CARC Researcher Publishes New Research in Remote Sensing Journal

August 19 – Dr. Ram Ray had the opportunity to study the greenhouse gas emission and carbon cycle across Texas using satellite data. Along with his colleagues Drs. Ali Fares, Raghava Kommalapati and Mr. Ademola Ibironke, this team of researchers focused on investigating the combined effects of climate change and land-use on spatial and temporal distributions of carbon dioxide (CO2) across Texas between 2015 and 2018. Their findings have made significant contributions to the ecology, remote sensing and eco-hydrology communities, along with the Remote Sensing Journal.


Climate change and variability, soil types and soil characteristics, animal and microbial communities, and photosynthetic plants are the major components of the ecosystem that affect carbon sequestration potential of any location. This study used NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Level 4 carbon products, gross primary productivity (GPP), and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) to quantify their spatial and temporal variabilities for selected terrestrial ecosystems across Texas during the 2015–2018 study period. These SMAP carbon products are available at 9 km spatial resolution on a daily basis. The ten selected SMAP grids are located in seven climate zones and dominated by five major land uses (developed, crop, forest, pasture, and shrub). Results showed CO2 emissions and uptake were affected by land-use and climatic conditions across Texas. It was also observed that climatic conditions had more impact on CO2 emissions and uptake than land-use in this state. On average, South Central Plains and East Central Texas Plains ecoregions of East Texas and Western Gulf Coastal Plain ecoregion of Upper Coast climate zones showed higher GPP flux and potential carbon emissions and uptake than other climate zones across the state, whereas shrubland on the Trans Pecos climate zone showed lower GPP flux and carbon emissions/uptake. Comparison of GPP and NEE distribution maps between 2015 and 2018 confirmed substantial changes in carbon emissions and uptake across Texas. These results suggest that SMAP carbon products can be used to study the terrestrial carbon cycle at regional to global scales. Overall, this study helps to understand the impacts of climate, land-use, and ecosystem dynamics on the terrestrial carbon cycle.

To read the entire article on Dr. Ray’s research, please visit

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This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 1890 Extension Formula Program projects under Section 1444.

Dr. Ram Ray



Ram L. Ray, Ph.D., P.E.
Research Scientist
(936) 261-5094