Award-winning Wiley author takes on statistical role at NASA

Award-winning Wiley author Noel Cressie has been appointed from 2013 to 2015 as a JPL Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, NASA). Since 2011, Professor Cressie has already been serving on NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) Science Team, which is centred at JPL in Pasadena, California. The OCO-2 Mission is essentially to “watch how the Earth breathes” and map the surface fluxes (sources and sinks) of CO2. He tells StatisticsViews that he is studying global precisions and accuracies of column-integrated CO2 from the OCO-2 instrument.

Under the second NASA project, funded by NASA’s Earth Systems Technology Office, Professor Cressie is part of a team led by JPL Principal Statistician, Dr Amy Braverman. This work concerns fusing multi-instrument, multi-process spatial and spatio-temporal datasets, to obtain new datasets that combine information from multiple instruments. The new datasets are accompanied by measures of their uncertainty.  The data-fusion methodology is being applied to CO2 data from the Japanese instrument GOSAT, OCO-2, and mid-tropospheric CO2 data from JPL’s AIRS instrument. As a consequence, near-surface CO2 values can be inferred more precisely, from which flux (sources and sinks) estimates can be obtained. Where the CO2 comes from (sources) and where it goes to (sinks) is essential to our understanding of the carbon cycle and its role in global climate change.

Professor Cressie is also working on a third project, Likelihood-Based Quantification of Agreement between Climate Model Output and NASA Data Records, funded by NASA’s Earth Science Data Records Uncertainty Analysis Program. With JPL’s Dr Braverman they are using  statistical-resampling methodology to evaluate the consistency of climate-model simulations with remote sensing observations. Those models would then be trusted to supply accurate forecasts of future climate.

You can also visit the OCO-2 website or AIRS’s Spatio-temporal mapping of CO2 website. At the conclusion of the latter website there is a movie showing spatial statistical prediction of mid-tropospheric CO2 as time progresses through the boreal spring of 2010.

To read an interview with Professor Cressie and his co-author Christopher Wikle on their award-winning book, Statistics for Spatio-Temporal Data click here.