Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Relating Amazonian rainforest structural propertiesto clouds

The MSc topic will deal with the interaction between the Amazonian rainforest and an atmosphere characterized by clouds.

Photosynthesis and evapotranspiration strongly regulate the moisture content available to clouds. To better understand and quantify the links between photosynthesis and clouds in the Amazon, it is important to investigate surface fluxes at different spatial and temporal scales. The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory offers a unique scientific platform to obtain a more detailed view on the surface-atmosphere interactions. In this project, the available tower data will be augmented by remotely sensed imagery. Multiple remotely sensed datasets are available at a daily or even more frequent temporal resolution but there is general a trade-off with the spatial resolution of the data, with spatially coarser data being available more frequently.

This project will investigate the forest height structure derived from spaceborne LiDAR (GEDI) in combination with remotely sensed land surface temperature and evapotranspiration measures. The ultimate goal is to get a better understanding of the impact of forest structure on land surface temperature and evapotranspiration in the period of August 1 – 20, 2022. Canopy structure will be identified using GEDI data for the available footprints in the vicinity of the tower. Land surface temperature metrics will be derived from both Landsat 8 and 9, and MODIS (daily, day/night). Evapotranspiration data will be derived from daily MODIS data.

Relevance to research/projects at GRS or other groups

  • This project will bridge the ongoing collaboration between GRS and MAQ (Meteorology and Air Quality)

Objectives and Research questions


  • Depending on the background of the candidate we will provide some support to meteorology: concepts, processes, and variables.
  • Geo scripting
  • Affinity with work with large scale remote sensing datasets

Literature and information

Expected reading list before starting the thesis research

  • Depending on the background of the MSC student we can recommend some literature.

Theme: Sensing & measuring