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Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate

Staff information

Heng Xiao

Planetry Boundry Lyr Meas Mod
Earth Scientist
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


  • Qian Y., Z. Guo, V.E. Larson, L. Leung, W. Lin, P. Ma, and H. Wan, et al. 2024. "Region and cloud regime dependence of parametric sensitivity in E3SM Atmosphere Model." Climate Dynamics 62, no. 2:1517-1533. PNNL-SA-182222. doi:10.1007/s00382-023-06977-3


  • Chen J., S.M. Hagos, H. Xiao, J.D. Fast, and Z. Feng. 2023. "Multiscale Analysis of Surface Heterogeneity-Induced Convection on Isentropic Coordinates." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 80, no. 4:983-1001. PNNL-SA-153919. doi:10.1175/JAS-D-21-0198.1
  • Chen J., S.M. Hagos, H. Xiao, J.D. Fast, C. Lu, A.C. Varble, and Z. Feng, et al. 2023. "The effects of shallow cumulus cloud shape on interactions among clouds and mixing with near-cloud environments." Geophysical Research Letters 50, no. 24:Art. No. e2023GL106334. PNNL-SA-190105. doi:10.1029/2023GL106334
  • Chen J., S.M. Hagos, Z. Feng, J.D. Fast, and H. Xiao. 2023. "The Role of Cloud-Cloud Interactions in the Life Cycle of Shallow Cumulus Clouds." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 80, no. 3:671-686. PNNL-SA-169424. doi:10.1175/JAS-D-22-0004.1
  • Li X., H. Wang, J. Chen, S. Endo, S. Kirschler, C. Voigt, and E. Crosbie, et al. 2023. "Large-eddy simulations of marine boundary layer clouds associated with cold-air outbreaks during the ACTIVATE Campaign. Part II: aerosol-meteorology-cloud interaction." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 80, no. 4:1025-1045. PNNL-SA-169198. doi:10.1175/JAS-D-21-0324.1
  • Xiao H., M. Ovchinnikov, L.K. Berg, and J.H. Muelmenstaedt. 2023. "Evaluating shallow convection parameterization assumptions with a qt-w quadrant analysis." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 15, no. 8:e2022MS003526. PNNL-SA-179838. doi:10.1029/2022MS003526


  • Hagos S.M., J. Chen, K.A. Barber, K. Sakaguchi, R.S. Plant, Z. Feng, and H. Xiao. 2022. "A Machine-Learning-Assisted Stochastic Cloud Population Model as a Parameterization of Cumulus Convection." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 14, no. 7:e2021MS002808. PNNL-SA-162336. doi:10.1029/2021MS002808
  • Li X., H. Wang, J. Chen, S. Endo, G. George, B. Cairns, and S. Chellappan, et al. 2022. "Large-Eddy Simulations of Marine Boundary Layer Clouds Associated with Cold-Air Outbreaks during the ACTIVATE Campaign. Part I: Case Setup and Sensitivities to Large-Scale Forcings." Journal of Atmospheric Sciences 79, no. 1:73-100. PNNL-SA-162328. doi:10.1175/JAS-D-21-0123.1
  • Ovchinnikov M., J.D. Fast, L.K. Berg, W.I. Gustafson, J. Chen, K. Sakaguchi, and H. Xiao. 2022. "Effects of Horizontal Resolution, Domain Size, Boundary Conditions, and Surface Heterogeneity on Coarse LES of a Convective Boundary Layer." Monthly Weather Review 150, no. 6:1397-1415. PNNL-SA-156347. doi:10.1175/MWR-D-21-0244.1
  • Sakaguchi K., L.K. Berg, J. Chen, J.D. Fast, R.K. Newsom, S. Tai, and Z. Yang, et al. 2022. "Determining Spatial Scales of Soil Moisture - Cloud Coupling Pathways using Semi-Idealized Simulations." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 127, no. 2:Art. No. e2021JD035282. PNNL-SA-162397. doi:10.1029/2021JD035282


  • Cornwell G.C., H. Xiao, L.K. Berg, and S.M. Burrows. 2021. "Simulated dust transport in the convective boundary layer." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 126, no. 5:e2020JD033429. PNNL-SA-156006. doi:10.1029/2020JD033429
  • Krishnamurthy R., R.K. Newsom, L.K. Berg, H. Xiao, P. Ma, and D.D. Turner. 2021. "On the estimation of boundary layer heights: A machine learning approach." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14, no. 6:4403-4424. PNNL-SA-157374. doi:10.5194/amt-14-4403-2021


  • Chen J., S.M. Hagos, H. Xiao, J.D. Fast, and Z. Feng. 2020. "Characterization of Surface Heterogeneity-Induced Convection using Cluster Analysis." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 125, no. 20:e2020JD032550. PNNL-SA-151030. doi:10.1029/2020JD032550
  • Gustafson W.I., A.M. Vogelmann, Z. Li, X. Cheng, K. Dumas, S. Endo, and K. Johnson, et al. 2020. "The Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Symbiotic Simulation and Observation (LASSO) activity for continental shallow convection." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 101, no. 4:E462-E479. PNNL-SA-147833. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-19-0065.1
  • Huang M., H. Xiao, M. Wang, and J.D. Fast. 2020. "Assessing CLUBB PDF closure assumptions for a continental shallow-to-deep convective transition case over multiple spatial scales." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 12, no. 10:e2020MS002145. PNNL-SA-152632. doi:10.1029/2020MS002145
  • Yang Z., Y. Qian, Y. Liu, L.K. Berg, W.I. Gustafson, Z. Feng, and K. Sakaguchi, et al. 2020. "Understanding Irrigation Impacts on Low-Level Jets over the Great Plains." Climate Dynamics 55, no. 3-4:925-943. PNNL-SA-146743. doi:10.1007/s00382-020-05301-7


  • Endo S., D. Zhang, A.M. Vogelmann, P. Kollias, K. Lamer, M. Oue, and H. Xiao, et al. 2019. "Reconciling differences between large-eddy simulations and Doppler-lidar observations of continental shallow cumulus cloud-base vertical velocity." Geophysical Research Letters 46, no. 20:11,539-11,547. PNNL-SA-142534. doi:10.1029/2019GL084893
  • Fast J.D., L.K. Berg, L. Alexander, D.M. Bell, E. D'Ambro, J.M. Hubbe, and C. Kuang, et al. 2019. "Overview of the HI-SCALE Field Campaign: A New Perspective on Shallow Convective Clouds." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 100, no. 5:821-840. PNNL-SA-133582. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0030.1
  • Fast J.D., L.K. Berg, Z. Feng, F. Mei, R.K. Newsom, K. Sakaguchi, and H. Xiao. 2019. "The Impact of Variable Land-Atmosphere Coupling on Convective Cloud Populations Observed During the 2016 HI-SCALE Field Campaign." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 11, no. 8:2629-2654. PNNL-SA-143151. doi:10.1029/2019MS001727


  • Hagos S.M., Z. Feng, R.S. Plant, R.A. Houze, and H. Xiao. 2018. "A stochastic framework for modeling the population dynamics of convective clouds." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 10, no. 2:448-465. PNNL-SA-130047. doi:10.1002/2017MS001214
  • Sakaguchi K., L. Leung, C.D. Burleyson, H. Xiao, and H. Wan. 2018. "Role of Troposphere-Convection-Land Coupling in the Southwestern Amazon Precipitation Bias of the Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1)." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123, no. 16:8374-8399. PNNL-SA-134715. doi:10.1029/2018JD028999
  • Xiao H., L.K. Berg, and M. Huang. 2018. "The Impact of Surface Heterogeneities and Land-Atmosphere Interactions on Shallow Clouds Over ARM SGP Site." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 10, no. 6:1220-1244. PNNL-SA-131778. doi:10.1029/2018MS001286


  • Neggers R.A., A. Ackerman, W.M. Angevine, E. Bazile, I. Beau, P. Blossey, and I. Boutle, et al. 2017. "Single-column model simulations of subtropical marine boundary-layer cloud transitions under weakening inversions." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 9, no. 6:2385-2412. PNNL-SA-129345. doi:10.1002/2017MS001064
  • Yun Y., J. Fan, H. Xiao, G. Zhang, S.J. Ghan, K. Xu, and P. Ma, et al. 2017. "Assessing the Resolution Adaptability of the Zhang-McFarlane Cumulus Parameterization with Spatial and Temporal Averaging." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 9, no. 7:2753-2770. PNNL-SA-125729. doi:10.1002/2017MS001035


  • Wang M., V.E. Larson, S.J. Ghan, M. Ovchinnikov, D. Schanen, H. Xiao, and X. Liu, et al. 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, no. 2:484-509. PNNL-SA-104723. doi:10.1002/2014MS000375
  • Xiao H., S. Endo, M. Wong, W. Skamarock, J.B. Klemp, J.D. Fast, and W.I. Gustafson, et al. 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, no. 4:1627-1642. PNNL-SA-112067. doi:10.1002/2015MS000532
  • Xiao H., W.I. Gustafson, S.M. Hagos, C. 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, no. 2:537-550. PNNL-SA-103534. doi:10.1002/2014MS000356


  • Fletcher J.K., C.S. Bretherton, H. Xiao, R.N. Sun, and J. Han. 2014. "Improving Subtropical Boundary Layer Cloudiness in the 2011 NCEP GFS." Geoscientific Model Development 7, no. 5:2107-2120. PNNL-SA-105699. doi:10.5194/gmd-7-2107-2014
  • Martini M., W.I. Gustafson, 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: Atmospheres 119, no. 22:12,674-12,688. PNNL-SA-102353. doi:10.1002/2014JD021962
  • Xiao H., C. Mechoso, R. Sun, J. Han, H.L. Pan, S. Park, and C. Hannay, et al. 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, no. 3-4:737-752. PNNL-SA-90541. doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2067-y
  • Xiao H., W.I. Gustafson, 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: Atmospheres 119, no. 7:4192-4203. PNNL-SA-98750. doi:10.1002/2013JD020999


  • Gustafson W.I., P. Ma, H. Xiao, B. Singh, P.J. Rasch, and J.D. Fast. 2013. "The Separate Physics and Dynamics Experiment (SPADE) framework for determining resolution awareness: A case study of microphysics." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118, no. 16:9258-9276. PNNL-SA-92473. doi:10.1002/jgrd.50711
  • Ma H., C. 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, no. 22:9006-9025. PNNL-SA-92105. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00819.1
  • Ma H., H. Xiao, C. Mechoso, and Y. Xue. 2013. "Sensitivity of global tropical climate to land surface processes: Mean state and interannual variability." Journal of Climate 26, no. 5:1818-1837. PNNL-SA-91385. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00142.1
  • Yue Q., B. Kahn, H. Xiao, M. Schreier, E.J. 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: Atmospheres 118, no. 15:8598-8611. PNNL-SA-98572. doi:10.1002/jgrd.50676

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