food insecurity remains. Developing remote sensing-based crop maps can serve as a baseline for recurrent seasonal yield estimation and forecasting that can be used for planning purposes to alleviate food insecurity. Cropland mapping remains very challenging for subsistence farming in Africa, where small parcels are mixed with other land uses. Satellite microwave remote sensing data, unlike optical remote sensing data, are less sensitive to cloud contamination, aerosol effects, and solar illumination constraints, while optical data have a finer spatial resolution. To this end, I will map croplands, and estimate and forecast crop yields in the Amhara Region using finer spatial resolution (≤ 30m) optical and microwave remote sensing datasets and crop growth models.

    Image segmentation, asymmetric double-sigmoid function for phenological metrics derivation, and crop models will be used to achieve the proposed objectives. Model performance evaluation will be done using registered farmland databases and crop yield statistics and data reports in the region. These research outputs will be beneficial in making informed decisions by the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) Rural Land Administration and Use Bureau (RLAUB), ARNS Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau (ARDB), ANSR Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Bureau (DRMFSB), and non-governmental Index-Insurance organizations that are currently active in the area such as R4 Project on food security, market management, and in the crop insurance sector in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Further, the best practices can be scaled up to other similar regions of the world. 

    Positions/Employment

    11/2020 - Present

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
    8/2018 - 8/2020

    Distinguished Postdoctoral Scholar / Postdoctoral Associate

    Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA
    2/2017 - 8/2018

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA
    8/2011 - 2/2017

    Graduate Research Assistant

    South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA
    6/2009 - 8/2011

    Lecturer

    Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, ETH
    8/2004 - 5/2009

    Lecturer; Graduate Assistant II; Graduate Assistant I

    University of Gondar, Gondar, ETH

    Lecturer: 2007 - 2009; Graduate Assistant II: 2006 - 2007; & Graduate Assistant I: 2004 - 2006

    Teaching Experience

    Guest Lectures:

    • Alemu WG. 2019. Land Surface Phenology and Seasonality Using Cool Earthlight in Croplands of Eastern Africa and the Linkages to Crop Production. FIU, Guest Lecture for Department of Earth & Environment Graduate students.
    • Alemu WG. 2018. Land Surface Phenology and Seasonality Using Cool Earthlight in Croplands of Eastern Africa. FIU, Guest Lecture for Department of Earth & Environment undergraduate students.

    Lecturer (2009 - 2011), Bahir Dar University, ETH

    Courses developed/taught (Undergraduate and Graduate)

    • GIS and Remote Sensing
    • Watershed Management

    Graduate Assistant - Lecturer (2004 - 2009), University of Gondar, ETH

    Courses developed/taught (Undergraduate)

    • GIS and Remote Sensing
    • Map Reading and Interpretation
    • Cartography
    • Analysis of Spatial Patterns I
    • Analysis of Spatial Patterns II
    • Mathematics for Geographers
    • Survey of Ethiopian Geography and the Horn
    • General Ecology
    • Terrain Analysis

    Education

    Ph.D. (2011 - 2017): Geospatial Science & Engineering (Remote Sensing Geography), South Dakota State University, USA

    M.Sc. (2009 - 2011): Land Resources Management, Bahir Dar University, ETH

    M.Sc. (2005 - 2007): Earth Sciences (Remote Sensing & GIS), Addis Ababa University, ETH

    B.A. (2000 - 2004): Geography & Environmental Studies, Addis Ababa University, ETH

    Diploma/Associate Degree (1994 - 1998): Geography, Bahir Dar University, ETH 

    Professional Societies

    American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2012 - Present
    North American Regional Association of the ​International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE - North America), 2012 - Present

    Awards

    Research Funding, Fellowships & Scholarships

    • Alemu WG (C.S.R. Neigh, Supervisor). 2020-2023. Cropland Mapping, Yield Estimation, and Forecasting for Food Security Using Satellite Microwave and High-Resolution Optical Datasets in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia. NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP). $250,000.
    • Alemu WG (AM Melesse, Supervisor). 2018-2019 & 2019-2020. Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities Based on the Synergistic Use of Microwave, Optical and Modelled Data Suite in East African Croplands, and Linkages to Agricultural Crop Production for Food Security. Florida International University, USA. $110,000.
    • Alemu WG (GM Henebry, Advisor). 2013-2016. Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities Using Earthlight: A Comparison between Tropical and Temperate Croplands, and Its Application for Agricultural Crop Productivity Assessment. Funded by NASA Earth & Space Sciences Fellowship Program (Grant No. NNX13AN58G), NASA, USA. $90,000.
    • Woubet Gashaw Alemu (Birru Yitaferu, Advisor). 2011. Role of Soil and Water Conservation Measures to Ecosystem Services at Anjeni Watershed, Northwest Ethiopia. Funded by NCCR (National Center for Competence in Research) – North South RP-11 - Land Resource Potential, University of Bern, Switzerland. 30,000 ET birr.
    • Woubet Gashaw Alemu (Dagnachew Belachew, Advisor). 2008. Flood Hazard & Risk Assessment Using GIS and Remote Sensing in Fogera Woreda, Northwest Ethiopia. Funded by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Youth Education and Training Awards for Africa (CYETA), Canada. 16,000 ET birr. 

    Awards

    • US-IALE Student Travel Award (2014), US-IALE, USA
    • US National Phenology Network 2012 conference travel award (2012), US National Phenology Network, USA
    • Gold Medalist (2004) among College of Social Science Graduates, Addis Ababa University
    • Aklilu Lemma Foundation (ALF) Financial Scholarship Merit winner (2002-2003 & 2003-2004), College of Social Sciences, Addis Ababa University.
    • Mitsubishi term-top student award (2001), Mitsubishi, Ethiopia
    • Top CGPA student (1998) among Bahir Dar University Associate Degree graduates 

    Publications

    Refereed

    Caraballo-Vega, J., M. Carroll, C. Neigh, et al. M. Wooten, B. Lee, A. Weis, M. Aronne, W. Alemu, and Z. Williams. 2022. "Optimizing WorldView-2, -3 cloud masking using machine learning approaches." Remote Sensing of Environment, 284: 113332 [10.1016/j.rse.2022.113332]

    Alemu, W. G., and C. S. Neigh. 2022. "Desert Locust Cropland Damage Differentiated from Drought, with Multi-Source Remote Sensing in Ethiopia." Remote Sensing, 14 (7): 1723 [10.3390/rs14071723]

    Alemu, W. G., G. M. Henebry, and A. M. Melesse. 2020. "Land Cover and Land Use Change in the US Prairie Pothole Region Using the USDA Cropland Data Layer." Land, 9 (5): 166 [10.3390/land9050166]

    Alemu, W. G., and M. C. Wimberly. 2020. "Evaluation of Remotely Sensed and Interpolated Environmental Datasets for Vector-Borne Disease Monitoring Using In Situ Observations over the Amhara Region, Ethiopia." Sensors, 20 (5): 1316 [10.3390/s20051316]

    Alemu, W. G., G. M. Henebry, and A. M. Melesse. 2019. "Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities in the US Prairie Pothole Region Coupling AMSR Passive Microwave Data with the USDA Cropland Data Layer." Remote Sensing, 11 (21): 2550 [10.3390/rs11212550]

    Alemu, W. G., and A. M. Melesse. 2019. "Impacts of longterm conservation measures on ecosystem services in Northwest Ethiopia." International Soil and Water Conservation Research, 8 (1): 47-55 [10.1016/j.iswcr.2019.10.002]

    Alemu, W., and G. Henebry. 2017. "Land Surface Phenology and Seasonality Using Cool Earthlight in Croplands of Eastern Africa and the Linkages to Crop Production." Remote Sensing, 9 (9): 914 [10.3390/rs9090914]

    Alemu, W., and G. Henebry. 2017. "Comparing Passive Microwave with Visible-To-Near-Infrared Phenometrics in Croplands of Northern Eurasia." Remote Sensing, 9 (6): 613 [10.3390/rs9060613]

    Alemu, W., and G. Henebry. 2016. "Characterizing Cropland Phenology in Major Grain Production Areas of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan by the Synergistic Use of Passive Microwave and Visible to Near Infrared Data." Remote Sensing, 8 (12): 1016 [10.3390/rs8121016]

    Alemu, W. G., and G. M. Henebry. 2013. "Land surface phenologies and seasonalities using cool earthlight in mid-latitude croplands." Environmental Research Letters, 8 (4): 045002 [10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/045002]

    Alemu, W., T. Amare, B. Y. Woldetsadik, et al. Y. G. Selassie, B. Wolfgramm, and H. Hurni. 2013. "Impacts of Soil and Water Conservation on Land Suitability to Crops: The Case of Anjeni Watershed, Northwest Ethiopia." Journal of Agricultural Science, 5 (2): [10.5539/jas.v5n2p95]

    Gashaw, W., and D. Legesse. 2011. "Flood Hazard and Risk Assessment Using GIS and Remote Sensing in Fogera Woreda, Northwest Ethiopia." Nile River Basin, 179-206 [10.1007/978-94-007-0689-7_9]

    Talks, Presentations and Posters

    Invited

    Alemu WG, CSR Neigh, JA Caraballo-Vega, MR Wooten, E Muluken. Land Use Land Cover Classification in the Amhara Region, Northwest Ethiopia, Using Convolutional Neural Networks

    6 / 19 / 2022

    The 3rd International Workshop on AGRICULTURE-VISION: CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMPUTER VISION IN AGRICULTURE. https://www.agriculture-vision.com/agriculture-vision-2022/program-schedule-2022

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2016. Cropland land surface phenology and seasonality in East Africa: Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Sudan. 

    2 / 5 / 2016

    Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. February 5, 2016. (Invited Talk)

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2015. Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities Using Earthlight: A Comparison between Tropical and Temperate Croplands, and Its Application for Agricultural Crop Productivity Assessment. 

    3 / 13 / 2015

    Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. March 13, 2015. (Invited Talk) 

    Other

    Alemu WG, CSR Neigh, JA Caraballo-Vega, MR Wooten, E Muluken. 2022. Land Use Land Cover Classification in the Amhara Region, Northwest Ethiopia, Using Machine Learning.

    3 / 24 / 2022

    NASA GSFC 618 Brown Bag Seminar: Early Career Showcase. Talk

    Alemu WG, CSR Neigh, JA Caraballo-Vega, MR Wooten, E Muluken. 2021. Land Use Land Cover Classification in the Amhara Region, Northwest Ethiopia, Using Convolutional Neural Networks. 

    12 / 17 / 2021

    AGU Fall Meeting. 13-17 December 2021, New Orleans, LA & Online Everywhere. (Talk, https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm21/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/941933

    Alemu WG, CSR Neigh. 2021. Desert Locust and Drought Cropland Damage Assessment in Ethiopia. 

    7 / 28 / 2021

    The Ninth International Conference on Agro-Geoinformatics, 26-29 July 2021/ Virtual Conference (Talk, http://agro-geoinformatics.org/).

    Alemu WG, AM Melesse, GB Senay. 2020. Assessment of Drought Dynamics in East Africa using Satellite Passive Microwave Integrated Drought Indices.

    5 / 12 / 2020

    IALE-NA Annual Symposium. May 11 –24, 2020, Virtual Conference. (i-poster; https://2020toronto-ialena.ipostersessions.com/default.aspx?s=EB-0F-4A-DE-43-93-91-7E-B2-1B-31-78-93-FC-AE-7D.

    Alemu WG, AM Melesse, GB Senay. 2019. Drought Monitoring in East Africa using Integrated Satellite Passive Microwave Drought Indices (2003-2018).

    12 / 12 / 2019

    AGU Fall Meeting. 9-13 December 2019, San Francisco. (Poster, https://agu-do03.confex.com/agu/fm19/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/510724)

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2017. Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities of Croplands in the Prairie Pothole Region Using Passive Microwave Data (2003-2016).

    12 / 2017

    AGU Fall Meeting. 11-15 December 2017, New Orleans. (Poster, https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm17/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/256856

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2017. Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities of Croplands and Grasslands in the Prairie Pothole Region Using Cropland Data Layer & Passive Microwave Data (2003-2016). 

    11 / 2017

    Pecora20, Observing a Changing Earth, Sioux Falls, SD. November 13 – 16, 2017. (Poster)

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2017. Exploring Land Surface Dynamics in Eastern South Dakota using Cropland Data Layer and Passive Microwave Data. 

    11 / 8 / 2016

    Eastern South Dakota Water Conference, Brookings, SD. November 8, 2017. (Poster)

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2015. Cropland land surface phenology and seasonality in East Africa: Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Sudan. 

    12 / 2015

    AGU Fall Meeting. 14-18 December 2015, San Francisco. (Poster, https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm15/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/65127)

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2014. Synergistic Use of Passive Microwave and Visible to Near Infrared Data Improves Monitoring of Cropland Dynamics in Major Grain Production Areas of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. 

    12 / 2014

    AGU Fall Meeting. 15-19 December 2014, San Francisco. (Poster, https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm14/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/8890, http://neespi.org/web-content/meetings/AGU_2014/Alemu-poster.pdf

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2014. Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities Using Cool Earthlight in the Major Grain Production Areas of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. US-IALE Annual Symposium. 

    5 / 2014

    May 18 –22, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska. (Talk, http://usiale.org/anchorage2014/presentation-details/4952

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2013. Land surface phenologies and seasonalities using cool earthlight in the major grain production areas of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. 

    12 / 2013

    AGU Fall Meeting. 9-13 December 2013, San Francisco. (Poster, http://abstractsearch.agu.org/meetings/2013/FM/GC21D-0867.html; http://neespi.org/web-content/meetings/AGU_2013/Alemu-poster.pdf)  

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2013. Land surface phenologies and seasonalities using earth-light: A comparison between tropical and temperate croplands. 

    4 / 2013

    US-IALE Annual Symposium. April 14 –18, 2013, Austin, Texas. (Poster, http://abstractsearch.agu.org/meetings/2013/FM/GC21D-0867.html

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2012. Land surface phenologies and seasonalities using earthlight: a comparison between tropical and temperate croplands.

    12 / 2012

    AGU Fall Meeting. San Francisco, CA, 3-7 December, San Francisco. (Poster, http://abstractsearch.agu.org/meetings/2012/FM/B11C-0433.html)   

    Alemu WG, GM Henebry. 2012. Land surface phenologies and seasonalities using earthlight: Application to the Amhara Highlands, Ethiopia.

    9 / 2012

    Phenology 2012. Milwaukee, WI, 10-12 September. (Talk, http://www4.uwm.edu/letsci/conferences/phenology2012/abstract_book.pdf

    Woubet G, Dagnachew L. 2011. Flood hazard and risk assessment in Fogera Woreda, Northwest Ethiopia, using GIS and remote sensing. Workshop on Hydrology and Ecology of the Nile River Basin under Extreme Conditions. 

    6 / 2011

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 16-19 June. (Talk, http://www2.fiu.edu/~melessea/Nile%20Workshop%20Proceedings_%20June%2016-19,%202008.pdf)

    Brief Bio

    Dr. Alemu is a Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Godard Space Flight Center, Earth Sciences Division, Biospheric Sciences Laboratory through the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). He is working on Cropland mapping, and Crop yield estimation and forecasting in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia using synergistic data from Active/Passive Microwave and finer spatial resolution commercial/public Optical Remote Sensing Satellites and in-situ datasets. He is working with Dr. Christopher S.R. Neigh.

    Publications

    Refereed

    Caraballo-Vega, J., M. Carroll, C. Neigh, et al. M. Wooten, B. Lee, A. Weis, M. Aronne, W. Alemu, and Z. Williams. 2022. "Optimizing WorldView-2, -3 cloud masking using machine learning approaches." Remote Sensing of Environment 284 113332 [10.1016/j.rse.2022.113332]

    Alemu, W. G., and C. S. Neigh. 2022. "Desert Locust Cropland Damage Differentiated from Drought, with Multi-Source Remote Sensing in Ethiopia." Remote Sensing 14 (7): 1723 [10.3390/rs14071723]

    Alemu, W. G., G. M. Henebry, and A. M. Melesse. 2020. "Land Cover and Land Use Change in the US Prairie Pothole Region Using the USDA Cropland Data Layer." Land 9 (5): 166 [10.3390/land9050166]

    Alemu, W. G., and M. C. Wimberly. 2020. "Evaluation of Remotely Sensed and Interpolated Environmental Datasets for Vector-Borne Disease Monitoring Using In Situ Observations over the Amhara Region, Ethiopia." Sensors 20 (5): 1316 [10.3390/s20051316]

    Alemu, W. G., G. M. Henebry, and A. M. Melesse. 2019. "Land Surface Phenologies and Seasonalities in the US Prairie Pothole Region Coupling AMSR Passive Microwave Data with the USDA Cropland Data Layer." Remote Sensing 11 (21): 2550 [10.3390/rs11212550]

    Alemu, W. G., and A. M. Melesse. 2019. "Impacts of longterm conservation measures on ecosystem services in Northwest Ethiopia." International Soil and Water Conservation Research 8 (1): 47-55 [10.1016/j.iswcr.2019.10.002]

    Alemu, W., and G. Henebry. 2017. "Land Surface Phenology and Seasonality Using Cool Earthlight in Croplands of Eastern Africa and the Linkages to Crop Production." Remote Sensing 9 (9): 914 [10.3390/rs9090914]

    Alemu, W., and G. Henebry. 2017. "Comparing Passive Microwave with Visible-To-Near-Infrared Phenometrics in Croplands of Northern Eurasia." Remote Sensing 9 (6): 613 [10.3390/rs9060613]

    Alemu, W., and G. Henebry. 2016. "Characterizing Cropland Phenology in Major Grain Production Areas of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan by the Synergistic Use of Passive Microwave and Visible to Near Infrared Data." Remote Sensing 8 (12): 1016 [10.3390/rs8121016]

    Alemu, W. G., and G. M. Henebry. 2013. "Land surface phenologies and seasonalities using cool earthlight in mid-latitude croplands." Environmental Research Letters 8 (4): 045002 [10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/045002]

    Alemu, W., T. Amare, B. Y. Woldetsadik, et al. Y. G. Selassie, B. Wolfgramm, and H. Hurni. 2013. "Impacts of Soil and Water Conservation on Land Suitability to Crops: The Case of Anjeni Watershed, Northwest Ethiopia." Journal of Agricultural Science 5 (2): [10.5539/jas.v5n2p95]

    Gashaw, W., and D. Legesse. 2011. "Flood Hazard and Risk Assessment Using GIS and Remote Sensing in Fogera Woreda, Northwest Ethiopia." Nile River Basin 179-206 [10.1007/978-94-007-0689-7_9]

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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