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OpenET: Filling the Biggest Data Gap in Western Water Management with Forrest Melton

On October 21, NASA announced the release of OpenET to the public. OpenET uses publicly available data, open-source models, and Google Earth Engine to provide satellite-based information on water consumption in areas as small as a quarter of an acre at monthly and yearly intervals. OpenET measures evapotranspiration – the combined process by which water is transferred to the atmosphere through evaporation of surface water on land and transpiration of moisture from plants.

In the arid western U.S., which is currently experiencing record levels of drought, having an accurate measure of evapotranspiration is critical to managing increasingly scarce water supplies. Prior to OpenET, there was no single, low-cost operational system for measuring and distributing evapotranspiration data at the scale of individual fields across the western U.S. OpenET was developed through a public-private collaboration led by NASA Ames Research Center, Environmental Defense Fund, the Desert Research Institute, Google, HabitatSeven and California State University Monterey Bay, with input from more than 100 stakeholders. Forrest Melton is the NASA project scientist for OpenET, and will provide an overview of OpenET and why it matters for the Central Coast of California, as well as opportunities to use data to advance sustainable water management across the West.


Forrest is a Senior Research Scientist with the NASA Ames Cooperative for Research in Earth Science and Technology (ARC-CREST) and with California State University, Monterey Bay. Forrest currently serves as the Program Scientist for the NASA Western Water Applications Office, and as an Associate Program Manager for Water Resources with the NASA Applied Sciences Program. Since 2003, he has worked in the Biospheric Sciences Branch at NASA Ames Research Center on the development of modeling and data assimilation frameworks including the Satellite Irrigation Management Support (SIMS) system, the Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System (TOPS), the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX) and OpenET. His research interests include applications of satellite data to improve management of natural resources, remote sensing of evapotranspiration and agricultural water requirements, and ecosystem and carbon cycle modeling.  Forrest holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Earth Systems Science from Stanford University, and has authored over fifty papers and book chapters on applications of remote sensing.  He is the recipient of honor awards from NASA for his contributions to TOPS and NEX, and has been recognized for his work on applications of satellite data for water management with awards from the California Department of Water Resources, the Federal Labs Consortium and NASA.

Event Details

Event Date 10-26-2021 7:00 pm
Event End Date 10-26-2021 8:30 pm
Registration Start Date 10-12-2021
Capacity 100
Cut off date 10-26-2021 7:00 pm
Individual Price Free
We are no longer accepting registration for this event
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