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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Joseph Alfieri

Research Physical Scientist

/ARSUserFiles/44737/Images/Joe_small.jpg Joseph 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:

  • 2009 - 2010: Research Physical Scientist (Post-Doctoral Research Associate), Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, USDA ARS, Beltsville, MD.
  • 2010 - Present: Research Physical Scientist, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, USDA ARS, Beltsville, MD.


  • 2007: Earth and Space Science Fellowship, National Aeronautic and Space Administration.
  • 2008: Outstanding Ph.D. Student Research, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
  • 2014: USDA-ARS Early Career Scientist of the Year, Beltsville Area.

Professional Activities:

  • 2011 - Present: Member of the Scientific and Technology Activities Committee for Agricultural and Forest Meteorology of the American Meteorological Society.
  • 2013 - Present: Representative of the American Meteorological Society to Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, 2013 to present.
  • 2017 - Present: Chair of the Technical Committee for Large-Scale Field Experimentation of the American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section.

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

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

Prueger, J. H., Alfieri, J. G., Gish, T. J., Kustas, W. P., Hatfield, J. L., Daughtry, C. S., McKee, L. G. Multi-year measurements of field-scale metolachlor volatilization. Water Air Soil Pollut. in press, 2017.

Anderson, R. G., Alfieri, J. G., Tirado-Corbala, R., Gartung, McKee, L .G., Prueger, J. H., Wang, D., Ayers, J. E., Kustas, W. P. Assessing FAO-56 dual crop coefficients using eddy covariance flux partitioning. Agric. Water Manag. 179: 92-102. 2017.

Alfieri, J. G., Anderson, M. C., Kustas, W. P., Cammalleri, C. Effect of the revisit interval on the accuracy of remote sensing-based estimates of evapotranspiration at field scales. Hydrol. Earth Sys. Sci. 21: 83-98, 2017.

Gao, F., Anderson, M. C., Zhang, X., Alfieri, J. G., Kustas W. P., Mueller, R., Johnson, D. M., Prueger, J. H. Toward mapping crop progress at field scales through fusion of Landsat and MODIS imagery. Remote Sens. Environ. 188: 9-25. 2017.

Alfieri, J.G., J.H. Prueger, T.J. Gish, W.P. Kustas, L.G. McKee, A. Russ, 2017: The effective evaluation height for flux-gradient relationships and its application to herbicide fluxes. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 232, 682-688.

Kustas, W. P., Nieto, H., Morillas, L., Anderson, M. C., Alfieri, J. G., Hipps, L. E., Villagarciae, L., Domingo, F., Garcia, M. Revisiting the paper “Using radiometric surface temperature for surface energy flux estimation in Mediterranean drylands from a two-source perspective”. Remote Sens. Environ. 181: 645-653. 2016.

Xia, T., Kustas, W. P., Anderson, M. C., Alfieri, J. G., Gao, F., McKee, L., Prueger, J. H., Geli, H. M. E., Neale, C. M. U., Sanchez, L., Mar Alsina, M., Wang, Z. Mapping evapotranspiration with high-resolution aircraft imagery over vineyards using one-and two-source modeling schemes. Hydrol. Earth Sys. Sci. 20: 1523-1545. 2016.

Starkenburg, D., Metzger, S., Fochesatto, G. J., Alfieri, J. G., Gens, R., Prakash, A. Cristobal, J. Assessment of de-spiking methods for turbulence data in micrometeorology. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech. 13: 2001-2013. 2016.

Semmens, K. A., Anderson, M. A., Kustas, W. P., Gao, F., Alfieri, J. G., McKee, L., Prueger, J. H., Hain, C. R., Cammalleri, C., Yang, Y., Xia, T., Sanchez, L., Mar Alsina, M., Vélez, M. Monitoring daily evapotranspiration over two California vineyards using Landsat 8 in a multi-sensor data fusion approach. Remote Sens. Environ. 185: 155-170. 2016.

Starkenburg, D., Fochesatto,G. J., Cristobal, J., Prakash, A., Gens, R., Alfieri, J. G., Nagano, H., Harazono, Y., Iwata, H., Kane, D. L. Temperature regimes and turbulent heat fluxes across a heterogeneous canopy in an Alaskan boreal forest. J. Geophys. Res. 120: 1348-1360. 2015.

Mallick, K., Borgh, H., Trebs, I., Alfieri, J. G., Kustas, W. P., Prueger, J. H., Niyogi, D., Hoffman, L., Jarvis, A. Reintroducing radiometric surface temperature into the Penman-Monteith equation. Water Resour. Res. 51: 6214-6243. 2015.

Kustas, W. P., Alfieri, J. G., Evett S. R., Agam, N. Quantifying variability in field‑scale evapotranspiration measurements in an irrigated agricultural region under advection. Irrig. Sci., 33: 325-338. 2015.

Kongoli, C., Kustas, W. P., Anderson, M. C., Norman, J. C., Alfieri, J. G., Evaluation of a two source snow-vegetation energy balance model for estimating surface energy fluxes in a rangeland ecosystem. J. Hydrometeorol. 15: 143-158. 2014.

Cammalleri, C., Agnese, C., Alfieri, J. G., Drago, A., Georgiadis, T., Motisi, A., Sciortino, A., de Bruin, H. A. R. Exploring the use of displaced-beam scintillometerfor daytime measurement of surface energy fluxes over a mediterranean olive orchard. Ital. J. Agrometeorol. 19: 13-28. 2014.

Anderson, M. C., Kustas, W. P., Alfieri J. G., Gao, F., Hain, C., Prueger, J. H., Evett, S. R., Colaizzi, P. D., Howell, T. A., Chavez, J. L. Mapping daily evapotranspiration at Landsat spatial scales during the BEAREX'08 field campaign. Adv. Water Resour. 50: 162-177. 2012.

Neale, C. M. U., Geli, H., Kustas, W. P., Alfieri, J. G., Gowda, P.H., Evett, S. R., Prueger, J. H., Hipps, L. E., Dulaney, W. P., Chavez, J. L., French, A. N., Howell, T. A. Soil water content estimation using a remote sensing based hybrid evapotranspiration modeling approach. Adv. Water Resour. 50: 152-161. 2012.

Kustas, W. P., Alfieri, J. G., Anderson, M. C., Colaizzi, P. D., Prueger, J. H., Evett, S. R., Neale, C. M. U., French, A. N., Hipps, L. E., Chavez, J. L., Copeland, K. S., Howell, T. A. Evaluating the two-source energy balance model using local thermal and surface flux observations in a strongly advective irrigated agricultural area. Adv. Water Resour. 50: 120-133. 2012.

Prueger, J. H., Alfieri, J. G., Hipps, L. E., Kustas, W. P., Chavez, J. L., Evett, S. R., Anderson, M. C., French, A. N., Neale, C. M. U., McKee, L. G., Hatfield, J. L., Howell, T. A., Agam, N. Patch scale turbulence over dryland and irrigated surfaces in a semi-arid landscape under advective conditions during BEAREX08. Adv. Water Resour. 50: 106-119. 2012.

French, A. N., Alfieri, J. G., Kustas, W. P., Prueger, J. H., Hipps, L. E., Chavez, J. L., Evett, S. R., Howell, T. A., Gowda, P. H., Hunsaker, D., Thorp, K. Estimation of surface energy fluxes using surface renewal and flux variance techniques over an advective irrigated agricultural site. Adv. Water Resour. 50: 91-105. 2012.

 Alfieri, J.G., W.P. Kustas, J.H. Prueger, L.E. Hipps, S.R. Evett, J.  Basara, C.M.U. Neale, A.N. French, P.D. Colaizzi, N. Agam, J.L. Chavez, T.A. Howell, 2012: On the discrepancy between eddy covariance and lysimetry-based surface flux measurements under strongly advective conditions. Advances in Water Resources, 50, 20-30.

Agam, N., Evett, S. R., Tolk, J. A., Kustas, W. P., Colaizzi, P. D., Alfieri, J. G., McKee, L. G., Copeland, K. S., Howell, T. A., Chavez, J. L. Evaporative loss from irrigated interrows in a highly advective semi-arid agricultural area. Adv. Water Resour. 50: 20-30. 2012.

Alfieri, J.G., P.D. Blanken, 2012: How representative is a point? The spatial variability of surface energy fluxes across short distances in a sand-sagebrush ecosystem. Journal of Arid Environments, 87, 42-49.

Alfieri, J.G., W.P. Kustas, J.H. Prueger, L.E. Hipps, J.L. Chavez, A.N. French, S.R. Evett, 2011: Intercomparison of nine eddy covariance micrometeorological stations during the BEAREX08 field campaign. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 28, 390-406.

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.



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