Terrestrial Hydrology (ROSES 2019)

Funding Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The NASA Terrestrial Hydrology program (THP) has the scientific objective to use remote sensing to develop a predictive understanding of the role of water in landatmosphere interactions and to further the scientific basis of water resources management. The NASA THP is a component of the Global Water and Energy Cycle Focus Area (see Section 2.4 of program element A.1).

THP uses NASA’s unique view from space to study hydrologic processes associated with runoff production, hydrologic fluxes at the land-air interface, and terrestrial water stores. THP works in concert with other Earth Science Division (ESD) programs, also studying the global water cycle (e.g., precipitation, physical oceanography), to describe and understand the connections between the cycle’s different parts. THP fosters the development of hydrologic remote sensing theory, the scientific basis for new hydrologic satellite missions, hydrologic remote sensing field experiments, and the interface of hydrology with other disciplines, such as those addressed by the Terrestrial Ecology program and Interdisciplinary Science (see ROSES-2019 elements A.4 and A.32, respectively). Particular emphasis is placed on the application of satellite-based remotely sensed data for characterizing, understanding, and predicting the terrestrially linked components of the hydrologic cycle and the dynamics of large-scale river basins. THP furthers study of the relationship between satellite interferometric measurements of surface deformation and changes in underground water stores. THP is currently focused on research relating to multiple missions, either currently operating, such as Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO); or in planning and development, such as Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT). THP projects are also extensively using data collected at previous or current field campaigns and projects, such as SMAPVEX (http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov), AirMOSS (http://airmoss.jpl.nasa.gov), SnowEx (https://snow.nasa.gov/campaigns/snowex), or numerous others, both national and international.

THP continues to encourage use of NASA investments to improve the use of remote sensing information in weather and climate models, primarily through data assimilation approaches involving land surface models. The Land Information System (LIS; http://lis.gsfc.nasa.gov) provides a modeling test bed for potential investigations of this domain, along with an entrée into activities of other U.S. agencies.


  • Notice of Intent: Sep. 26, 2019
  • Proposal: Nov. 14, 2019




Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

November 14, 2019