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Zhibo Zhang

Zhibo Zhang
Contact Information
Physics, Rm 418


Associate Professor
Graduate Program Director – Atmospheric Physics


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

Previous Experience

Experience in Higher Education:
2014 – present        UMBC, Physics Dept. Graduate Program Director, ATPH
2011 – 2016            UMBC, Physics Dept. Assistant Professor (Early Tenure)
2016 – present        UMBC, Physics Dept. Associate Professor

Experience in Other than Higher Education
05/2011 – 09/2011    JCET/UMBC    Assistant Research Scientist
11/2009 – 05/2011    GEST/UMBC    Postdoc Research Associate

Honors Received:
2016                      International Radiation Commission (IRC) Young Scientist Award
2014                      NASA New (Early Career) Investigator Program Award
2013 ~ Present       Member of NASA PACE Mission Science Definition Team
2011 ~ Present       Member of NASA MODIS Science Team
2013 ~ Present       Member of NASA CALIPO/CloudSat Science Team
2007                      AGU 2007 Fall Meeting Outstanding Student Paper Award
2005                      Geosciences Graduate Excellence Scholarship, TAMU

Professional Interests

The Aerosol, Cloud, Radiation-Observation and Simulation (ACROS) group is led by Dr. Zhibo Zhang at the Physics Department of UMBC. Our research focuses on observing, understanding and describing the interactions between aerosol, cloud and radiation, and studying the implications of their interactions for global warming, climate change, air quality and weather. Our research is supported by grants and funding from NASA, the Department Of Energy (DOE), NSF, and Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) of UMBC.

Aerosol and cloud are major modulators of Earth’s radiative energy budget. One branch of our research is to use observations from remote sensing techniques (e.g., NASA’s A-Train and DOE’s ARM) to better understand the microphysical and optical properties of aerosols and clouds, and thereby quantify their roles in Earth’s radiative energy budget.

Aerosol particles, clouds and radiation can interact with each other in a variety of fascinating ways. A recent research direction of our group is to understand how seasonal smoke aerosols originating from the bio-massing burning activities in African interact with the low-level Marine Boundary Layer clouds and radiation in the Southeast Atlantic region.

We rely on global and regional climate models to analyze the current and predict the future climate. Aerosols and clouds are still not adequately represented in the current climate models, resulting significant uncertainties in our projection of future climate change due to global warming. Another objective of our research is to use aerosol and cloud observations from satellite and ground based remote sensing techniques to evaluate and improve aerosol and cloud simulations in climate models.

We are always looking for excellent postdoctoral scholars and students of all levels to join my group. Please see this link for openings and opportunities in our group.

Recent Publications (See complete list of my publications here):

Rajapakshe, C.*, Z. Zhang, J. E. Yorks, H. Yu, Q. Tan, K. Meyer, S. Platnick, and D. M. Winker (2017), Seasonally transported aerosol layers over southeast Atlantic are closer to underlying clouds than previously reported, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL073559.

Zhang, Z.*, X. Dong, B. Xi, H. Song, P.-L. Ma, S. J. Ghan, S. Platnick, and P. Minnis (2017), Intercomparisons of marine boundary layer cloud properties from the ARM CAP-MBL campaign and two MODIS cloud products, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 122, 2351–2365, doi:10.1002/2016JD025763.

Zhang, Z., F. Werner, H. M. Cho, G. Wind, S. Platnick, A. S. Ackerman, L. Di Girolamo, A. Marshak, and K. Meyer (2016), A framework based on 2-D Taylor expansion for quantifying the impacts of sub-pixel reflectance variance and covariance on cloud optical thickness and effective radius retrievals based on the bi-spectral method, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 2016JD024837, doi:10.1002/2016JD024837 (highlighted by EOS of AGU)

Werner, F.*, Wind, G., Zhang, Z., Platnick, S., Di Girolamo, L., Zhao, G., Amarasinghe, N., and Meyer, K. (2016): Marine boundary layer cloud property retrievals from high–resolution ASTER observations: Case studies and comparison with Terra–MODIS, Atmos. Meas. Tech. doi:10.5194/amt-2016-265

Miller, D. J*., Z. Zhang*, A. S. Ackerman, S. Platnick, and B. A. Baum (2016), The impact of cloud vertical profile on liquid water path retrieval based on the bispectral method: A theoretical study based on large‐eddy simulations of shallow marine boundary layer clouds, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 121(8), 4122–4141, doi:10.1002/2015JD024322.

Zhang, Z.*, K. Meyer, H. Yu, S. Platnick, P. Colarco, Z. Liu, and L. Oreopoulos (2016), Shortwave direct radiative effects of above-cloud aerosols over global oceans derived from 8 years of CALIOP and MODIS observations, ACP, 16(5), 2877–2900, doi:10.5194/acpd-15-26357-2015.

H-M Cho*, Z. Zhang, Kerry Meyer, Matthew Lebsock, Steven Platnick, Andrew S. Ackerman, Larry Di Girolamo, Laurent C.-Labonnote, Céline Cornet, Jerome Riedi , Robert Holz: (2015) Frequency and causes of failed MODIS cloud property retrievals for liquid phase clouds over global oceans A comprehensive analysis using A-Train observations (DOI 10.1002/2015JD023161

Min Min* and Z. Zhang, (2014)On the influence of cloud fraction diurnal cycle and sub-grid cloud optical thickness variability on all-sky direct aerosol radiative forcing, JQSRT,

Zhang, Z., Meyer, K., Platnick, S., Oreopoulos, L., Lee, D., and Yu, H. (2014).: A novel method for estimating shortwave direct radiative effect of above-cloud aerosols using CALIOP and MODIS data, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., 6, 9993-10020, doi:10.5194/amtd-6-9993-2013