Nathaniel Brunsell

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Geography and Atmospheric Science
Chair, Geography
Primary office:
Lindley Hall
Room 214A
University of Kansas
1475 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045-7613


Land-atmosphere interactions, remote sensing, micrometeorology. Research on the spatial and temporal variability of water, carbon, and energy cycling.  Please visit my website.


ATMO/GEOG 731 - Land-Atmosphere Interactions

ATMO 731 - Atmospheric Turbulence

ATMO/GEOG 521- Microclimatology

ATMO 680 - Physical Meteorology

ATMO 642 - Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere

Research Interests

  • Biometeorology
  • Scaling processes from leaf to pixel
  • Remote sensing of the surface energy balance
  • Turbulence measurements using large aperture scintillometry and eddy covariance
  • Ecological consequences of regional climate change
  • Surface-precipitation feedbacks
  • Implications of regional climate change on extreme value statistics
  • Application of non-linear time series analysis to meteorological datasets
  • Renewable energy

Selected Publications

de Oliveira, G. Brunsell, N. A., Sutherlin, C. E., Crews, T. E., & de Haan, L. R. (2018). Energy, water and carbon exchange over a perennial Kernza wheatgrass crop. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 249, 120-137.

Vico, G. & Brunsell, N. A. (2018). Tradeoffs between water requirements and yield stability in annual vs. perennial crops. Advances in Water Resources, 112, 189-202.

Wagle, P. Xiao, X. Gowda, P. Basara, J. Brunsell, N. A., Steiner, J. & Anup, K. C. (2017). Analysis and estimation of tallgrass prairie evapotranspiration in the central United States. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 232, 34-47.

Brunsell, N. A., van Vleck, E. S., Nosshi, M. Ratajczak, Z. & Nippert, J. B. (2017). Assessing the roles of fire frequency and precipitation in determining woody encroachment in central U.S. grasslands. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 122, 2683-2698, doi:10.1002/2017JG004046.

Cochran, F. V., & Brunsell, N. A. (2017). Biophysical Metrics for Detecting More Sustainable Urban Forms at the Global Scale. Landscape and Urban Planning, 6(2), 372-388.

Ratajczak, Z. D'Odorico, P. Nippert, J. B., Collins, S. L., Brunsell, N. A., & Ravi, S. (2017). Changes in spatial variance during a grassland to scrubland state transition. Journal of Ecology, 105, 750-760. DOI:10.1111/1365-2745.12696

Vargas, R. Alcaraz-Segura, D. Birdsey, R. Brunsell, N. A., Cruz-Gaistardo, C. O., de Jong, B. Etchevers, J. Guevara, M. Hayes, D. J., Johnson, K. Loescher, H. W., Paz, F. Ryu, Y. Sanchez, Z. & Toledo-Gutierrez, K. P. (2017). Enhancing interoperability to facilitate implementation of REDD+: case study of Mexico. Carbon Management, 10(491).

de Oliveira, G. Brunsell, N. A., Moraes, E. C., Shimabukuro, Y. E., Bertani, G. dos Santos, T. V., & Aragao, L. C. (2017). Evaluation of MODIS-based estimates of water-use efficiency in Amazonia. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 38, 5291-5309, 10.1080/01431161.2017.1339924.

Gerken, T. Ruddell, B. Fuentes, J. D., Arujo, A. Brunsell, N. A., Maia, J. Nasciemento dos Santos, R. von Randow, C. & Stoy, P. C. (2017). Investigating the mechanisms responsible for the lack of surface energy balance closure in a central Amazonian tropical rainforest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 255, 92-103. DOI:10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.03.023

de Oliveira, G. Moraes, E. C., Brunsell, N. A., Shimabukuro, Y. E., Aragao, L. E., Mataveli, G. A., dos Santos, T. V., & Blanco, J. A. (2016). Analysis of Precipitation and Evapotranspiration in Atlantic Rainforest Remnants in Southeastern Brazil from Remote Sensing Data. In , Tropical Forests - The Challenges of Maintaining Ecosystem Services while Managing the Landscape (pp. 93-112). InTech - Open Science. DOI:10.5772/64533

Figueiredo, G. A., Brunsell, N. A., Higa, B. H., Rocha, J. V., & Lamparelli, R. C. (2016). Correlation maps to assess soybean yield from EVI data in Parana state, Brazil. Scientia Agricola, 73(5), 462-470.

Hufkens, K. Keenan, T. F., Flanagan, L. B., Scott, R. Bernacchi, C. J., Joo, E. Brunsell, N. A., Verfaillie, J. & Richardson, A. D. (2016). Despite increasing aridity, climate change promotes growth of North American grasslands. Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2942. DOI:10.1038/NCLIMATE2942

Eck, D. Qin, M. Hirmas, D. Gimenez, D. & Brunsell, N. A. (2016). Relating quantitative soil structure metrics to saturated hydraulic conductivity. Vadose Zone Journal, 15(1), 10.2136/vzj2015.05.0083.

Petrie, M. D., Brunsell, N. A., Vargas, R. Collins, S. L., Flannagan, L. B., Hanan, N. P., Litvak, M. E., & Sukyer, A. E. (2016). The sensitivity of carbon exchanges in Great Plains grasslands to precipitation variability. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JG003205.

Cochran, F. Brunsell, N. & Sukyer, A. (2016). Thermodynamic entropy production as a measure of agroecosystem sustainability. Ecological Indicators, 67, 204-214.

de Oliveira, G. Brunsell, N. A., Moraes, E. C., Bertani, G. dos Santos, T. V., Shimabukuro, Y. E., & Aragao, L. E. (2016). Use of MODIS Sensor Images Combined with Reanalysis Products to Retrieve Net Radiation in Amazonia. Sensors, 16, doi:10.3390/s16070956.

Figueiredo, G. A., Brunsell, N. A., Rocha, J. V., & Lamparelli, R. A. (2016). Using temporal stability to estimate soybean yield. A case study in Parana state, Brazil. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 10.1080/01431161.2016.1148280.

Wolf, S. Keenan, T. F., Fisher, J. B., Baldocchi, D. D., Desai, A. R., Richardson, A. D., Scott, R. L., Law, B. E., Litvak, M. E., Brunsell, N. A., Peters, W. & van der Laan-Luijkx, I. T. (2016). Warm spring reduced carbon cycle impact of the 2012 US summer drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 10.1073/pnas.1519620113.

Hu, L. & Brunsell, N. (2015). A new perspective to assess the urban heat island through remotely sensed atmospheric profiles. Remote Sensing of Environment, 158, 393-406/

Wagle, P. Xiao, X. Scott, R. Kolb, T. Cook, D. Brunsell, N. A., Baldocchi, D. Basara, J. Matamala, R. Zhou, Y. & Bajgain, R. (2015). Biophysical Controls on Carbon and Water Budgets across a Grassland Climatic Gradient in the United States. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 214-215, 293-305.

El Kenawy, A. Lopez-Moreno, J. I., McCabe, M. F., Brunsell, N. A., & Vicente-Serrano, S. M. (2015). Daily Temperature Changes and Variability in ENSEMBLES Regional Models Predictions: Evaluation and Intercomparison for the Ebro Valley (NE Iberia). Atmospheric Research, 155, 141-157.

Cochran, F. V., Brunsell, N. A., Cabalzar, A. van der Veld, P. Azevedo, E. Pedrosa, R. A., & Winegar, L. J. (2015). Indigenous ecological calendars define scales for climate change and sustainability assessments. Sustainability Science, 10.1007/s11625-015-0303-y.

Logan, K. E., & Brunsell, N. A. (2015). Influence of drought on growing season carbon and water cycling with changing land cover. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 213, 217-225.

Oleson, K. W., Monaghan, A. Barlage, M. Brunsell, N. A., Feddema, J. Hu, L. Wilhelmi, O. & Steinhoff, D. F. (2015). Interactions between urbanization, heat stress, and climate change . Climatic Change, 129, 10.1007/s10584-013-0936-8.

Hu, L. Monaghan, A. J., & Brunsell, N. A. (2015). Investigation of urban air temperature and humidity patterns during extreme heat conditions using satellite-derived data. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 54(11), doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-15-0051.1.

Miller, L. Brunsell, N. A., Mechem, D. B., Gans, F. Monaghan, A. J., Vautard, R. Keith, D. W., & Kleidon, A. (2015). Two methods for estimating limits to large-scale wind power generation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1408251112

Shi, Z. Thomey, M. L., Mowll, W. Litvak, M. Brunsell, N. A., Collins, S. L., Pockman, W. T., Smith, M. D., Knapp, A. K., & Luo, Y. (2014). Differential effects of extreme drought on production and respiration: Synthesis and modeling analysis. Biogeosciences, 11, 621-633.

Huber, D. B., Mechem, D. B., & Brunsell, N. A. (2014). Effects of Great Plains irrigation on regional climate . Climate, 2, 103-128.

Brown, J. C., Hanley, E. Bergtold, J. Caldas, M. Barve, V. Peterson, D. Callihan, R. Gibson, J. Gray, B. Hendricks, N. Brunsell, N. Dobbs, K. & Earnhart, D. (2014). Ethanol plant location and intensification vs. extensification of corn cropping in Kansas. Applied Geography, 53, 141-148.

Monaghan, A. J., Hu, L. Brunsell, N. A., Barlage, M. & Wilhelmi, O. V. (2014). Evaluating the impact of urban morphology configurations on the accuracy of urban canopy model temperature simulations with MODIS: Validating urban simulations with MODIS. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres [2169897X], 119(11), 6376–6392. DOI:10.1002/2013JD021227

Barve, N. Martin, C. Brunsell, N. A., & Peterson, A. T. (2014). Exploration of physiological optima in shaping the geographic distribution of Spanish Moss. Global Ecology and Biogeography , 23, 633-645.

Hu, L. Brunsell, N. Monahan, A. J., Barlage, M. & Wilhelmi, O. V. (2014). How can we use MODIS land surface temperature to validate long-term urban model simulations? Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 119, 3185–3201.

Brunsell, N. A., Nippert, J. B., & Buck, T. L. (2014). Impacts of seasonality and surface heterogeneity on water-use efficiency in mesic grasslands. Ecohydrology , 7, 1223–1233. DOI:10.1002/eco.1455

El Kenawy, A. Lopez-Moreno, J. I., Brunsell, N. A., & Vicente-Serrano, S. M. (2013). Anomalously severe cold nights and warm days in northeast Spain: their spatial variability, driving forces and future projections. Global and Planetary Change, 101, 12-32.

Ruddell, B. L., Brunsell, N. A., & Stoy, P. (2013). Applying information theory in the geosciences to quantify process uncertainty, feedback, scale. Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union, 94(5), 56. DOI:10.1002/2013EO050007

Lin, P. & Brunsell, N. A. (2013). Assessing regional climate and local landcover impacts on vegetation with remote sensing. Remote Sensing , 5, 4347-4369.

Cochran, F. V., Brunsell, N. A., & Mechem, D. B. (2013). Comparing surface and mid-troposphere CO2 concentration from central U.S. grasslands. Entropy, 15, 1324-1341.

Campbell, P. K., Middleton, E. Thome, K. J., Kokaly, R. F., Huemmrich, K. F., Lagomasino, D. Novik, K. & Brunsell, N. A. (2013). EO-1 Hyperion reflectance time series at calibration and validation sites: Stability and sensitivity to seasonal dynamics . IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing , 6, 276-290.

Brunsell, N. A., & Wilson, C. J. (2013). Multiscale controls on water and carbon cycling in a central US grassland . Entropy, 15, 1324-1341.

Hu, L. & Brunsell, N. A. (2013). The impact of temporal aggregation of land surface temperature data for urban heat island (UHI) monitoring. Remote Sensing of Environment , 134, 162-174.

Brunsell, N. A., Hu, L. & Petropoulos, G. (2013). The role of scale in determining surface energy fluxes from remote sensing . In , Remote Sensing of Land Surface Turbulent Fluxes and Soil Surface moisture Content: State of the Art (pp. 283-300). CRC Press.

Petrie, M. D., Brunsell, N. A., & Nippert, J. B. (2012). Climate change alters growing season flux dynamics in mesic grasslands . Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 107, 427-440.

Barve, N. A., Bonilla, A. J., Brandes, J. Brown, J. C., Brunsell, N. Cochran, F. V., Crosthwait, R. Gentry, J. Gerhart, L. M., Jackson, T. Kern, A. J., Owens, H. Peterson, A. T., Reed, A. S., Soberón, J. Sundberg, A. D., & Williams, L. M. (2012). Climate-change causation of mass mortality events in overwintering monarch butterflies . Revista Mexicana de la Biodiversidad , 83, 817-824.

Cochran, F. V., & Brunsell, N. A. (2012). Temporal scales of tropospheric CO2, precipitation, and ecosystem responses in central Great Plains. Remote Sensing of Environment, 127, 316-328.

Wohl, E. Barros, A. Brunsell, N. Chappell, N. Coe, M. Giambelluca, T. Goldsmith, S. Harmon, R. Hendrickx, J. Juvik, J. McDonnell, J. & Ogden, F. (2012). The hydrology of the humid tropics. Nature Climate Change , 2, 655-662. DOI:10.1038/NCLIMATE1556

Petrie, M. D., & Brunsell, N. A. (2012). The role of precipitation variability on the ecohydrology of grasslands . Ecohydrology, 5, 337-345. DOI:10.1002/eco.224

Craine, J. M., Nippert, J. B., Elmore, A. J., Skibbe, A. M., Hutchinson, S. L., & Brunsell, N. A. (2012). The timing of climate variability and grassland productivity . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 109, 3401-3405. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1118438109

Brunsell, N. A., & Anderson, M. C. (2011). Characterizing the multiscale spatial structure of remotely sensed evapotranspiration with information theory . Biogeosciences, 8, 2269-2280. DOI:10.5194/bg-9-2269-2011

Brunsell, N. A., Schymanski, S. & Kleidon, A. (2011). Quantifying the thermodynamic entropy budget of the land surface: is this useful? Earth System Dynamics , 2, 87-103. DOI:10.5194/esd-2-87-2011

Nippert, J. B., Ocheltree, T. Skibbe, A. Kangas, L. Ham, J. M., Arnold, K. & Brunsell, N. A. (2011). Scaling above-ground growth by landscape position in mesic grassland . Oecologia, 1-12. DOI:10.1007/s00442-011-1948-6

Brunsell, N. A., Mechem, D. B., & Anderson, M. C. (2011). Surface heterogeneity impacts on boundary layer dynamics via energy balance partitioning . Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics , 11, 3403-3416. DOI:10.5194/acp-11-1-2011

Brunsell, N. A., Ham, J. M., & Arnold, K. A. (2011). Validating remotely sensed land surface fluxes in heterogeneous terrain with large aperture scintillometry . International Journal of Remote Sensing, 32, 6295-6314.

Brunsell, N. A. (2010). A multiscale information theory approach to assess spatial-temporal variability of daily precipitation. Journal of Hydrology , 385, 165-172. DOI:j.jhydrol.2010.02.016

Selected Grants

Brunsell, Nathaniel, (Principal), Konza Cluster for the Ameriflux Network (Annually Renewed), DOE - Subcontract from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, $410,000, (01/01/2014 - 12/31/2019). Federal. Status: Funded.

O'Neill, B., (Principal), Brunsell, N. A., (Co-Investigator), Lawrence, P., (Co-Investigator), Feddema, J., (Co-Investigator), Oleson, K., Jain, A., Barton, M., Collaborative Research EaSM2: Linking Human and Earth System Models to Assess Regional Impacts and Adaption in Urban Systems and their Hinterlands, NSF, $699,606, (01/01/2013 - 12/31/2018). Federal. Status: Funded.

Vargas, Rodrigo, (Principal), Brunsell, Nathaniel, (Co-Principal), Hayes, Daniel, (Co-Principal)Reducing uncertainty in carbon cycle science of North Amer- ica: a synthesis program across United States and Mexico., USDA, $537,741, (01/01/2014 - 12/31/2017). Federal. Status: Funded.

Brunsell, Nathaniel, (Principal), Subcontract to Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Station (Annually Renewed: $25,000/year), NSF, $125,000, (01/01/2010 - 12/31/2015). Federal. Status: Funded.

Brunsell, N. A., (Principal), Mechem, D. B., (Co-Investigator), Ma, C., (Co-Investigator), Assessing regional scale variability in extreme value statistics under altered climate scenarios, DOE, $510,544, (01/01/2011 - 12/31/2013). Federal. Status: Funded.

Wilhelmi, O., (Principal), Brunsell, N. A., (Co-Investigator), Feddema, J, (Co-Investigator), Monaghan, A, (Co-Investigator), Oleson, K, (Co-Investigator), System for Integrated Modeling of Metropolitan Extreme Heat Risk (SIMMER), NASA, $367,116, (01/01/2010 - 12/31/2013). Federal. Status: Funded.

Brunsell, N. A., (Co-Principal), Stoy, P., (Principal), Scaling ecosystem function: Novel approaches from MaxEnt and Multiresolution, NSF, $135,803, (01/01/2011 - 12/31/2012). Federal. Status: Funded.

Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science Events
2019 GPRM-AAG Annual Meeting