Ping Yang

Ping Yang

University Distinguished Professor and David Bullock Harris Chair in Geosciences

Associate Dean for Research

Atmospheric radiative transfer, remote sensing, numerical modeling of the optical properties of nonspherical particles and its applications

  (979) 845-3651

  Eller O&M 202


Ping Yang and his group are interested in five research areas: (1) the single-scattering properties of particles in the atmosphere and the development of numerical algorithms to compute the optical properties of these particles, (2) the transfer of solar radiation and terrestrial thermal emission in the atmosphere-land-ocean coupled system, (3) remote sensing of cloud properties and aerosols, (4) various theoretical topics in light scattering and radiative transfer, and (5) radiant energy budget in climate science.

Because understanding of the radiative budget of the Earth-Atmosphere system must begin with the fundamental scattering and absorption properties of cloud and aerosol particles, we have made a significant effort to simulate the optical properties of various nonspherical aerosol particles and ice crystals within cirrus clouds. Our research group and external collaborators have developed a database of the single-scattering properties of individual ice crystals with various shapes and sizes. Many other research groups have used this database in various studies involving ice clouds.

To implement advanced remote sensing techniques, fast radiative transfer models are often required. A major portion of our group's current research effort is concentrated on the development of several fast models for the transfer of solar and infrared radiation under cloudy and aerosol-dusty conditions.

Our research group has been studying cloud properties and forcing on the basis of data sets acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES), the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), the Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances (POLDER), and the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) instruments. We are especially interested in the microphysical and optical properties of ice clouds and dust aerosol. We wish to contribute to improving the current knowledge about the radiative forcing of ice clouds using modeling capabilities and satellite-based cloud and dust property retrievals.

Selected Publications

As of February 26, 2020, Prof. Ping Yang has published 330 peer-reviewed journal papers, 11 book chapters, and 4 books. Yang's papers have been cited 11,703 times with an h-index of 54 (citations based on the Web of Science). The Google Scholar citations are 17,580 with an H-index of 68.

Selected publications:


Ph.D., University of Utah


Awards and Honors

  • David and Lucille Atlas Remote Sensing Prize by AMS for “For sustained, seminal contributions to developing light-scattering and radiative transfer models and datasets for remote sensing of ice clouds and dust aerosols.”
  • Elected (2019) Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). According to AAAS, “In a tradition stretching back to 1874, these individuals (Fellows) are recognized for their extraordinary achievements across disciplines. Examples of areas in which nominees may have made significant contributions are research; teaching; technology; services to professional societies; administration in academe, industry, and government; and communicating and interpreting science to the public.”
  • Appointed (2018) one of the 16 members of the National Research Council-Space Studies Board's Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space (appointment term: October 2018- June 2021)
  • Elected (2018) Fellow of The American Physical Society (APS) “for sustained pioneering research in light scattering and radiative transfer with various applications, especially in remote sensing of the Earth’s atmosphere” (According to APS, The number of APS Fellows elected each year is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership.”)
  • Elected (2018) Fellow of The Electromagnetics Academy “in recognition of his distinguished contributions to computational optics and applications to atmospheric science and remote sensing” (the sole fellow inducted during the 2018 Progress In Electromagnetic Research Symposium (PIERS) in Toyama, Japan, 1-4 August 2018).
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2017) (only six medals of this category were bestowed by NASA in 2017. According to NASA, this medal is “one of the Agency’s most prestigious honor awards for outstanding contributions to the Agency’s mission.”)
  • University-level Distinguished Achievement Award in the category of Research (2017), The Association of Former Students (AFS) and Texas A&M University. (Six awards per year at TAMU. This award recognizes, encourages, and rewards individuals whose research efforts have been particularly significant and outstanding and are recognized locally, nationally, and internationally. The results of these research efforts have added substantially to the basic body of knowledge, contributed to the improvement of the quality of life, and/or encouraged additional research. The selection was made by a university-wide committee)
  • Distinguished Alumni Award (2017), Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah
  • Elected (2015) Fellow of American Geophysical Union (AGU) (With over 60,000 members from 148 countries, AGU represents the largest professional organization for Earth and space scientists. According to AGU, “To be elected a Fellow is a special tribute for those who have made exceptional scientific contributions. Nominated fellows must have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences. Primary criteria for evaluation in scientific eminence are major breakthrough/discovery and paradigm shift. This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1% of all AGU members in any given year. New Fellows are chosen by a Committee of Fellows”)
  • Ascent Award (2013) by AGU (American Geophysical Union) Atmospheric Sciences Section (Five awards were given in 2013.Established in 2012, the Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award aims to reward exceptional mid-career (academic, government, and private sector) scientists in the fields of the atmospheric and climate sciences. “Mid-career” is defined here as between 8 and 20 years post-Ph.D or the scientist’s highest degree. The only criterion for the award is that the applicant demonstrates excellence in research and leadership in his or her field.”)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award to ACCRI Aircraft Cloud Effects Team (8/30/2013)
  • Elected (2013) Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) (According to AMS, “Those eligible for election to Fellow shall have made outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years…New Fellows are elected each year by the Council at its fall meeting from a slate submitted by the Fellows Committee of not more than two-tenths of 1 percent of all AMS Members.”)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award to CERES Clouds Team (8/30/2013)
  • Elected member of the International Radiation Commission (IRC), the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS), for term 2012-2020
  • Elected (2010) Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA) (According to OSA, “OSA Members who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics and photonics may be proposed for election to the class of Fellow…the number elected each year is limited to approximately 0.5% of the current membership total.”)
  • Certificate of Appreciation, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), March 2011.
  • Certificate of Appreciation, NASA, November 2010.
  • Holder of the David Bullock Harris Chair in Geosciences (1/1/2010-present), College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University
  • The Association of Former Students’ (AFS) College-level Teaching Award, Texas A&M University, 2008.
  • Dean’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty Research, College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University, 2004.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, 2003
  • NASA Group Achievement Award to CRYSTAL-FACE Science Team, 2003
  • Best Paper Award, Climate and Radiation Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 2000

Additional Information

  • Professor, September 2008–present,  Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University
  • Associate Professor, September 2005–August 2008,  Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University
  • Assistant Professor, September 2001–August 2005, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University
  • Associate Research Scientist, March 2001–September 2001, Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Research Scientist, January 1999–February 2001, Science and System Application, Inc., Lanham, Maryland (worked on-site in code 913, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland)
  • Assistant Research Scientist, December 1997–January 1999, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Research Associate, January 1996–November 1997, Department of Meteorology/Center for Atmospheric Remote Sensing Study, University of Utah


  • American Geophysical Union (fellow)
  • Optical Society of America (fellow)
  • American Meteorology Society (fellow)
  • American Physical Society (fellow)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow)
  • The Electromagentics Academy (fellow)

Update My Profile