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Yangang Liu

Senior Scientist

Liu is a Senior Scientist and leader of the Climate and Process Modeling group. His scientific interests have been centering on atmospheric particle systems (aerosols, clouds and precipitation), associated processes and interactions with Earth’s climate. Research spans over a wide spectrum of topics, including aerosol/cloud physics, turbulence, light scattering, radiative transfer, remote sensing, and climate (change). Current research concentrates on development and evaluation of cloud-related parameterizations for models of various scales (from large eddy simulations to cloud-resolving models to numerical weather production models to climate models), and on the effects of aerosols on climate and climate change. Research activities combine development, application, and integration of theory, modeling, and observations. A related interest is to consider particle systems as special examples of broader multiscale complex systems, and seek to quantify fluctuations and explore complexity theories as applied to such complex systems (e.g., statistical physics, fractals, wavelets, stable distributions, information theory, hierarchy theory, synergetics, self-organization, self-organization criticality, etc.). Developing an entirely new framework of scale-dependent models has been one of my long-term research goals. Research has resulted in 98 peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals like Nature, Nature-Geo, and Physical Review Letter. Work has been featured by Nature News, American Physical Society, American Institute of Physics, American Geophysical Union, DOE Office of Science, and various news media.


  • University of Nevada-Reno, Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences
  • Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (NUIST, former Nanjing Institute of Meteorology, China), M.S., Atmospheric Sciences
  • NUIST, China, B.S., Atmospheric Sciences

Professional Activities

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • U.S. Association of Table Tennis

Areas of Interest

  • Aerosol/cloud/precipitation physics
  • Fast physics in large scale models
  • Climate and climate change
  • Complex systems


  • Senior Scientist: 2011 to present
  • Tenured Scientist: 2008 to 2011
  • Scientist: 2006 to 2008, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Associate Scientist: 2003 - 2006, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Assistant Scientist: 2001-2003, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Research Associate: 1998 to 2001, Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Adjunct Full Professor, Stony Brook University, 2010 to present
  • Guest Professor, NUIST, 2010 to present
  • Leader of Climate and Process Modeling Group, April 2014 to present
  • Co-leader of BNL Aerosol/Cloud group, 2007 to present
  • Lead of the multi-institutional FASTER project, 2009-2014

External Service

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research
  • Co-Chair, session on fast physics, AGU, San Francisco, Dec 2013
  • Co-Chair, session on fast physics, AGU, San Francisco, Dec 2012
  • Co-Chair, session on climate, IYC Symposium on Stratospheric Ozone and Climate Change, DC, 7-10 Nov 2011
  • Co-Chair, session on multiscale fast physics, AGU, San Francisco, 6-10 Dec 2011
  • Discussion leader on cloud feedback, Gordon Research Conference on Climate and Radiation, Vermont, July 2011
  • Co-Chair, session on fast physics in climate models, AGU, San Francisco, Dec 2010
  • Associate Chief Scientist of the US Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, 2005 to 2009 ( before ARM merging with Atmospheric Sciences Program (ASP) as Atmospheric Systems Research (ASR) Program.
  • Panelist NASA and DOE programs
  • Reviewers for over 20 journals
  • Reviewers for NASA, DOE, NSF, CFCAS, California State, CCSPO, IPCC

Peer-Reviewed Publications (since 2009)

Li, Z., Feng, S., Liu, Y., Lin, W., Zhang, M., Toto, T., Vogelmann, A. M., and Endo, S. Development of fine-resolution analyses and expanded large-scale forcing properties: 1. Methodology and evaluation. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 120, accepted, doi:10.1002/2014JD022245 (2015).

Feng, S., Li, Z., Liu, Y., Lin, W., Zhang, M., Toto, T., Vogelmann, A. M., and Endo, S. Development of fine-resolution analyses and expanded large-scale forcing properties: 2. Scale awareness and application to single-column model experiments. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 120, accepted, doi:10.1002/2014JD022254 (2015).

Huang, D. and Liu, Y. A novel approach for introducing cloud spatial structure into cloud radiative transfer parameterizations. Environ. Res. Lett. 9, 124022 (2014).

Lu, C., Liu, Y., Niu, S., and Endo, S. Scale dependence of entrainment-mixing mechanisms in cumulus clouds. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 119, 1-14, doi:10.1002/2014JD022265 (2014).

Huang, D. and Liu, Y. Statistical characteristics of cloud variability. Part 2: Implication for parameterizations of microphysical and radiative transfer processes in climate models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119, 10,829-10,843, doi:10.1002/2014JD022003 (2014).

Huang, D., Campos, E., and Liu, Y. Statistical characteristics of cloud variability. Part 1: Retrieved cloud liquid water path at three ARM sites. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119, 10,813–10,828, doi:10.1002/2014JD022001 (2014).

Xie, Y., Liu, Y., Long, C. N., and Min, Q. Retrievals of cloud fraction and cloud albedo from surface-based shortwave radiation measurements: A comparison of 16 year measurements. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 119, 8925-8940, doi:10.1002/2014JD021705 (2014).

Song, H., et al, 2014: Evaluation of Cloud Fractions Simulated by Seven SCMs against the ARM Observation at the SGP Site. J. Climate, 27, 6698-6719.

Wu, W., Y. Liu, M. P. Jensen, T. Toto, M. J. Foster, and C. N. Long, A comparison of multiscale variations of decade-long cloud fractions from six different platforms over the Southern Great Plains in the United States, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 119, doi:10.1002/2013JD019813 (2014).

Liu, Y., Daum, P. H., and Lu, C. Comment on “Cloud droplet spectral width relationship to CCN spectra and vertical velocity” by Hudson et al. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 118, 1874-1877, doi:10.1002/2012JD019207 (2014).

Lu, C., Liu, Y., and Niu, S. Entrainment mixing parameterization in shallow cumuli and effects of secondary mixing events. Chinese Sci. Bull., online, doi:10.1007/s11434-013-0097-1 (2014).

Zhang, M., Bretherton, C. S., Blossey, P. N., Austin, P. H., Bacmeister, J. T., Bony, S., Brient, F., Cheedela, S. K., Cheng, A., Del Genio, A. D., De Roode, S. R., Endo, S., Franklin, C. N., Golaz, J.-C., Hannay, C., Heus, T., Isotta, F. A., Dufresne, J.-L., Kang, I.-S., Kawai, H., Köhler, M., Larson, V. E., Liu, Y., Lock, A. P., Lohmann, U., Khairoutdinov, M. F., Molod, A. M., Neggers, R. A. J., Rasch, P., Sandu, I., Senkbeil, R., Siebesma, A. P., Siegenthaler-Le Drian, C., Stevens, B., Suarez, M. J., Xu, K.-M., von Salzen, K., Webb, M. J., Wolf, A., and Zhao, M. CGILS: Results from the first phase of an international project to understand the physical mechanisms of low cloud feedbacks in single column models. J. Adv. Modeling Earth Sys. 5, 826-842, doi:10.1002/2013MS000246 (2013).

Blossey, P. N., Bretherton, C. S., Zhang, M., Cheng, A., Endo, S., Heus, T., Liu, Y., Lock, A. P., deRoode, S. R., and Xu, K.-M. Marine low cloud sensitivity to an idealized climate change: The CGILS LES intercomparison. J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst. 5, 1-25, doi:10.1002/jame.20025 (2013).

Li, Z., Zang, Z., Li, Q. B., Chao, Y., Chen, D., Ye, Z., Liu, Y., and Liou, K. N. A three-dimensional variational data assimilation system for multiple aerosol species with WRF/Chem and an application to PM2.5 prediction. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 13, 4265-4278, doi:10.5194/acp-13-4265-2013 (2013).

Liu, G., Liu, Y., and Endo, S. Evaluation of Surface Flux Parameterizations with Long-Term ARM Observations. Mon. Weather Rev. 141, 773-797, doi:10.1175/MWR-D-12-00095.1 (2013).

Lu, C., Liu, Y., and Niu, S. A method for distinguishing and linking turbulent entrainment mixing and collision-coalescence in stratocumulus clouds. Chinese Sci. Bull. 58, 545-551, doi:10.1007/s11434-012-5556-6 (2013).

Lu, C., Liu, Y., Niu, S., Krueger, S., and Wagner, T. Exploring parameterization for turbulent entrainment-mixing processes in clouds. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 118, 185-194, doi:10.1029/2012JD018464 (2013).

Lu, C., Liu, Y., Niu, S., and Zhao, L. Examination of microphysical relationships and corresponding microphysical processes in warm fogs. Acta Meteorologica Sinica 27, 832-848, doi:10.1007/s13351-013-0610-0 (2013).

Lu, C., Niu, S., Liu, Y., and Vogelmann, A. M. Empirical relationship between entrainment rate and microphysics in cumulus clouds. Geophys. Res. Lettrs 40, 2333-2338, doi:10.1002/grl.50445 (2013).

Song, H., Lin, W., Lin, Y., Wolf, A., Neggers, R., Donner, L. J., Genio, A. D., and Liu, Y. Evaluation of Precipitation Simulated by Seven SCMs against the ARM Observation at the SGP Site. J. Clim. 26, 5467-5492, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00263.1 (2013).

Xie, Y. and Liu, Y. A new approach for simultaneously retrieving cloud albedo and cloud fraction from surface-based shortwave radiation measurements. Environ. Res. Lett. 8, 044023, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044023 (2013).

Li, Z. et al., 2012: A Three-Dimensional Variational Data Assimilation System for Multiple Aerosol Species with WRF/Chem and an Application to PM2.5 Prediction. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discussion 12, 13515-13552.

Wu, W., Liu, Y., and Betts, A. K., 2012: Observationally-based evaluation of NWP reanalyses in modeling cloud properties over the Southern Great Plains. J. Geophys. Res. 117, D12202, doi:10.1029/2011JD016971

Lu, C., Liu, Y., Yum, S. S., Niu, S., and Endo, S., 2012: A New Approach for Estimating Entrainment Rate in Cumulus Clouds. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L04802, doi:10.1029/2011GL050546.

Li, Z., Niu, F., Rosenfeld, D., Liu, Y., and Fan, J. 2011: Long-term impacts of aerosols on the vertical development of clouds and precipitation. Nature Geosciences, The long-term impacts of aerosols on the vertical development of clouds and precipitatio, Nature-Geoscience, doi: 10.1038/NGEO1313.

Lu, C., Liu, Y., and Niu, S., 2011: Examination of turbulent entrainment-mixing mechanisms using a combined approach. J. Geophys. Res. 116, D20207, doi:10.1029/2011JD015944.

Liu, Y. and W. Wu, M. Jensen, and T. Toto, 2011: W. Relationship between cloud radiative forcing, cloud fraction and cloud albedo, and new surface-based approach for determining cloud albedo. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 11, 7155-7170, doi:10.5194/acp-11-7155-2011.

Niu, S., Lu, C., Liu, Y., Zhao, L., Lv, J., and Yang, J. 2010: A case study of heavy fog microphysical structure with a droplet spectrometer. Adv. Atmos. Sci. 27, 1259-1275.

Liu, Y, 2010: Comment on “Seasonal Variation of the Physical Properties of Marine Boundary Layer Clouds off the California Coast” by Lin et al. J. Clim. 23, 3416-3420.

Wu, W. and Liu, Y. 2010: Radiation entropy flux and entropy production of the Earth system. Rev. Geophys, 48, RG2003, doi:10.1029/2008RG000275.

Wu, W. and Liu, Y. 2010: A new radiative equilibrium model for investigating atmospheric radiation entropy flux. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B365, 1367-1376, doi:10.1098/rstb.2009.0301.

Niu, S., X. Jia, J. Sang, X. Liu, C. Lu, and Y. Liu, 2010: Distributions of raindrop sizes and fall velocities in a semi-arid plateau climate: convective vs. stratiform rains. J. Applied Meteorol. Climatol. 49, 632-645.

Huang, D., Liu, Y., and Wiscombe, W., 2010: Replacing pixel representations by point-function schemes for reducing discretization error in ill-posed remote sensing problems, with examples from cloud tomography. Remote Sensing Letters, 1, 95-102.

Huang, D., Johnson, K., Liu, Y., and Wiscombe, W., 2009:Retrieval of cloud liquid water vertical distributions using collocated Ka-band and W-band cloud radars. Geophys. Res. Lett, 36, L24807, doi:10.1029/2009GL041364.

Guo, H, Y. Liu, P. H. Daum, X. Zeng, X.Li, and W. Tao, 2009: Effects of model resolutions on entrainment (inversion heights), cloud-radiation interactions, and cloud radiative forcing. Atmos. Chem. Phys. (revised).

Wang, J., P. H. Daum, S. Yum, Y. Liu, G. Senum, M. Lu, J. Seinfeld, and H. Jonsson, 2009: Observations of marine stratocumulus microphysics and implications for processes controlling droplet spectra: results from the Marine Stratus/Stratocumulus Experiment (MASE). J. Geophys. Res. 114, D18210, doi:10.1029/2008JD011035.

Rotstayn, L. D., and Y. Liu, 2009: Cloud Droplet Spectral Dispersion and the Indirect Aerosol Effect: Comparison of Two Treatments in a GCM. Geophys. Res. Lett, 36, L10801, doi:10.1029/2009GL038216.

Liu. Y., P. H. Daum, H.Guo, and Y. Peng, 2008: Dispersion Bias, Dispersion Effect, and Aerosol-Cloud Conundrum. Environ. Res. Lett. 3, 045021, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/3/4/045021 (invited)

Guo, H, Y. Liu, P. H. Daum and W. Tao, 2008: Characteristics of vertical velocity in marine stratocumulus: Comparison of LES simulations with observations, Environ. Res. Lett. 3, 045020, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/3/4/045020.

Huang, D., Liu, Y., and Wiscombe, W., 2008: Cloud tomography: Role of constraints and a new algorithm. J. Geophys. Res. 113, D23203, doi:10.1029/2008JD009952.

Liu, Y. and Daum, P. H., 2008: Relationship of refractive index to mass density and mixing rules for multicompoent mixtures like ambient aerosols. J. Aerosol Sci. 39, 974-986.

Huang, D., Y. Liu, and W. Wiscombe, 2008, Determination of 3D cloud liquid water content with tomography. J. Geophys. Res. 113, D13201, doi:10.1029/2007JD009133.

Liu, Y., B. Geert, M. Miller, P. H. Daum, and M. McGraw, 2008: Threshold radar reflectivity for drizzling clouds. Geophys. Res. Lett, 35, L03807, doi:10.1029/2007GL031201.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, and S. Yum, 2008: Ship tracks revisited: New understanding and cloud parameterization. Asia-pacific J. Atmos. Sci. 44, 1-9 (invited).

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, R. McGraw, M. Miller, and S. Niu, 2008: Correction to “Theoretical expression for the autoconversion rate of droplet concentration”. Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L04806, doi:10.1029/2008GL033290.

Guo, H, Y. Liu and J. Penner, 2008: Does threshold representation associated with the autoconversion process matter? Atmos. Chem. Phys. 8, 1225-1230.

Kim, B., M. A., Miller, S. E. Schwartz, Y. Liu, and Q. Min, 2008: Importance of adiabaticity in evaluating aerosol indirect effect derived from ground-based remote sensing. J. Geophys. Res. 113, D05210, doi:10.1029/2007JD008961.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, R. McGraw, M. Miller, and S. Niu, 2007: Theoretical expression for the autoconversion rate of droplet concentration. Geophys. Res. Lett, 34, L16821, doi:10.1029/2007GL030389.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, R. McGraw, and M. Miller, 2006: Generalized threshold function accounting for effect of relative dispersion on threshold behavior of autoconversion process. Geophys. Res. Lett, 33. L11804, doi:10.1029/2005GL0255000.

Liu, Y., Daum, P.H., and Yum, S.S. 2006: Analytical expression for the relative dispersion of the cloud droplet size distribution, Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L02810, doi:10.1029/2005GL024052.

McGraw, R. and Y. Liu, 2006: Brownian drift-diffusion model for evolution of droplet size distributions in turbulent clouds. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L03802, doi:10.1029/2005GL023545.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, R. McGraw, and R. Wood, 2006: Parameterization of the autoconversion process. Part II: Generalization of Sundqvist-type parameterizations. J. Atmos. Sci. 63, 1103-1109.

Liu, Y. and Daum, P. H., 2005: Reply to comments on “Parameterization of the autoconversion process, part I: analytical formulation of the Kessler-type parameterizations”. J. Atmos. Sci. 62, 3007-3008.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, and R. McGraw, 2005: Size Truncation Effect, Threshold Behavior, and a New Type of Autoconversion Parameterization. Geophys. Res. Lett, 32, L11811, doi:10.1029/2005GL022636.

Rotstayn, L. D., and Y. Liu, 2005: A smaller global estimate of the second indirect aerosol effect. Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L05708-1-4.

McGraw, R. and Y. Liu, 2004: Analytical formulation and parameterization of the kinetic potential theory for drizzle formation. Phys. Rev. E. 70, 031606-1-13.

Liu, Y. and P. H. Daum, 2004: Parameterization of the autoconversion process. Part I: Analytical formulation of the Kessler-type parameterizations. J. Atmos. Sci, 61, 1539-1548.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, and R. McGraw, 2004: A new analytical expression for predicting the critical radius in the autoconversion parameterization. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L06121, doi:10.1029/2003GL019117.

Rotstayn, L. D., and Y. Liu, 2003: Sensitivity of the first indirect aerosol effect to an increase of cloud droplet spectral dispersion with droplet number concentration. J. Climate 16, 3476-3481.

McGraw, R. and Y. Liu, 2003: Kinetic potential and barrier crossings: A model for warm cloud drizzle formation. Phys. Rev. Lett. 90(1), 018501-1 - 018501-4.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, and J. Hallett , 2002: A generalized systems theory for the effect of varying fluctuation in cloud droplet size distributions. J. Atmos. Sci, 59, 2279-2289.

Liu, Y. and P. H. Daum, 2002: Warming effect from dispersion forcing. Nature 419, 580-581.

Liu, Y., P. H. Daum, S. K. Chai, and F. Liu, 2002: Cloud parameterizations, cloud physics, and their connections: An overview. Recent Res. Devel. Geophysics 4, 119-142 (Invited).

Liu, Y. and P. H. Daum, 2000: Spectral dispersion of cloud droplet size distributions and the parameterization of cloud droplet effective radius. Geophy. Res. Lett. 27, 1903-1906.

Liu, Y. and P. H. Daum, 2000: The effect of refractive index on size distributions and light scattering coefficients derived from optical particle counters. J. Aerosol. Sci. 31, 945-957.

Liu, F., H. Chen, and Y. Liu, 2000: Observational study of vertical profiles of O3 and NOx in the lower-boundary layer in Beijing area. Bulletin of China Ocean University, No.2.

Liu, Y., W. P. Arnott and J. Hallett, 1999: Particle size distribution retrieval from multispectral optical depth: Influence of particle nonsphericity and refractive index. J. Geophy. Res. D24, 31753-31762.

Liu, Y., W. P. Arnott and J. Hallett, 1998: Anomalous diffraction theory for arbitrarily oriented finite circular cylinders and Comparisons with exact T-matrix results. Applied Optics 37, 5019-5030.

Liu, Y., and J. Hallett, 1998: On size distributions of droplets growing by condensation: A new conceptual model. J. Atmos. Sci. 55, 527-536.

Liu, Y., and J. Hallett, 1997: The "1/3" power-law between effective radius and liquid water content. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc. 123, 1789-1795.

Liu, Y., 1997: On the unified theory of atmospheric particle systems. Part II. Self-affine particles. Adv. Atmos. Sci. 14, 369-388.

Arnott, W. P., C. Schmitt, Y. Liu and J. Hallett, 1997: Droplet size spectra and water vapor concentration retrieval in artificial fogs by inversion of IR (500 -5000 cm ) optical depth measurements obtained with a FTIR spectrometer. Appl. Opt. 36, 5205-5216.

Arnott, W. P., Y., Liu, C. Schmitt, 1997: The unreasonable effectiveness of mimicking measured infrared extinction by hexagonal ice crystals with Mie ice spheres. Technical Digest Series. Vol.5: Optical Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, Optical Society of America.

Mitchell, D.L., S. K. Chai, Y. Liu, J. H. Heymsfield and Y. Dong, 1996: Modeling cirrus clouds. Part I: Treatment of bimodal size spectra and case study analysis. J. Atmos., Sci. 53, 2952-2966.

Mitchell, D. L., A. Macke, and Y. Liu, 1996: Modeling cirrus clouds. Part II: Treatment of radiative properties. J. Atmos. Sci. 53, 2967-2988.

Liu, Y., 1995: On the generalized theory of atmospheric particle systems. Adv. Atmos, Sci. 12, 419-438.

Liu, Y., L. You, W. Yang and F. Liu, 1995: On the size distribution of cloud droplets. Atmos. Res. 35, 187-198.

You, Y. and Y. Liu, 1995: Some microphysical characteristics of cloud and precipitation over China. Atmos. Res. 35, 271-281.

Liu, Y., and Liu, F., 1994: On the description of aerosol particle size distributions. Atmos. Res. 34, 201-216.

Liu, Y., and You, 1994: Error analysis of GBPP-100 probe. Atmos. Res. 34, 379- 387.

Liu, Y., 1993: Statistical theory of the Marshall-Palmer distribution of raindrops. Atmos. Environ. 27A, 15-19.

Liu, Y., W. Chen, and G. Liu, 1993: On size distributions of aerosol particles: A statistical approach. Acta Environ. 13, 22-30 (in Chinese).

Liu, Y., 1992: Skewness and Kurtosis of measured raindrop size distributions. Atmos. Environ. 26A, 2713-2716.