Researchers and Visitors

Visiting Scholars



Visiting Graduate Researchers

Hang Pan
(Ph.D. candidate, School of Geographic and Oceanographic Science, Nanjing University, China)
Field of study: Land use and mapping.

Jiping Quan
(Ph.D. candidate, global environmental change, Beijing Normal University)

Field of study: Quan's research emphasis will be placed on the optimization of the urban model parameters and scale expanding using the regional climate WRF/Urban model. The focus region will be the Great Beijing Area.

Fuxin Zhu


Postdoctoral Scholars and Researchers


Postdoctoral Scholars

Tom Bell

(Ph.D. 2016, Marine Science, UC Santa Barbara; M.Sc. 2011 San Diego State University; B.A 2006, Integrative Biology and Legal Studies, UC Berkeley)

At UCLA, I am studying coral reef ecology and reef fractional cover classification techniques funded by a NASA Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) Preparatory grant. I will be combining high-altitude hyperspectral imagery, field surveys, and simulation models to answer questions relating to environmental thresholds of coral bleaching and the effect of water column conditions on accurate benthic classifications.

Dongyue Li
(Ph.D. 2016, M.Sc. 2011, Earth Sciences, Ohio State University; B.Sc. 2009, Civil Engineering, Information Engineering University, China)
I work with Prof. Dennis Lettenmaier and also closely work with Prof. Steven Margulis (CEE, UCLA) and Dr. Kostas Andreadis (JPL) on two hydrologic areas: (1) current space-borne hydrologic observations are discontinuous in both space and time due to satellite orbital characteristics. At UCLA, we seek to fill this spatiotemporal gap (specifically for the future SWOT satellite mission) with the combined application of hydrologic modeling and available satellite observations in data assimilation frameworks. (2) With the model and data assimilation systems developed from graduate research, I continue to work on quantifying snow as a water resource, and on characterizing the potential changes of the snow water resource availability over the western U.S. in the context of climate change. 

Lee Dietterich
(Ph.D. 2016, University of Pennsylvania, B.A. 2010, Harvard University)

Funded by a grant from the US Department of Energy to Prof. Daniela Cusack, I am studying how plant-soil interactions affect ecosystem-level cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in tropical forests.  I aim to improve our ability to predict and mitigate the effects of climate change on these valuable ecosystems and the people who depend on them.

Nagaraju Chilukoti
E-mail:  &
(Ph.D. 2016, Indian institute of Tropical Meteorology & Savitribai Phule Pune university, India; M.Sc. Meteorology, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India; B.Sc. Mathematics, Physics & Chemistry, Acharya Nagajuna University Guntur, India)

Field of Research: Monsoon, Regional and Global modeling, Land - Atmosphere interactions, Climate Change, Data assimilation Currently, I am part of NSF funded project entitled "Collaborative research: Surface-induced forcing and decadal variability and change of the the East Asian climate, Surface hydrology and Agriculture" which is under the supervision of Prof. Yongkang Xue. As part of this project, I am investigating the Land surface processes and their interaction with climate system.

Chunyu Dong
(Ph.D., Hydrology and Climatology, Heidelberg University; M.Sc., Earth System Science, Lanzhou University; B.Sc. Geographic Science, Lanzhou University)

As a team member of an interdisciplinary project, I currently work with Prof. Glen MacDonald, Prof. Gregory Okin and Prof. Thomas Gillespie. This project aims at investigating the impacts and implications of the recent drought for the habitats and energy infrastructure in southern California. My research focuses on capturing the dynamics of the natural vegetation during the drought events in the context of a changing climate. Remote sensing and GIS spatial analysis will be jointly applied to detect the ecosystem response to the disturbance by wildfire and hydrological extremes.

Ye Liu
(Ph.D. 2015, Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University; B.Sc 2010, Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University)

I am working on the interactions between vegetation and climate change funded by a NSF project, including the application of a global dynamic vegetation model and its coupling with a global climate model.

Sara Sadri
Website profile
(Postdoc, Princeton University, USA; Ph.D., Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada; Ms.c. Biosystems Engineering, University of Manitoba, Canada; B.Sc. Agricultural Irrigation & Water Resources Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran.)

I am part of two projects at the moment. One is NOAA's river hydrodynamics project which is under the supervision of Professor Dennis Lettenmaier. I am conducting research on the thermal impacts of reservoir operations on downstream stream temperatures. This is a project that includes developing a model for management of temperature releases from reservoirs in the Central Valley.
In my second project, I am working under the supervision of Professor Eric Wood from Princeton University in developing a global near real-time drought monitoring system based on observations from NASA's soil moisture Active-Passive (SMAP) satellite.

Ismaila Diallo
(Ph.D. 2015, Atmospheric Sciences, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); M.Sc. 2009,  Meteorology, Oceanography and Management of Arid Area (MOGMA), Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); B.Sc. 2007, Physics and Chemistry, Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD))

Field of research: Climate Dynamics/Climate modelling, hydroclimatology, land-atmosphere interactions, extreme weather events (floods, droughts, heat waves...) and atmospheric teleconnections. The dynamics and impacts of climate variability and change.

Ji-Woo Lee
(Ph.D. 2014, Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University; M.Sc. 2008, Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University,  2006; B.Sc. Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University)

Field of research: Weather and Climate modeling - Development of numerical models in supercomputing environment. Predictability of regional climate Downscaling. The role of land surface/atmosphere interaction processes in the climate.

Kang Yang

(Ph.D. 2014, Geography, Nanjing University; B.Sc 2008, Geography, Nanjing University)

At UCLA, I am studying supraglacial hydrology of the Greenland Ice Sheet funded by a NASA Cryospheric Project. I am analyzing supraglacial rivers, lakes, moulins, and internally drained catchments on the ice surface and their potential impacts on ice sheet mass balance and sea level rise.

Chunqiao Song
(Ph.D., Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2014) Field of study:  USGS/NASA Global Lake project

Simona Avnaim-Katav
(Ph.D. 2011, Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel; Postdoc , 2012 Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Postdoc 2013 Aix-Marseille University, Department of Geography.)

At UCLA, in collaboration with Prof. Glen M. MacDonald, I am studying the distribution patterns of the recent dead and live micro-faunal assemblages in southern California coastal marshes in relation to environmental parameters via multivariate statistical analyses. This innovative ecological data will serve as a modern analogue for paleostudies to reconstruct past marsh variations in salinity and relative elevation over the last 2000 to 6000 years that will add to a comprehensive understanding of the wider climate changes and serve as a key for future modeling.
Field of study: micropaleontology and paleoecology (specializing mainly in benthic foraminifera and ostracods), sedimentology, and Quaternary and Holocene paleoenvironmental reconstruction. 

Jongyoun Kim
(Ph.D., Civil & Environmental Engineering, UCLA; M.Sc., Atmospheric Sciences, UCLA; B.Sc. Atmospheric Sciences, Pusan National University, Korea)

I am part of NASA funded MEaSUREs project which focuses on the development of Earth Systems Data Records (ESDRs) for surface-water storage change dynamics throughtout the world, especially at resolutions and quality relevant to human use and which are largely absent from current global hydrology models. 

Miriam E. Marlier
(Postdoctoral Scientist, Ecology, Evolution, & Environmental Biology, Columbia University; Ph.D., M.A. Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University; B.S. Atmospheric, Oceanic, & Environmental Sciences, UCLA)

My research broadly uses remote sensing analysis to monitor changes in our environment. At UCLA, I am working with Dennis Lettenmaier to map variations in global surface water resources over time. I am also studying past and future drought conditions in the western U.S. and the implications for fire risk. In addition, I hold a joint research appointment at Columbia University, where I am using satellite observations of fire activity to quantify the influence of tropical fire emissions on regional air quality and public health.

Ali Mehran
(Ph.D. 2015, Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine; M.Sc. 2010, Civil & Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University; M.Sc. 2007, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology; B.Sc. 2004 Civil & Environmental Engineering, KNT University of Technology, Iran)

My research at UCLA focuses on two different projects. I am working on a NASA project on monitoring and assessing the impacts of atmospheric rivers (ARs) on extreme floods in Northwest United States.  I am also working on a  project on the spatial variability of Wet Tropospheric Delay over the inland water bodies, and estimating NASA’s SWOT (Surface Water Ocean Topography) mission’s error based on Wet Tropospheric Delay.


Konstantin Kremenetski
(Ph.D. 1987, Geography (Geomorphology and Palaeogeography), Institute of Geography USSR Academy of Sciences)

Konstantin Kremenetski is a researcher in the field of biogeography.  He works with Glen MacDonald in the Paleobiology Lab.


Qian Li
Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Field of study:  permafrost and snow cover modeling and remote interactions between subsurface temperature anomaly and drought.