This is the home page of Sassan Saatchi at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. This web site contains information about the work I perform, my projects, and the scientists I work with.

My research is focused on various aspects of the terrestrial carbon cycle. I use a combination of remote sensing and in situ data to map the carbon stored in forests, to quantify its changes from human and natural disturbances, and to estimate how the climate interacts and impacts its dynamics.

S. Saatchi


Carbon Storage in Tropical Forests

Different NASA satellites including more than 3 million ICESAT GLAS Lidar measurements of forest height are used to create the most precise map depicting where -- and how much -- carbon is stored in Earth's tropical forests. The high-resolution map is expected to provide a baseline for ongoing carbon monitoring and research, and serve as a useful resource for managing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Carbon Monitoring Study: Biomass Pilot Project

Developing geospatially explicit, consistent estimates of aboveground vegetation biomass and carbon storage for the U.S. by combining advanced satellite products with ground observations and to quantify uncertainties and requirements for monitoring the carbon storage nationally.

Response of Tropical Forest to Climate Change and Variability

Amazonian droughts have drawn attention to the vulnerability of tropical forests to severe climate perturbations causing extensive tree mortality and fires. Satellite observations of rainfall, temperature, and canopy water content are used to quantify the impact of climate anomalies on tropical forest health and function.

Forest Structure and Dynamics from Fusion of Lidar and Polarimetric & Interferometric SAR

Introducing a wave-theory electromagnetic model to simulate polarimetric and interferometric SAR measurements of forest structure and to integrate waveform lidar profiles to characterize forest 3-D structure, biomass, and dynamics.


Mapping a greener future
By combining rocket science with muddy boots science, Gabon is to produce its most detailed carbon map yet. The work, the result of a collaboration with a NASA scientist and a team of international experts, will help the country manage its carbon emissions. Download: article
Benchmark map of forest carbon stocks in tropical regions across three continents
Developing countries are required to produce robust estimates of forest carbon stocks for successful implementation of climate change mitigation policies related to reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).
Download: (article | supporting information)