John S. Kimball

Photo of Kimball, John S.

John S. Kimball

Professor - Systems Ecology

Curriculum Vitae: View/Download CV

Personal Summary

Dr. John Kimball is a Professor in the Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences and Systems Ecology graduate program within the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. His expertise and interests include understanding climate impacts to vegetation growth and water-carbon-energy connections, emphasizing boreal and Arctic ecosystems. His research is multi-disciplinary, spanning the fields of Ecology, Hydrology, remote sensing and ecosystem modeling. His scales of interest range from landscape to global extents, emphasizing the use of satellite remote sensing and ecological modeling for extrapolation and analysis of land surface processes. He has contributed more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications in his area of expertise. His recent projects include systematic mapping of hydrologic flows, stream temperatures and freshwater physical habitats for juvenile salmon across all major North Pacific rivers; developing consistent global ecological data records using satellite microwave remote sensing; developing retrieval algorithms and operational data products for the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission. He serves on several NASA Earth observation mission science teams working to develop new ecological understanding and applications using global satellite observations. He is an avid swimmer, hiker and kayaker and enjoys the wilds of NW Montana with his family.


Ph.D. 1995. Bioresource Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR.
M.A. 1990. Physical Geography, San Diego State University, San Diego CA
B.A. 1987. Physical Geography, San Diego State University, San Diego CA

Research Interests

My expertise and interests include the study of climate impacts to water resources and ecosystems; water, energy and carbon cycle interactions; remote sensing; hydrological and ecosystem process modeling. My research activities integrate ecological theory, field measurements and emerging technologies including satellite optical and microwave remote sensing, and computer simulation models to describe the function, distribution and condition of vegetation and underlying environmental drivers across the landscape. I emphasize an ecosystem perspective for understanding physical and biological processes and interactions, integrating across disciplines and various scales.


Field of Study

Ecohydrology, Ecological remote sensing


-  Deputy Director, NTSG

-  NASA Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) science team

-  National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) working group

-  NASA EOS MODIS and AMSR instrument science teams

-  NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission science team

-  NASA Earth Science Data System Working Group (ESDSWG)

-  Land Product Validation Sub-Group of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Working Grooup on Calibration and Validation (CEOS WGCV)

-  Member: American Geophysical Union (AGU)

-  Member: IEEE Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society

International Experience

Visiting Professor, Dept. of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing China (2011).

Honors / Awards


Selected Publications

Jones, M.O., J.S. Kimball, K.C. McDonald, and L.A. Jones, 2011. Utilizing satellite passive microwave remote sensing for monitoring global land surface phenology. Remote Sensing of Environment 115, 1102-1114.

Jones, M.O., L.A. Jones and J.S. Kimball, 2013. Satellite microwave detection of boreal vegetation recovery from the extreme 2004 wildfires in Alaska and Canada. Global Change Biology 19, 3111-3122.

Kim, Y., J.S. Kimball, D.A. Robinson, and C. Derksen, 2015. New satellite climate data records indicate strong coupling between recent frozen season changes and snow cover over high northern latitudes. Environmental Research Letters 10, 084004.

Kimball, J.S., L.A. Jones, K. Zhang, F.A. Heinsch, K.C. McDonald, and W.C. Oechel, 2009. A satellite approach to estimate land-atmosphere CO2 exchange for Boreal and Arctic biomes using MODIS and AMSR-E. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 47(2), 569-587.

Whited, D.C., J.S. Kimball, J.A. Lucotch, N.K. Maumenee, H. Wu, S.D. Chilcote, and J.A. Stanford, 2012. A riverscape analysis tool developed to assist wild salmon conservation across the north pacific rim. Fisheries 37 (7), 305-314 (cover article).

Yi, Y., J.S. Kimball, and R.H. Reichle, 2015. Spring hydrology determines summer net carbon uptake in northern ecosystems. Environmental Research Letters 9, 064003.