Martha C. Anderson
The 2022 John Dalton Medal is awarded to Martha C. Anderson for ground-breaking contributions to the development and application of multi-scale thermal remote sensing to evapotranspiration and drought impact assessments.
Martha Anderson provided fundamental advances to multi-scale thermal remote sensing measurements that are integrated with rigorous and mechanistic theories that transformed the detection and impact assessment of drought and plant stress from field to continental scales. Her approach uses physics-based formulations that utilize time-changes in surface temperature to detect anomalies in actual-to-potential evapotranspiration, thus allowing their implementation in operational drought monitoring initiatives. Anderson completed her doctoral work in observational astrophysics but shortly after embarked into a new area of research that is at the interface of soil-plant-atmosphere interactions and remote sensing of land-surface processes. Among her most impactful contributions is ‘The Atmosphere-Land Exchange Inverse (ALEXI)’ model, that uses time-differential land-surface temperature retrievals from geostationary or polar-orbiting satellites to execute a physics and physiologically based model over large areas coupled with an atmospheric boundary layer model to provide closure. Her methods are now used operationally by domestic and international organizations alike for drought prediction and soil moisture stress assessment on crop and food security. Anderson has been key to sustaining the Landsat Science initiative and its utility in thermal remote sensing for monitoring water use and vegetation stress in hydrology. She is an active member of the OpenET Science Team, a collaborative effort among several agencies to port an ensemble of Landsat-scale ET models to the Google Earth Engine in support of operational water resource management applications. Anderson has been visible and active in the field with an engaging personality; she is always willing to share her ideas and time with numerous scientists, visitors, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students visiting USDA-ARS. In recognition for her transformative contributions to the field, Martha Anderson is awarded the 2022 John Dalton Medal by the Hydrological Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union.