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


Ph.D., Biometeorology, Utah State University

B.S., Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico


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

Selected Publications

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

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

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

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

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.

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. K. D. A., Brunsell, N. A, Rocha, J. V, & Lamparelli, R. A.C. (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: WATER-USE EFFICIENCY IN MESIC GRASSLANDS . Ecohydrology , 7, 1223–1233. DOI:10.1002/eco.1455

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

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. 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.

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

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), Konza Cluster for the Ameriflux Network (Annually Renewed), DOE, $140,000, (01/01/2014 - 12/31/2015) . 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.

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