Jesse Bell

Jesse Bell

Ecosystem processes, ecohydrology, environmental health Phone: +1 828.257.3163 Email: Orcid: Highlights 2015


Dr. Bell’s research primarily explores the relationship between ecohydrological processes and climate change. He is specifically interested in understanding the links between climate extremes to terrestrial water cycle and the role these changes have on society. To better explore these interactions, he uses combinations of in situ observations, experimental research, remote sensing, modeling, and statistical analysis of large datasets. He is interested in below- and above-ground processes, small and large spatial scales, and all research that deals with understanding the biosphere. Dr. Bell’s research is important in understanding the implications of future climate change on the environment and exploring the common patterns across different ecosystems.

Dr. Bell is currently working on a number of projects associated with developing the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) for drought monitoring purposes. USCRN recently added soil moisture and temperature observations to its list of climate monitoring instruments. He is relating these measurements to satellite vegetation observations for better understanding of ecosystem processes to changes in soil climate.

Dr. Bell is also active in understanding the link between climate and human health. His research in this area primarily involves combining climate data observations with morbidity and mortality data. He serves as a climate science advisor for the Climate and Health Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a lead author on a chapter for the USGCRP Climate and Health Assessment that focuses on the impacts of extreme events on human health.

Dr. Bell joined NCICS as a Research Associate on October 30, 2010. He is also an adjunct professor at Emory University.



Bell, J. E., C. L. Brown, K. Conlon, S. Herring, K. E. Kunkel, J. Lawrimore, G. Luber, C. Schreck, A. Smith, and C. Uejio, 2017: Changes in extreme events and the potential impacts on human health. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, In press 

Coopersmith, E. J., J. E. Bell, K. Benedict, J. Shriber, O. McCotter, and M. H. Cosh, 2017: Relating Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) Incidence to Soil Moisture Conditions. GeoHealth, 1, 51-63.

Leeper, R. D., J. E. Bell, C. Vines, and M. Palecki, 2017: An evaluation of the North American regional reanalysis simulated soil moisture conditions during the 2011 to 2013 drought period. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 18,  515-527.

Shriber, J., K. Conlon, K. Benedict, O. McCotter, and J. Bell, 2017: Assessment of Vulnerability to Coccidioidomycosis in Arizona and California. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14, 680.


Bell, J. E., S. C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, C. Adrianopoli, K. Benedict, K. Conlon, V. Escobar, J. Hess, J. Luvall, C. P. Garcia-Pando, D. Quattrochi, J. Runkle, and C. J. Schreck, III, 2016: Ch. 4: Impacts of Extreme Events on Human Health. The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, U.S. Global Change Research Program, 99–128.

Coopersmith, E. J., M. H. Cosh, J. E. Bell, and R. Boyles, 2016: Using machine learning to produce near surface soil moisture estimates from deeper in situ records at U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) locations: Analysis and applications to AMSR-E satellite validation. Advances in Water Resources, 98, 122-131.

Coopersmith, E. J., M. H. Cosh, J. E. Bell, V. Kelly, M. Hall, M. A. Palecki, and M. Temimi, 2016: Deploying temporary networks for upscaling of sparse network stations. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 52, 433-444.

Coopersmith, E. J., M. H. Cosh, J. E. Bell, and W. T. Crow, 2016: Multi-profile analysis of soil moisture within the US Climate Reference Network. Vadose Zone Journal, 15.

USGCRP, 2016: The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. A. Crimmins, J. Balbus, J. L. Gamble, C. B. Beard, J. E. Bell, D. Dodgen, R. J. Eisen, N. Fann, M. D. Hawkins, S. C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, D. M. Mills, S. Saha, M. C. Sarofim, J. Trtanj, and L. Ziska, Eds. U.S. Global Change Research Program, 312 pp.


Bell, J. E., R. D. Leeper, M. A. Palecki, E. Coopersmith, T. Wilson, R. Bilotta, and S. Embler, 2015: Evaluation of the 2012 Drought with a Newly Established National Soil Monitoring Network. Vadose Zone Journal, 14.

Bilotta, R., J. E. Bell, E. Shepherd, and A. Arguez, 2015: Calculation and evaluation of an air-freezing index for the 1981–2010 climate normals period in the coterminous United States. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 54, 69-76.

Coopersmith, E. J., J. E. Bell, and M. H. Cosh, 2015: Extending the soil moisture data record of the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) and Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN). Advances in Water Resources, 79, 80-90.

Coopersmith, E. J., M. H. Cosh, R. Bindlish, and J. Bell, 2015: Comparing AMSR-E soil moisture estimates to the extended record of the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN). Advances in Water Resources, 85, 79-85.

Vins, H., J. Bell, S. Saha, and J. J. Hess, 2015: The Mental Health Outcomes of Drought: A Systematic Review and Causal Process Diagram. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12.


Yan, L., Y. Luo, R. A. Sherry, J. E. Bell, X. Zhou, and J. Xia, 2014: Rain use efficiency as affected by climate warming and biofuel harvest: results from a 12-year field experiment. GCB Bioenergy, 6, 556-565, doi:10.1111/gcbb.12081. Available online at:


Palecki, M.A., & J.E. Bell. 2013. U. S. Climate Reference Network: soil moisture variability and uncertainty. Vadose Zone Journal. doi:10.2136/v2j2012.0158

Bell, J.E. M.A. Palecki, C.B. Baker, W. Collins, J.H.Lawrimore, R.D. Leeper, M.E. Hall, J. Kochendorfer, T.P. Meyers, T. Wilson, & H.J. Diamond. 2013. US Climate Reference Network soil moisture and temperature observations. Journal of Hydrometeorology, doi/10.1175/JHM-D-12-0146.1 <>Diamond, H.J., T.R. Karl, M.A. Palecki, C.B. Baker, J.E. Bell, R.D. Leeper, D.R. Easterling, J.H. Lawrimore, T.P. Meyer, M.R. Helfert, G. Goodge, & P.W. Thorne. 2013. U.S. Climate Reference Network after One Decade of Operations: Status and Assessment. Accepted for publication in Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00170


Yang, Y., J. Fang, P.A. Fay, J.E. Bell, & C. Ji.2010. Rain use efficiency across a precipitation gradient on the Tibetan Plateau. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L15702, doi:10.1029/2010GL043920.

Bell, J. E., E. Weng, & Y. Luo. 2010. Ecohydrological responses to multifactor global change in a tallgrass prairie: a modeling analysis. JGR - Biogeosciences, 115, G04042, doi:10.1029/2009JG001120.

Bell, J.E., R. Sherry, & Y. Luo. 2010. Changes in soil water dynamics due to variation in precipitation and temperature: An ecohydrological analysis in a tallgrass prairie, Water Resources Research, 46, WO3523, doi:10.1029/2009WR007908.


Knapp, A., C. Beier, D. Briske, A. T. Classen, M. Reichstein, S.D. Smith, J.E. Bell, R. Sherry, J.L. Heisler, B. Smith, M. Smith, Y. Luo, J. Yarie, J. Weltzin, & S.W. Leavitt. 2008. Consequences of more extreme precipitation regimes for terrestrial ecosystems. Bioscience, 58. 811-820



Bell, J. E., 2016: Monitoring Drought with a National Soil Monitoring Network. AMS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, January 2016.

Bell, J. E., 2016: Drought and Health. Midwest Drought Early Warning System Kickoff Meeting St. Louis, MO, February 2016.

D., L. R., J. E. Bell, and M. Palecki, 2016: An investigation of soil moisture extremes over the 2012 drought. 30th Conference of Hydrology at the 96th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, January 2016.


Bell, J. E., 2015: Evaluation of the California Drought with USCRN Soil Observations. AGU Chapman Conference on California Drought, Irvine, CA, April 2015

Bell, J. E., 2015: Climate data for health studies. CDC Annual Grantee Meeting, May 2015.

Bell, J. E., 2015: Evaluation of the California Drought with USCRN Soil Observations. AGU Chapman Conference on California Drought, Irvine, CA, April 2015.

Leeper, R. D., and J. E. Bell, 2015: Evaluating the Evolution of the California Drought and Monitoring Societal Risks with NOAA's U.S. Climate Reference Network. Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, January 2015.


Bell, J. E., 2014: Intersection of Climate and Health. Invited talk at the AMS Asheville Chapter, Asheville, NC, September 2014.

Bell, J. E., 2014: NOAA Climate Data Sources for Health. 2014 Water and Health Conference, Raleigh, NC, October 2014.

Bell, J. E., 2014: Preparation of NOAA’s USCRN for NASA’s SMAP Mission. NASA/JPL SMAP CAL/VAL Meeting, Pasadena, CA, October 2014.

Bell, J. E., 2014: The Health Consequences of a Changing Climate. 2014 Second S-NPP Applications Workshop, Huntsville, AL, November 2014.