User Profile: Dennis Ojima

Who uses NASA Earth science data? Dennis Ojima, to examine natural resource management response strategies to climate change in the North Central U.S.
Dennis Ojima collecting field data near the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) tower site on the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER) in northeastern Colorado. Image courtesy of Dennis Ojima.

Dennis Ojima, Professor in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University

Research interests: Ecosystem response to climate and land use change and biogeochemical responses to land use and climate changes. Ojima also has been involved with several regional efforts, including the Monsoon Asia Integrated Regional Study (MAIRS), the Northern Eurasian Earth System Partnership Initiative (NEESPI), the Global Land Project (GLP), and the North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC).

As a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Ojima was part of the team that shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”

Current research focus: Ojima currently is examining natural resource management response strategies to climate change in the North Central U.S. In addition, he is studying pastoral system impacts and responses to climate and land use changes in the drylands of East Asia. Ojima’s goal is to develop an increased understanding of the rate of changes taking place and to inform managers and decision makers of potential impacts and possible response options.

Data products and tools used:

  • Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Evapotranspiration (ET) data at 1 km resolution. Available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC)
  • MODIS Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) data at 1 km resolution. Available through NASA's Land Processes DAAC (LP DAAC)
  • MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) data. Available through LP DAAC and ORNL DAAC
  • Landsat landcover data available through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Research findings: Ojima’s research reveals that the impacts of drought vary for different resource management entities. This, in turn, requires more nuanced information on the spatial and temporal aspects of drought. In addition, his research has shown that the vulnerability of social-ecological systems require more integrated process studies, and that land use and climate interactions need to be studied as part of the system matrix in order to understand the response of the system to perturbations.

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