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Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate

Staff information

Heng Xiao

Earth Systems Analysis & Modeling
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K9-24
Richland, WA 99352


I am interested in understanding atmospheric boundary layer turbulence and moist convection and their role in Earth's climate system. I use numerical modeling tools ranging from large-eddy simulations (LESs) to global climate models (GCMs).

Research Interests

  • Climate modeling
  • tropical climate dynamics, coupled atmosphere-ocean-land interactions
  • numerical simulation, understanding and parameterization of moist convection and planetary boundary layer

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California
  • M.Sc., Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California
  • B.Sc., Atmospheric Physics, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Meteorological Society

PNNL Publications


  • Neggers RA, A Ackerman, WM Angevine, E Bazile, I Beau, P Blossey, I Boutle, C De Bruijn, A Cheng, J Van Der Dussen, J Fletcher, S Dal Gesso, A Jam, H Kawai, SK Cheedela, VE Larson, MP Lefebvre, A Lock, NR Meyer, SR De Roode, W De Rooy, I Sandu, H Xiao, and KM Xu. 2017. "Single-column model simulations of subtropical marine boundary-layer cloud transitions under weakening inversions." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 9(6):2385-2412.  doi:10.1002/2017MS001064
  • Yun Y, J Fan, H Xiao, G Zhang, SJ Ghan, KM Xu, PL Ma, and WI Gustafson. 2017. "Assessing the Resolution Adaptability of the Zhang-McFarlane Cumulus Parameterization with Spatial and Temporal Averaging." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 9(7):2753-2770.  doi:10.1002/2017MS001035


  • Wang M, VE Larson, SJ Ghan, M Ovchinnikov, D Schanen, H Xiao, X Liu, PJ Rasch, and Z Guo. 2015. "A Multiscale Modeling Framework Model (Superparameterized CAM5) with a Higher-Order Turbulence Closure: Model Description and Low-Cloud Simulations." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 7(2):484-509.  doi:10.1002/2014MS000375
  • Xiao H, S Endo, MW Wong, W Skamarock, JB Klemp, JD Fast, WI Gustafson, Jr, AM Vogelmann, H Wang, Y Liu, and W Lin. 2015. "Modifications to WRF’s dynamical core to improve the treatment of moisture for large--eddy simulations." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 7(4):1627-1642.  doi:10.1002/2015MS000532
  • Xiao H, WI Gustafson, Jr, SM Hagos, CM Wu, and H Wan. 2015. "Resolution-dependent behavior of subgrid-scale vertical transport in the Zhang-McFarlane convection parameterization." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 7(2):537-550.  doi:10.1002/2014MS000356


  • Xiao H, CR Mechoso, R Sun, J Han, HL Pan, S Park, C Hannay, CS Bretherton, and J Teixeira. 2014. "Diagnosis of the Marine Low Cloud Simulation in the NCAR Community Earth System Model (CESM) and the NCEP Global Forecast System (GFS)-Modular Ocean Model v4 (MOM4) coupled model." Climate Dynamics 43(3-4):737-752.  doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2067-y
  • Fletcher JK, CS Bretherton, H Xiao, RN Sun, and J Han. 2014. "Improving Subtropical Boundary Layer Cloudiness in the 2011 NCEP GFS." Geoscientific Model Development 7(5):2107-2120.  doi:10.5194/gmd-7-2107-2014
  • Martini M, WI Gustafson, Jr, Q Yang, and H Xiao. 2014. "Impact of Resolution on Simulation of Closed Mesoscale Cellular Convection Identified by Dynamically Guided Watershed Segmentation." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 119(22):12,674-12,688.  doi:10.1002/2014JD021962
  • Xiao H, WI Gustafson, Jr, and H Wang. 2014. "Impact of subgrid-scale radiative heating variability on the stratocumulus-to-trade cumulus transition in climate models." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 119(7):4192-4203.  doi:10.1002/2013JD020999


  • Gustafson WI, Jr, PL Ma, H Xiao, B Singh, PJ Rasch, and JD Fast. 2013. "The Separate Physics and Dynamics Experiment (SPADE) framework for determining resolution awareness: A case study of microphysics." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 118(16):9258-9276.  doi:10.1002/jgrd.50711
  • Ma HY, H Xiao, CR Mechoso, and Y Xue. 2013. "Sensitivity of global tropical climate to land surface processes: Mean state and interannual variability." Journal of Climate 26(5):1818-1837.  doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00142.1
  • Ma HY, CR Mechoso, Y Xue, H Xiao, D Neelin, and X Ji. 2013. "On the connection between continental-scale land surface processes and the tropical climate in a coupled ocean-atmosphere-land system." Journal of Climate 26(22):9006-9025.  doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00819.1
  • Yue Q, B Kahn, H Xiao, M Schreier, EJ Fetzer, J Teixeira, and K Suselj. 2013. "Transitions of cloud-topped marine boundary layers characterized by AIRS, MODIS, and a large eddy simulation model." Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres) 118(15):8598-8611.  doi:10.1002/jgrd.50676

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