Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 1:30 PM

Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions of Complex Ecosystems.

Ghassem R. Asrar, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, 5601 Sunnyside Ave, Beltsville, MD 20705-5140

The fundamental knowledge of complex relationships between the Earth’s atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere has progressed remarkably during the past two decades.  We now have a greater appreciation for the role of terrestrial biosphere in exchange of energy, momentum and mass with the atmosphere, and the impact of such processes on weather and climatic conditions at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.  A rapid evolution of our knowledge can be attributed to recognition of a need for proper representation of these processes in Earth system models to understand, quantify and ultimately predict the contribution of terrestrial biosphere in cycling carbon, nutrients, water and energy.  The complex nature of these processes require interdisciplinary research by teams of agronomists, ecologists, soil scientists, hydrologists, and atmospheric scientists.  This prompted a need  for a series of coordinated field experiments in the U.S. and abroad beginning in the 1980s; identified a need for development of models that realistically represent these processes in atmospheric general circulation models; and promoted the use of observational techniques that capture and integrate the wide range of spatial and temporal scales for these processes.Dr. Edward Kanemasu was among visionaries who recognized the need for interdisciplinary research on biosphere-atmosphere interactions to understand Earth's complex system of atmosphere, oceans, continents and life.  Dr. Kanemasu recognized the great benefits of interdisciplinary study of agricultural ecosystems and promoted it tirelessly through cooperative research projects in U.S., Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and India.  Dr. Kanemasu and his colleagues led the way in use of multispectral remote sensing, radiation and energy transfer measurement and modeling research, study of multiple environmental factors on agricultural crops, and development of crop varieties that tolerated suboptimal environmental conditions.  We describe briefly some of the exciting and seminal  contributions by Dr. Kanemasu and his group in this presentation.