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Staff information


Chun Zhao

Earth Systems Analysis & Modeling
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K9-30
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Chun Zhao joined the Climate Physics group of PNNL in 2009 with his Ph.D. degree in Atmospheric Science from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Zhao has extensive experience on development and application of regional and global models to investigate challenging issues in Atmospheric Science such as modeling atmospheric aerosols and their direct and indirect effects on climate and hydrological cycle and understanding interactions between air pollutants and climate change. He has been highly involved in the development and application of the WRF-Chem model for studies in aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions. Recently, Dr. Zhao is active in using the WRF-Chem model to advance our understanding of land and atmospheric processes associated with dust modeling. His research focuses on improving model treatments of dust aerosol and understanding dust climatic impact and its modeling uncertainties. Other research by Dr. Zhao has focused on studying uncertainties in simulating radiative forcing and hydrological cycle using global and regional climate models.

Before joining PNNL, Dr. Zhao was a research assistant at Georgia Institute of Technology. He significantly contributed to the development of a regional chemical transport model (REAM) coupled with the U.S. weather forecast model (WRF), which has been widely used for various researches about atmospheric environment science. In addition, he also applied the WRF-REAM model with various in-situ and satellite observations to understand fundamental air quality issues over North America and East Asia.

Research Interests

  • Modeling of atmospheric aerosols and their direct and indirect effects on climate
  • Modeling of atmospheric chemistry and transport processes
  • Modeling across scales
  • Interaction between air pollution and climate change
  • Interaction between land and atmosphere
  • hydrological cycle

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009
  • M.S., Atmospheric Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007
  • B.S., Atmospheric Physics, University of Science and Technology of China, 2005
  • B.A., Management, University of Science and Technology of China, 2005

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Geophysical Union, Member since 2007
  • American Meteorological Society, Member since 2010
  • European Geosciences Union, Member since 2010
  • American Association for Aerosol Research, Member since 2011

Awards and Recognitions

  • Exceptional Contribution Program Award, Pacific Northwest National Lab, 2014
  • Outstanding Performance Award, Pacific Northwest National Lab, 2014
  • Glen Cass Award, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009
  • Outstanding Student Scholarship, University of Science and Technology of China, 2002-2005

PNNL Publications







  • Zhao C, Y Wang, Q Yang, R Fu, D Cunnold, and Y Choi. 2010. "Impact of East Asian Summer Monsoon on the Air Quality over China: View from space." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 115(D09301):, doi:10.1029/2009JD012745
  • Liu Z, Y Wang, D Gu, C Zhao, LG Huey, R Stickel, J Liao, M Shao, T Zhu, L Zeng, SC Liu, CC Chang, A Amoroso, and F Costabile. 2010. "Evidence of Reactive Aromatics As a Major Source of Peroxy Acetyl Nitrate over China." Environmental Science & Technology 44(18):7017-22.  doi:10.1021/es1007966

Selected Publications


  • Zhao C and Y Wang.  2009.    "Assimilated  Inversion of NOx  Emissions over East Asia  Using OMI NO2 Column  Measurements."  Geophysical Research Letters 36:L06805, doi:10.1029/2008GL037123.
  • Zhao C, Y Wang, and T Zeng .  2009 .    "East China  Plains: A  'Basin' of  Ozone  Pollution."  Environmental Science & Technology 43(6):  1911-1915.
  • Zhao C, Y.Wang, T Zeng, and Y Choi.  2009. "Impact of  Convective  Transport and  Lightning NOx  Production over North America: Dependence on  Cumulus  Parameterizations."  Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 9:2289-2317.

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