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Zhibo Zhang

Zhibo Zhang
Contact Information
Physics, Rm 418


Associate Professor
Graduate Program Director – Atmospheric Physics


Ph.D.  Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2008
M.S.  Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2004
B.S. Nanjing University, China, 2001

Previous Experience

Before he joined the Physics Department in 2011, Dr. Zhang held a postdoctoral Research Associate position at the Goddard Earth Sci. &. Tech. Center of UMBC from 2008 to 2011 and worked onsite at the Climate and Radiation Branch (Code 613.2) of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Professional Interests

My primary research interest is in cloud and aerosol remote sensing, which aims to quantify global cloud and aerosol optical and microphysical properties using remote sensing technologies, and thereby establish observational-based correlations between the properties of clouds and environmental factors, such as aerosol, water vapor and precipitation. My research is motivated by the fact that the current understanding of clouds, especially with regard to how clouds are connected to the environment and how clouds change with global warming, is highly limited, which has become the major obstacle hampering climate change predictions.

My research started with light scattering and radiative transfer, two of the most fundamental areas in remote sensing. My major contribution in these areas is the development of innovative methods and efficient numerical models for simulating the scattering properties of nonspherical ice cloud particles with complex shapes. Ice particle scattering properties computed using my models are now widely used in ice cloud remote sensing and climate modeling for representing how ice clouds interact with solar and thermal infrared radiation. My current research at UMBC is aimed at characterizing the vertical structure of clouds in different meteorological conditions, using a combination of cloud resolving models and remote sensing technologies. Results from this project will provide a vertical profile of cloud droplet size as a function of cloud type, in order to better represent cloud vertical structure in climate models and to help improve the predication of climate change. In addition to cloud remote sensing, I am also interested in the climatic effects of clouds, aerosols and water vapor.

Selected Publications

Zhang, Z., and S. Platnick (2011), An assessment of differences between cloud effective particle radius retrievals for marine water clouds from three MODIS spectral bands, J. Geophysical. Research, (In Press).

Baum, B. A., P. Yang, A. J. Heymsfield, C. Schmitt, Y. Xie, A. Bansemer, Y. X. Hu, andZ. Zhang (2011), Improvements to shortwave bulk scattering and absorption models for the remote sensing of ice clouds. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 50, 1037-1056

Zhang, Z., S. Platnick, P. Yang, A. K. Heidinger, and J. M. Comstock (2010), Effects of ice particle size vertical inhomogeneity on the passive remote sensing of ice clouds,J. Geophysical. Research115(D17), D17203. [Highlighted by American Geophysical Union (2010 Sep)]

Zhang, Z., P. Yang, G. Kattawar, J. Riedi, L.C.-Labonnote, B. Baum, S. Platnick, and H.-L. Huang (2009), Influence of ice particle model on satellite ice cloud retrieval: lessons learned from MODIS and POLDER cloud product comparisonAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 9, 7115-7129.

Dessler, A. E., Z. Zhang, and P. Yang (2008), Water-vapor climate feedback inferred from climate fluctuations, 2003-2008Geophys. Res. Lett., 35(20), L20704. [Highlighted by Science (2008 Nov) and Nature (2008 Dec)]

Dessler, A. E., P. Yang, J. Lee, J. Solbrig, Z. Zhang, K. Minschwaner, N. M. Tech, and N. M. Socorro, (2008): An analysis of the dependence of clear-sky top-of-atmosphere outgoing longwave radiation on atmospheric temperature and water vaporJ. Geophysical. Research, 113, doi:10.1029/2008JD010137.

Yang, P., Z. Zhang, G. W. Kattawar, S. G. Warren, B. A. Baum, H.-L. Huang, Y. X. Hu, D. Winker, and J. Iaquinta, (2008): Effect of Cavities on the Optical Properties of Bullet Rosettes: Implications for Active and Passive Remote Sensing of Ice Cloud PropertiesJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 47, 2311-2330.

Zhang, Z., P. Yang, G. Kattawar, H. L. Huang, T. Greenwald, J. Li, B. A. Baum, D. K. Zhou, and Y. Hu, (2007): A fast infrared radiative transfer model based on the adding-doubling method for hyperspectral remote-sensing applicationsJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer, 105, 243-263.

Zhang, Z., P. Yang, G. W. Kattawar, and W. J. Wiscombe, (2007): Single-scattering properties of Platonic solids in geometrical-optics regimeJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer106, 595-603.

Yang, P., Z. Zhang, B. A. Baum, H. L. Huang, and Y. Hu, (2004): A new look at anomalous diffraction theory (ADT): Algorithm in cumulative projected-area distribution domain and modified ADTJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer89, 421-442.

Zhang, Z., P. Yang, G. W. Kattawar, S.-C. Tsay, B. A. Baum, Y. Hu, A. J. Heymsfiel, and J. Reichardt, (2004): Geometrical-optics solution to light scattering by droxtal ice crystals. Applied Optics, 43, 2490-2499.