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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Joseph Alfieri

Research Physical Scientist

photo of Joseph AlfieriJoseph G. Alfieri, Ph.D.
Research Physical Scientist
USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory
Bldg. 007, Rm. 104, BARC-West
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350 USA
Voice: (301) 504-5673
Fax: (301) 504-8931

Research Interests:(click here to see a list of current research projects)

Land-atmosphere exchange processes, such as the transport of heat, moisture, and carbon dioxide, are regulated by a complex web of interconnected processes. For example, carbon uptake by plants is controlled not only by the availability of carbon dioxide, but also by the availability of water, sunlight, and a host of other factors. In turn, each of these factors is influenced by numerous other processes. My overarching research interest focuses on understanding land-atmosphere interactions and their role in the larger earth system. The core components of my research are:

  • Integrating in-situ, remotely-sensed, and modeled data to characterize the impact of spatiotemporal variability in atmospheric and land surface conditions on both land-atmosphere exchange and the subsequent hydrological, meteorological, and other earth system processes.

  • Identifying the impacts of surface heterogeneity on measurement uncertainty and its effect on our ability to measure, monitor, and model biogeochemical and biogeophysical processes.

  • Characterizing land-atmosphere exchange processes across the continuum from leaf to regional scales and developing techniques to translate data across spatial scales.

  • Incorporating the effects of surface heterogeneity into remote sensing-based tools and numerical models to better represent the turbulent exchange of heat, moisture, and other scalar quantities between the land surface and the atmosphere over complex terrain.


  • 1991 B.S. Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY.
  • 2005 M.A. Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
  • 2009 Ph.D. Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

Professional Experience:

  • 2003 - 2005 Student Assistant III, Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO.
  • 2004 - 2005 Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
  • 2005 - 2009 Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
  • 2006 Visiting Graduate Student, Advanced Study Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO.
  • 2007 & 2008 Visiting Scientist, Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO.
  • 2009 - 2010 Research Physical Scientist (Post-Doctoral Research Associate), Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD.
  • 2010 - Present Research Physical Scientist, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD.


  • 2003 Mabel Duncan Scholarship, University of Colorado, Department of Geography, Boulder, CO.
  • 2005 Lynn Fellowship, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
  • 2007 Earth and Space Science Fellowship, National Aeronautic and Space Administration.
  • 2008 Wayne P. Rothgeb Scholarship, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
  • 2008 Outstanding Ph.D. Student Research, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

Professional Activities:

  • 2010 Member of the Technical Committee for the 2010 Symposium on Remote Sensing and Hydrology sponsored by International Association of Hydrological Sciences.
  • 2011 - Present Member of the Scientific and Technology Activities Committee for Agricultural and Forest Meteorology of the American Meteorological Society.
  • 2012 Member of the Water Resources Subarea Working Group for the National Earth Observations Assessment undertaken by Office for Science and Technology Policy.
  • 2012 - Present Program Co-Chair for the 31st Conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology sponsored by the American Meteorological Society.
  • 2013 - Present Member of the Technical Committee for Large-Scale Field Experimentation of the American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section.
  • 2013 - Present Representative of the American Meteorological Society to the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.

Selected Publications:(please contact the author to determine reprint availability)

( view author's publications/interpretive summaries/technical abstracts since 1999)

Alfieri, J.G., D. Niyogi, H. Zhang, M.A. LeMone, and F. Chen, 2009: Quantifying the spatial variability of surface flux measurements using data from the International H2O Project 2002: Linkages between surface conditions and spatial variability. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 133, 223-241.

Alfieri, J.G., P.D. Blanken, J. Morgan, and D. Smith, 2009: A comparison of the Bowen ratio energy balance and eddy covariance measurement techniques for determining surface energy and carbon dioxide fluxes over a shortgrass steppe grassland. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 48, 982-996.

Alfieri, J.G., X. Xiao, D. Niyogi, R.A. Pielke Sr., F. Chen, and M.A. LeMone, 2009: Satellite-based modeling of transpiration and evaporation of grasslands and croplands in the Southern Great Plains, USA. Global and Planetary Change, 67, 78-86.

Alfieri, J.G., D. Niyogi, P.D. Blanken, F. Chen, M.A. LeMone, K. Mitchell, M.B. Ek, and A. Kumar, 2008: Estimation of the minimum canopy resistance for croplands and grasslands using data from the 2002 International H2O Project. Monthly Weather Review, 136, 4452-4469.

Alfieri, J.G., P.D. Blanken, D.N. Yates, and K. Steffen, 2007: Variability in the relative influence of the environmental drivers of evapotranspiration over heavily grazed pasture during drought. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 8, 207-220.

Alfieri, J.G., D. Niyogi, M.A. LeMone, F. Chen, and S. Fall, 2007: A simple reclassification method for correcting land use/land cover datasets for use with land surface models. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 164, 1789-1809.

Chen, F., K. Manning, M.A. LeMone, S.B. Trier, J.G. Alfieri, R. Roberts, J. Wilson, M. Tewari, D. Niyogi, T. Horst, S.P. Oncley, J. Basara, and P.D. Blanken, 2007: Evaluation of the characteristics of the NCAR high-resolution land data assimilation system during IHOP-02. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 46, 694-713.

LeMone, M.A., M. Tewari, F. Chen, J.G. Alfieri, and D. Niyogi, 2008: Evaluation of the Noah land-surface model using data from a fair-weather IHOP_2002 day with heterogeneous surface fluxes. Monthly Weather Review, 136, 4915-4941.

LeMone, M.A., F. Chen, J.G. Alfieri, M. Tewari, B. Geerts, Q. Miao,, R.L. Grossman, and R.L. Coulter, 2007: Influence of land cover, soil moisture, and terrain, on the horizontal distribution of sensible and latent heat fluxes and boundary-layer structure. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 8, 68-87.

LeMone, M.A., F. Chen, J.G. Alfieri, R. Cuenca, Y. Hagimoto, P.D. Blanken, D. Niyogi, S. Kang, K. Davis, and R. Grossman, 2007: NCAR/CU surface vegetation observation network during the international H2O Project 2002 field campaign. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 88, 65-81.

Stassberg, D., M.A. LeMone, T. Warner, and J.G. Alfieri, 2008: Comparison of observed 10 m wind speeds to those based on Monin-Obukhov similarity theory using aircraft and surface data from the International H2O Project. Monthly Weather Review, 136, 964-972.

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Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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