Nathaniel Brunsell

Natural Sciences and Mathematics - Geography and Atmospheric Science, Geography
Primary office:
Lindley Hall, 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

Oliveira, G de, N A Brunsell, C E Sutherlin, T E Crews, and L R de Haan. 2018. “Energy, Water and Carbon Exchange over a Perennial Kernza Wheatgrass Crop.” Journal Articles. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 249: 120–37.
Vico, G, and N A Brunsell. 2018. “Tradeoffs between Water Requirements and Yield Stability in Annual vs. Perennial Crops.” Journal Articles. Advances in Water Resources 112: 189–202.
Wagle, P, X Xiao, P Gowda, J Basara, N A Brunsell, J Steiner, and K C Anup. 2017. “Analysis and Estimation of Tallgrass Prairie Evapotranspiration in the Central United States.” Journal Articles. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 232: 34–47.
Brunsell, N A, E S van Vleck, M Nosshi, Z Ratajczak, and J B Nippert. 2017. “Assessing the Roles of Fire Frequency and Precipitation in Determining Woody Encroachment in Central U.S. Grasslands.” Journal Articles. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 122: 2683–98, doi:10.1002/2017JG004046.
Cochran, Ferdouz V, and Nathaniel A Brunsell. 2017. “Biophysical Metrics for Detecting More Sustainable Urban Forms at the Global Scale.” Journal Articles. Landscape and Urban Planning 6 (2): 372–88.
Ratajczak, Z., P. D’Odorico, J. B. Nippert, S. L. Collins, N. A. Brunsell, and S. Ravi. 2017. “Changes in Spatial Variance during a Grassland to Scrubland State Transition.” Journal Articles. Journal of Ecology 105: 750–60.
Vargas, R, D Alcaraz-Segura, R Birdsey, N A Brunsell, C O Cruz-Gaistardo, B de Jong, J Etchevers, et al. 2017. “Enhancing Interoperability to Facilitate Implementation of REDD+: Case Study of Mexico.” Journal Articles. Carbon Management 10 (491).
Oliveira, G de, N A Brunsell, E C Moraes, Y E Shimabukuro, G Bertani, T V dos Santos, and L E O C Aragao. 2017. “Evaluation of MODIS-Based Estimates of Water-Use Efficiency in Amazonia.” Journal Articles. International Journal of Remote Sensing 38: 5291–5309, 10.1080/01431161.2017.1339924.
Gerken, T, B Ruddell, J D Fuentes, A Arujo, N A Brunsell, J Maia, R Nasciemento dos Santos, C von Randow, and P C Stoy. 2017. “Investigating the Mechanisms Responsible for the Lack of Surface Energy Balance Closure in a Central Amazonian Tropical Rainforest.” Journal Articles. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 255: 92–103.
Oliveira, G de, E C Moraes, N A Brunsell, Y E Shimabukuro, L E Aragao, G A Mataveli, and T V dos Santos. 2016. “Analysis of Precipitation and Evapotranspiration in Atlantic Rainforest Remnants in Southeastern Brazil from Remote Sensing Data.” Book Chapters. In Tropical Forests - The Challenges of Maintaining Ecosystem Services While Managing the Landscape, edited by J A Blanco, 93–112. InTech - Open Science.
Figueiredo , G. K. D. A., N A Brunsell, B H Higa, J. V. Rocha, and R. A. C. Lamparelli. 2016. “Correlation Maps to Assess Soybean Yield from EVI Data in Parana State, Brazil.” Journal Articles. Scientia Agricola 73 (5): 462–70.
Hufkens, K, T F Keenan, L B Flanagan, R Scott, C J Bernacchi, E Joo, N A Brunsell, J Verfaillie, and A D Richardson. 2016. “Despite Increasing Aridity, Climate Change Promotes Growth of North American Grasslands.” Journal Articles. Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2942.
Eck, D, M Qin, D Hirmas, D Gimenez, and N A Brunsell. 2016. “Relating Quantitative Soil Structure Metrics to Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity.” Journal Articles. Vadose Zone Journal 15 (1): 10.2136/vzj2015.05.0083.
Petrie, M D, N A Brunsell, R Vargas, S L Collins, L B Flannagan, N P Hanan, M E Litvak, and A E Sukyer. 2016. “The Sensitivity of Carbon Exchanges in Great Plains Grasslands to Precipitation Variability.” Journal Articles. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 121: doi:10.1002/2015JG003205.
Cochran, F, N. Brunsell, and A Sukyer. 2016. “Thermodynamic Entropy Production as a Measure of Agroecosystem Sustainability.” Journal Articles. Ecological Indicators 67: 204–14.
Oliveira, G. de, N A Brunsell, E C Moraes, G Bertani, T V dos Santos, Y E Shimabukuro, and L E. Aragao. 2016. “Use of MODIS Sensor Images Combined with Reanalysis Products to Retrieve Net Radiation in Amazonia.” Journal Articles. Sensors 16: doi:10.3390/s16070956.
Figueiredo, G K. D. A., N A Brunsell, J V Rocha, and R A.C. Lamparelli. 2016. “Using Temporal Stability to Estimate Soybean Yield. A Case Study in Parana State, Brazil.” Journal Articles. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 10.1080/01431161.2016.1148280.
Wolf, S, T F Keenan, J. B Fisher, D D Baldocchi, A R Desai, A D Richardson, R L Scott, et al. 2016. “Warm Spring Reduced Carbon Cycle Impact of the 2012 US Summer Drought.” Journal Articles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 10.1073/pnas.1519620113.
Hu, Leiqiu, and Nathaniel Brunsell. 2015. “A New Perspective to Assess the Urban Heat Island through Remotely Sensed Atmospheric Profiles.” Journal Articles. Remote Sensing of Environment 158: 393-406/
Wagle, P, X Xiao, R Scott, T Kolb, D Cook, N A Brunsell, D Baldocchi, et al. 2015. “Biophysical Controls on Carbon and Water Budgets across a Grassland Climatic Gradient in the United States.” Journal Articles. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 214–215: 293–305.
El Kenawy, A, J I Lopez-Moreno, M F McCabe, N A Brunsell, and S M Vicente-Serrano. 2015. “Daily Temperature Changes and Variability in ENSEMBLES Regional Models Predictions: Evaluation and Intercomparison for the Ebro Valley (NE Iberia).” Journal Articles. Atmospheric Research 155: 141–57.
Cochran, F V, N A Brunsell, A Cabalzar, P van der Veld, E Azevedo, R A Pedrosa, and L J Winegar. 2015. “Indigenous Ecological Calendars Define Scales for Climate Change and Sustainability Assessments.” Journal Articles. Sustainability Science, 10.1007/s11625-015-0303-y.
Logan, Kelly E, and N. A Brunsell. 2015. “Influence of Drought on Growing Season Carbon and Water Cycling with Changing Land Cover.” Journal Articles. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 213: 217–25.
Oleson, K. W., A. Monaghan, M. Barlage, N. A. Brunsell, J. Feddema, L. Hu, O. Wilhelmi, and D. F. Steinhoff. 2015. “Interactions between Urbanization, Heat Stress, and Climate Change .” Journal Articles. Climatic Change 129: 10.1007/s10584-013-0936–38.
Hu, L, A J Monaghan, and N A Brunsell. 2015. “Investigation of Urban Air Temperature and Humidity Patterns during Extreme Heat Conditions Using Satellite-Derived Data.” Journal Articles. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 54 (11): doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-15-0051.1.
Miller, L, N A Brunsell, D B Mechem, F Gans, A J Monaghan, R Vautard, D W Keith, and A Kleidon. 2015. “Two Methods for Estimating Limits to Large-Scale Wind Power Generation.” Journal Articles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Shi, Z, M L Thomey, W Mowll, M Litvak, N A Brunsell, S L Collins, W T Pockman, M D Smith, A K Knapp, and Y Luo. 2014. “Differential Effects of Extreme Drought on Production and Respiration: Synthesis and Modeling Analysis.” Journal Articles. Biogeosciences 11: 621–33.
Huber, D. B., D. B. Mechem, and N. A. Brunsell. 2014. “Effects of Great Plains Irrigation on Regional Climate .” Journal Articles. Climate 2: 103–28.
Brown, J C, E Hanley, J Bergtold, M Caldas, V Barve, D Peterson, R Callihan, et al. 2014. “Ethanol Plant Location and Intensification vs. Extensification of Corn Cropping in Kansas.” Journal Articles. Applied Geography 53: 141–48.
Monaghan, A J, L Hu, N A Brunsell, M Barlage, and O V Wilhelmi. 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 Articles. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres [2169897X] 119 (11): 6376–6392.
Barve, N., C. Martin, N. A. Brunsell, and A. T. Peterson. 2014. “Exploration of Physiological Optima in Shaping the Geographic Distribution of Spanish Moss.” Journal Articles. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23: 633–45.
Hu, L, N. Brunsell, A J Monahan, M Barlage, and O V Wilhelmi. 2014. “How Can We Use MODIS Land Surface Temperature to Validate Long-Term Urban Model Simulations?” Journal Articles. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres 119: 3185–3201.
Brunsell, N. A., J. B. Nippert, and T. L. Buck . 2014. “Impacts of Seasonality and Surface Heterogeneity on Water-Use Efficiency in Mesic Grasslands.” Journal Articles. Ecohydrology 7: 1223–1233.
El Kenawy, A., J. I. Lopez-Moreno, N. A. Brunsell, and S. M. Vicente-Serrano. 2013. “Anomalously Severe Cold Nights and Warm Days in Northeast Spain: Their Spatial Variability, Driving Forces and Future Projections.” Journal Articles. Global and Planetary Change 101: 12–32.
Ruddell, B. L., N. A. Brunsell, and P. Stoy. 2013. “Applying Information Theory in the Geosciences to Quantify Process Uncertainty, Feedback, Scale.” Journal Articles. Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union 94 (5): 56.
Lin, P., and N. A. Brunsell. 2013. “Assessing Regional Climate and Local Landcover Impacts on Vegetation with Remote Sensing.” Journal Articles. Remote Sensing 5: 4347–69.
Cochran, F. V., N.  A. Brunsell, and D. B. Mechem. 2013. “Comparing Surface and Mid-Troposphere CO2 Concentration from Central U.S. Grasslands. .” Journal Articles. Entropy 15: 1324–41.
Campbell, P. P. K., E. Middleton, K. J. Thome, R. F. Kokaly, K. F. Huemmrich, D. Lagomasino, K. Novik , and N. A. Brunsell. 2013. “EO-1 Hyperion Reflectance Time Series at Calibration and Validation Sites: Stability and Sensitivity to Seasonal Dynamics .” Journal Articles. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing 6: 276–90.
Brunsell, N. A., and C. J. Wilson. 2013. “Multiscale Controls on Water and Carbon Cycling in a Central US Grassland .” Journal Articles. Entropy 15: 1324–41.
Hu, L., and N. A. Brunsell. 2013. “The Impact of Temporal Aggregation of Land Surface Temperature Data for Urban Heat Island (UHI) Monitoring.” Journal Articles. Remote Sensing of Environment 134: 162–74.
Brunsell, N. A., and L. Hu. 2013. “The Role of Scale in Determining Surface Energy Fluxes from Remote Sensing .” Book Chapters. In Remote Sensing of Land Surface Turbulent Fluxes and Soil Surface Moisture Content: State of the Art, edited by G. Petropoulos, 283–300. CRC Press.
Petrie, M. D., N. A. Brunsell, and J. B. Nippert. 2012. “Climate Change Alters Growing Season Flux Dynamics in Mesic Grasslands .” Journal Articles. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 107: 427–40.
Barve, N. A., A. J. Bonilla, J. Brandes, J. C. Brown, N. Brunsell, F. V. Cochran, R. Crosthwait, et al. 2012. “Climate-Change Causation of Mass Mortality Events in Overwintering Monarch Butterflies .” Journal Articles. Revista Mexicana de La Biodiversidad 83: 817–24.
Cochran, F. V., and N. A. Brunsell . 2012. “Temporal Scales of Tropospheric CO2, Precipitation, and Ecosystem Responses in Central Great Plains.” Journal Articles. Remote Sensing of Environment 127: 316–28.
Wohl, E., A. Barros, N. Brunsell, N Chappell, M. Coe, T. Giambelluca, S. Goldsmith, et al. 2012. “The Hydrology of the Humid Tropics.” Journal Articles. Nature Climate Change 2: 655–62.
Petrie , M. D., and N. A. Brunsell. 2012. “The Role of Precipitation Variability on the Ecohydrology of Grasslands .” Journal Articles. Ecohydrology 5: 337–45.
Craine, J. M., J. B. Nippert , A. J. Elmore, A. M. Skibbe, S. L. Hutchinson, and N. A. Brunsell. 2012. “The Timing of Climate Variability and Grassland Productivity .” Journal Articles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109: 3401–5.
Brunsell, N. A., and M. C. Anderson. 2011. “Characterizing the Multiscale Spatial Structure of Remotely Sensed Evapotranspiration with Information Theory .” Journal Articles. Biogeosciences 8: 2269–80.
Brunsell, N. A., S. Schymanski, and A. Kleidon. 2011. “Quantifying the Thermodynamic Entropy Budget of the Land Surface: Is This Useful?” Journal Articles. Earth System Dynamics 2: 87–103.
Nippert, J. B., T. Ocheltree, A. Skibbe, L. Kangas , J. M. Ham, K. Arnold, and N. A. Brunsell. 2011. “Scaling Above-Ground Growth by Landscape Position in Mesic Grassland .” Journal Articles. Oecologia, 1–12.
Brunsell, N. A., D. B. Mechem, and M. C. Anderson. 2011. “Surface Heterogeneity Impacts on Boundary Layer Dynamics via Energy Balance Partitioning .” Journal Articles. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 11: 3403–16.
Brunsell, N. A., J. M. Ham, and K. A. Arnold. 2011. “Validating Remotely Sensed Land Surface Fluxes in Heterogeneous Terrain with Large Aperture Scintillometry .” Journal Articles. 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 Articles. Journal of Hydrology 385: 165–72.

Selected Grants

Konza Cluster for the Ameriflux Network (Annually Renewed). DOE - Subcontract from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. $410000.00. (1/1/2014 - 12/31/2019). Federal. Status: Funded
Collaborative Research EaSM2: Linking Human and Earth System Models to Assess Regional Impacts and Adaption in Urban Systems and their Hinterlands. NSF. $699606.00. (1/1/2013 - 12/31/2018). Federal. Status: Funded. $4.17 Million; KU portion: $699,606
(Co-PI on KU portion of project, PI: B. O'neill, NCAR).
Reducing uncertainty in carbon cycle science of North Amer- ica: a synthesis program across United States and Mexico.. USDA. $537741.00. (1/1/2014 - 12/31/2017). Federal. Status: Funded
Subcontract to Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Station (Annually Renewed: $25,000/year). NSF. $125000.00. (1/1/2010 - 12/31/2015). Federal. Status: Funded
Assessing regional scale variability in extreme value statistics under altered climate scenarios. DOE. $510544.00. (1/1/2011 - 12/31/2013). Federal. Status: Funded
System for Integrated Modeling of Metropolitan Extreme Heat Risk (SIMMER). NASA. $367116.00. (1/1/2010 - 12/31/2013). Federal. Status: Funded. Role: Co-I.
KU Funding: $367,116.
Scaling ecosystem function: Novel approaches from MaxEnt and Multiresolution. NSF. $135803.00. (1/1/2011 - 12/31/2012). Federal. Status: Funded

2019 GPRM-AAG Annual Meeting