Rasmus M. Houborg, PhD

Research Scientists

Research Scientist, Environmental Sciences and Engineering



Dr. Houborg received his undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He spent a year at the University of Edmonton, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences during his graduate studies and was a visiting Ph.D student at the USDA-ARS facility in Tucson, Arizona in 2005. After being awarded a Ph.D in Physical Geography in 2006, he spent 4 years in the United States working first as a Post-doctoral scientist at the USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory and then as a Research Associate in the Hydrological Sciences Branch at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Dr. Houborg returned to Europe in 2011 to take up a position at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Italy. In early 2013, he joined KAUST as a Research Scientist.

Research Interests

Dr. Houborg is interested in optimizing the utilization of earth observation data and further advance the integration of high quality satellite products within land surface modelling schemes for improved monitoring of terrestrial water, carbon and energy cycle processes in space and time. He is active in the development of candidate remote sensing techniques for accurately mapping key leaf and canopy biophysical properties useful for tracking changes in crop health and productivity, as well as studies on their relationship to key plant functional traits and validation. He is also looking into the benefits of combining data streams in the shortwave reflective and thermal infrared domain to better describe vegetation function and response to environmental stress factors. Dr. Houborg realizes that a key to major science advancements is to make innovative use of existing remote sensing data through a multi-sensor approach that exploits the synergies and individual benefits provided by the suite of available satellite sensors.

Selected Publications

For a full listing of publications, please refer to my Google Scholar page


  • 2006: Ph.D. in Physical Geography, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2002: M.S. in Physical Geography and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • 1999: B.S. in Geography, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Professional Profile

  • 2013-Present: Research Scientist, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • 2011-2013: Researcher, European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy
  • 2009-2011: Research Associate, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, U.S.A.
  • 2007-2009: Post-doctoral Research Associate, USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab, Beltsville, U.S.A.

Scientific and Professional Membership

American Geophysical Union (http://sites.agu.org/)
MODIS Science Team member since 2011 (http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/sci_team/)


  • USDA-ARS Outstanding Performance Award, 2007 and 2008
  • Recipient of the Royal Danish Geographical Society “Niels Nielsen” Award, 2007​

Research Interests Keywords

Crop health and productivity Modelling of water and carbon cycle processes Agricultural monitoring Satellite Remote Sensing