Rama Nemani, '87 PhD in Forestry, named UM Distinguished Alum

Ramakrishna Nemani Ph.D. ’87 of Sunnyvale, California has received a 2017 Distingished Alumni Award from the University of Montana, along with four other alums.RamakrishnaNemani.jpg

A pioneer in satellite-driven ecological forecasting technology, Nemani, who earned a doctorate in forestry from UM under advisor Steve Running, is the director of NASA’s Ecological Forecasting Laboratory. His work, which he started at UM, is the basis of NASA Earth Observing System’s weekly monitor of global plant production, a unique global dataset used by scientists worldwide.

Join us on Friday, Oct. 13 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the new grand foyer of the Liberal Arts Bldg. for a reception with Rama and the other four UM distinguished alums.

The public is invited to attend a panel discussion featuring the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in the University Center Ballroom. An awards ceremony and reception will follow.

Nemani, whose rank of senior research scientist is attained by only one in 1,000 NASA employees, developed and leads a modeling framework called the Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System. TOPS produces ecological nowcasts and forecasts using satellite and climate data and is a crucial tool used in global carbon monitoring, helping address issues related to water, natural hazards, carbon emissions and sequestration, agricultural productivity, public health and urban planning.

He has received several awards from NASA including the exceptional scientific achievement medal in 2008 and the outstanding leadership medal in 2012.

He gave a TEDxNASA talk in 2011 "Mission to Planet Earth".