NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

CMS Working Group Descriptions


Flux Working Group

The focus of the Flux Working Group is to determine and quantify the carbon balance of individual point sources to state or multi-state regions to hemispheric or global domains. These estimates of carbon fluxes and stocks are needed to help understand processes at various spatiotemporal scales, to help develop and test hypotheses, to provide inputs for models, and to provide estimates for policy needs, such as reporting GHG emissions and sinks to stakeholders and decision-makers. Current projects by the working group members estimate carbon fluxes using a variety of measurements and diagnostic modeling techniques, including top-down (atmospheric inversions) and bottom-up (process-based, inventory-based and bookkeeping) methods. The working group aims to facilitate communication between colleagues, to raise awareness of current work, to advance flux estimation methodologies, to identify community needs for observations, data synthesis and modeling, and to develop future research directions.

Short term goals:
  • Community paper on Phase 2 CMS Flux projects major findings, accomplishments and remaining gaps
  • Consolidate and refine list of atmospheric validation dataset (currently outdated) -
  • Initiate list of flux validation dataset eddy covariance towers, upscaled data products based on satellite data-driven models and EC flux data
Long term goals:

  • Develop quantitative scientific knowledge, robust models and a comprehensive observational network to determine the sources and sinks of CO2, changes in carbon stocks across land and ocean basins
  • Advance the scientific basis to implement full carbon accounting on local, regional, continental and global scales
  • Support NASA CMS program by providing assessment of gaps in the current generation of flux estimates and providing the knowledge base to develop future monitoring programs for natural and managed carbon sources and sinks

Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) Working Group

MRV stands for Measuring, Reporting and Verifying (or Verification) and describes the procedures associated with the communication of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Measuring is estimating the effect of the mitigation action, reporting is communication to the international community, and verifying is checking the estimation. MRV is a central concept within international efforts aimed at reducing terrestrial emissions of greenhouse gases. An effort of importance is REDD+ or Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation which aims at mitigating climate change through economic incentives for enhanced forest management in developing countries. For example, an important mitigation action is the reduction of emissions from deforestation; an MRV system would include descriptions of how deforestation is monitored using remote sensing, how the area of deforestation and its uncertainty are estimated in sampling-based approach, how the carbon emissions (with uncertainty) associated with the deforestation estimates are quantified, and how the results are communicated.

While the availability of data, tools and computing power have increased exponentially in recent years, research is needed to investigate how to harness such resources for advancing MRV systems. Capacity building organizations that work with countries to enhance MRV capabilities are often not in a position to sponsor research. Instead, they rely on the findings of research programs to enhance capabilities.

NASA CMS is an important research program for advancing MRV systems, and findings from several CMS projects are actively being used in capacity building efforts by SilvaCarbon, UN-FAO and GOFC-GOLD. A successful link between CMS research and capacity building has been established. But capacity building is not static as new obstacles to successful MRV implementation are discovered as capacities grow. The MRV working group aims at identifying current obstacles to MRV implementation and how CMS-funded research has furthered implementation and can, in the future, help overcome obstacles. As a first step in this process, we aim to publish a paper that reviews MRV obstacles and opportunities.

Methane Working Group

The methane WG is a forum for exchanging information on CMS projects related to better understanding of the budget of atmospheric methane

  • Better quantify the contributions of different source regions, source sectors, and sink processes to the global methane flux;
  • Better understand the biogeochemistry of ecosystems producing methane and the sensitivity to climate, surface properties, and carbon;
  • Identify methane research needs that may guide future CMS solicitations.
  • Observations and models of methane emissions from natural and anthropogenic systems
  • Bottom-up emission inventories for methane on different scales
  • Data sets for atmospheric methane from satellite, aircraft, and surface networks
  • Inverse and other methods for relating atmospheric methane observations to methane fluxes
  • New instrumentation for atmospheric methane
  • Development of new biogeochemical inventories for methane emissions from wetlands
  • Development of new emission inventories for agriculture and fuel exploitation
  • Use of isotopic information as constraints on methane sources
  • Global and North American inverse modeling of methane sources and trends
  • Better understanding of methane sink from oxidation by OH
  • Development of new instrumentation and methods for constraining emissions on fine scales
  • Contributions to International Global Carbon Project activity
Next steps:
  • Continued sharing of information on CMS methane projects
  • Coordination of research activities
  • Discussion of next major steps in methane research

Uncertainties Working Group

All CMS projects must consider uncertainty in some manner, but the manner by which uncertainty is handled differs among them. Many CMS projects are now at a phase where uncertainty estimates exist, and where the maturation of the science of uncertainty merits an integrative assessment. The uncertainty working group will develop a review paper or white paper that uses the experience among CMS project to provide a framework for understanding uncertainty. Topics likely will involve: 1. Scale of representation; 2: Methods for quantifying uncertainty; 3. Incorporation of uncertainty from one project into another and 4. Representation of uncertainty for stakeholders.

Biomass Working Group

Aboveground woody biomass in terrestrial ecosystems, especially forests, represents some of the highest carbon densities of any terrestrial biome. Not surprisingly, a disproportionate number of CMS projects also focus on this carbon pool, from local to global scales. This makes for overlapping objectives between various CMS projects aiming to improve methods and data products associated with biomass estimation, mapping, and monitoring. This working group seeks to increase dialogue and coordination between Investigators leading different yet complementary CMS projects, with an aim to deliver improved terrestrial biomass products. We trust that there are important efficiencies and synergies to be gained through closer collaboration, including discussions of error accounting, data sharing, field survey coordination, etc. One potential product of our working group is a review paper comparing different CMS terrestrial biomass map products where they overlap in space and time.

View Telecon Schedule & Recordings

Wet Carbon Working Group

The focus of the Wet Carbon Working group is to determine the current status of carbon monitoring at the terrestrial-aquatic interface, including coastal and freshwater wetlands, rivers, lakes, and the coastal and open ocean. The main aim of the group is to synthesize the current state of the wet carbon science with a particular emphasis on CMS activities. In addition, the group will work to advance the development of more generalized tools and paradigms for monitoring carbon stocks and flux estimates at the terrestrial-aquatic interface including new protocols, methods and recommendations for future research opportunities for the NASA CMS program and stakeholders.

Current projects by the working group members focus on estimating carbon stocks and fluxes in a various wetland and aquatic ecosystems with a wide range of methodologies including field surveys, airborne Lidar, Radar, passive optical and radiometer measurements. The working group aims to facilitate communication between colleagues, to raise awareness of current work, to advance carbon stock and flux estimation methodologies, to identify community needs and gaps, and to develop future research directions.

Short term goals:
  • Review paper on Carbon Monitoring at the Terrestrial-Aquatic Interface focus on current CMS projects and other NASA, DOE and USGS projects and existing reports such as the SOCCR, National Climate Assessment and IPCC reports. This paper will focus on major findings, accomplishments and highlight the remaining gaps to be addressed by programs such as the CMS. We will include a focus on stakeholders, within and outside the CMS community, and their decision making process, including how do address decarbonization, land management, and water quality with a particular emphasis on the use of remote sensing and Earth observations for new wetland management.
  • Develop a list and map of where CMS-related projects are, methods used, and questions addressed
  • Initiate a list of flux validation datasets eddy covariance towers and upscaled data products based on satellite data-driven models.
Long term goals:
  • Develop quantitative scientific knowledge, robust models and a comprehensive observational network to determine the sources and sinks of CO2, changes in carbon stocks across the land-water boundary
  • Advance the scientific basis to implement full carbon accounting on local, regional, continental and global scales
  • Support NASA CMS program by providing assessment of gaps in the current generation of wet carbon flux estimates and providing the knowledge base to develop future monitoring programs for natural and managed carbon sources and sinks

Stakeholder Working Group

The CMS Stakeholder Engagement Working Group focuses on coordination and information-sharing about best practices to engage with stakeholders, potential users of CMS data products, and other decisionmakers. The working group will have quarterly meetings where members will present a case example of successful engagement with stakeholders, updates from the applications team, open discussion and sharing of experiences, discussion about future work and events to engage stakeholders, and highlight potential stakeholder organizations to engage for CMS, as well as feedback from actual stakeholders that will participate as ex-officio members of the working group.

Short term goals:
  • Learn and inform about stakeholder engagement efforts across all CMS projects
  • Better coordinate stakeholder engagement efforts across the CMS Initiative with the feedback of CMS Science Team members, as well as stakeholders
  • Share best practices on successful engagement with stakeholders

Long term goals
  • Create an online library or repository to archive all the information, presentations, and feedback shared in the working group
  • Develop a framework on how NASA earth science programs should successfully engage with stakeholders
  • Develop a white paper on the lessons learned in the stakeholder engagement process across all levels in CMS
  • Organize optional surveys, trainings, and workshops as needed to expand stakeholder engagement efforts across CMS



Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) Working Group

Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) is a very broad concept guiding the application of monitoring technology to the needs of countries or entities for reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions. Credibility, cost-effectiveness, and compatibility are important features of global MRV efforts. Thus, the scope of this working group is broad and could involve linking with most if not all of the projects and other working groups that comprise NASA's CMS. Initially, the MRV WG will develop a broad-brush review of the CMS projects and their potential contribution to resolving some of the difficult issues that are encountered when designing MRV systems in various contexts around the world. After this review and subsequent interactions with others in the CMS community, the MRV WG can focus on one or a few of the most useful MRV-related tasks to support CMS.

Some wide-ranging MRV considerations that need additional focus in CMS have been identified.

  1. There is a need for more attention to the "R" of MRV. What are the reporting requirements globally or for different countries or regions? What are the targets for reducing GHGs? How do the reporting requirements affect the selection of appropriate monitoring technologies?
  2. There is a need for more attention to the "V" of MRV. This is a very complex topic politically at the national scale, and may not be very practical at the project scale, yet can be essential for assessing progress and assuring compliance. Which of the CMS technologies are appropriate for verification in different contexts?
  3. How will analysis and integration of data fit into CMS? To date, most funded projects are focused on specific monitoring technologies, yet MRV requires integration of different monitoring data often by using models or model-data integration. How can CMS evolve to enhance synthesis of data for MRV applications?
  4. What are options for applying different combinations of technologies for different countries or at different scales (e.g., projects or nations)? Different combinations are possible to deploy and are not likely to be the same in different contexts, yet there is a need for consistency in reporting. This could be a good link with the SilvaCarbon program, which is working with different tropical countries to support their MRV needs. Are there one or a few case studies to illustrate the use of CMS monitoring technology to different MRV applications?
  5. How can the CMS technologies help attribute observed GHG changes to anthropogenic vs. natural causes? This is one of the most important but difficult issues to address in operational MRV systems. The IPCC has not yet been able to provide guidance to countries about how to do this, other than to divide the world's land using a proxy of "managed" and "unmanaged" land.

Methane Working Group

The CMS Methane WG focuses on coordination and information-sharing between the CMS investigations targeting the processes that control atmospheric methane. WG topics include methane biogeochemistry, emission inventories, atmospheric observations, and inverse analyses to constrain sources.


External Communications Working Group

The external communications working group continues from the CMS Phase 1 and 2a, where the focus of the working group was to create materials for the CMS website and to communicate the products, science, and impact that CMS has had during its existence. Going forward, the working group will focus on finding ways to broaden and strengthen the knowledge of CMS research and engagement with the broader Earth science community through communication products such as articles, websites and meetings. Through this engagement, we seek to ensure that the community understands the nature, quality, and utility of NASA CMS science information and data products, and that CMS scientists are responsive to these needs through ongoing research.

2013 External Communications Report: .pptx

Data/Data Management Working Group

The data working group will adopt protocols and workflows to make CMS data available to scientists and stakeholders over project and archival time frames.  The mode of operation will be to communicate and coordinate between both the domain (e.g., atmosphere, land, ocean) and derived (e.g., algorithm, uncertainty) working groups in CMS for appropriate data storage and accessibility to relevant carbon cycle research communities.  The data working group cross cuts all CMS working groups and will serve as a model of coordination and communication.  Initially, the data working group will respond to several needs and responsibilities:

  • Recruitment of CMS science team members with an appropriate cross-cut of scientific expertise and participation on other working groups
  • Identification of data and metadata formats needed for both stakeholders and scientists
  • Development of a short-term strategy for exposure of data products on the CMS website
  • Engage the CMS Science Team regarding their role in archival of final products at one (or more) NASA DAACs (the choice of archive(s) will be made by NASA HQ in consultation with ESDIS)

Atmospheric Validation Working Group

The focus of the Atmospheric Validation Working Group is on the integration of atmospheric measurements and modeling to study carbon emissions using so-called "top-down" approaches. Current projects by the working group members range in scale from individual point sources to state or multi-state regions to hemispheric or global domains. The working group aims to facilitate communication between colleagues, to raise awareness of current work, to advance the state of the art of top-down methodologies, to identify community needs for observations, data synthesis and modeling, and to develop future research directions.

View Telecon Schedule & Recordings

Algorithm Assessment/Intercomparison Working Group

The primary motivations of the Algorithm Assessment/Intercomparison Working Group are to document activities and strategies for intercomparison activities and identify key gaps where further intercomparison efforts are warranted. The approach to date has consisted of soliciting CMS team input to survey questions and coordinating with Working Group members to document "best-practices" for intercomparison activities. The current activities of the Working Group are to complete the documentation of Phase II projects and continue domain-level discussions on effective strategies for intercomparison activities.

2013 Algorithm Assessment/Intercomparison Report: .pptx

Biomass-Flux Working Group

The Biomass-Flux working group seeks to integrate information about both land-atmosphere carbon fluxes and changes in biomass to improve estimation of both. The seven projects participating in this working group represent investigations at local, regional, and global scale. We have developed algorithms to predict and monitor fluxes and changes in biomass in response to fire, agriculture, land use change, and other disturbances. If funding can be sustained in the future, we are prepared to (1) define domains in space and time for which various projects overlap; (2) to cross-compare flux and biomass products as appropriate; and (3) to compare integrated fluxes with changes in biomass over time.

2013 Biomass-Flux Report: .pptx

Capability Risk Working Group

The charge for the Capability Risk Working group is to create a report of current and planned remote sensing capabilities used across the CMS, and their expected lifespans. Then, we are to identify missing parts or expected gaps to help with future planning. The approach is to gather existing tables of relevant missions, instruments, and lifespans, and update related tables through user input from CMS.

2013 Capability Risk Report: .pptx

Responsiveness Working Group (2012-2014)

2013 Responsiveness Report: .pdf

Uncertainty Working Group

The uncertainty working group continues from the prior cycle of CMS. For the most recent science team meeting in November 2013, we established a conceptual framework to describe the different approaches taken to quantifying uncertainty among CMS projects, and evaluated how Phase 2 2012 CMS projects fit into that framework. For the next science team meeting, we will work to bring the Phase 2 2013 projects into the framework. This will involve re-publicizing the survey framework, encouraging PIs to fill it out, and grouping projects. This work focuses on documentation of existing approaches to characterizing uncertainty within projects.

The next critical step is to move beyond documentation toward integration. Ideally, these concepts of uncertainty could allow the larger CMS effort a means to reconcile uncertainty estimates across projects. This work involves significant effort to compare and evaluate patterns of agreement and disagreement in uncertainties and estimates across projects.

It is likely beyond what any individual project can support as a sideline effort. However, to lay the groundwork for such comparisons, we propose to:

  1. Identify the projects that are already comparing products from different projects, and determine if practices for evaluation of different uncertainty estimates are already emerging.
  2. Identify possible linkages between projects where such comparisons might be possible, and begin sketching out the methodological approaches to compare and learn from the integration.

Our goal for the next science team meeting would be to present such comparison approaches to the larger team to lay the groundwork for potential focused comparison efforts.

2013 Uncertainty Report: .pptx

System Framework Working Group

no description provided