Earth Lab Science

Earth Lab science projects combine satellite, survey, and field data collected at various spatial and temporal scales to answer critical Earth Science questions and predict change using cutting-edge computational approaches. The volume and variety of these data require innovative approaches to scientific analysis and visualization, supported by the Earth Lab Analytics Hub. Earth Lab science projects are supported by a collaborative and innovative team of post docs, graduate research assistants and undergraduate interns.

Science Projects


Project Fire integrates satellite and field-based data on climate, fuels, land use, and ignition sources with government fire record inventories to determine how humans have changed the spatial and seasonal distribution of fires across the U.S.


Project Permafrost integrates Earth observations from different satellite platforms, field studies and eventually unmanned aerial sensing (UAS) and piloted aircraft to improve how we measure the pace of permafrost degradation caused by a rapidly warming Arctic climate.


Project Erosion integrates data on erosion, sedimentation, and landscape change from satellite, field, and airborne platforms to address issues including flooding, agricultural productivity and sediment transport over time.

Data Harmonization

Project Data Harmonization examines satellite, UAS, and field-based data collected at varying resolutions to develop metrics characterizing the progression of basic spatial and statistical attributes such as length, area, density, texture (heterogeneity), and spatial/temporal dependence (autocorrelation).

Risk and Decision Making

Project Risk integrates earth system measures especially of drought and other hazards, with social science tools from decision analysis and experimental economics.


Project Forest integrates unmanned aerial sensing (UAS) data with satellite and other aerial-flight information on beetle-kill and fire, and in situ data on climate and forest structure to better understand the interaction between insect infestations, drought, and fire in Western U.S. forests.


Media associated with Earth Lab research.