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Liou, Kuo-Nan

liouKuo-Nan Liou, Distinguished Professor

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Founding Director, Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1565

Office: 4242 Young Hall, Phone: 310.794.9832, Email


Professor Kuo-Nan Liou received his B.S. degree from National Taiwan University in 1970 and his Ph.D. in meteorology and oceanography in the School of Engineering from New York University in 1970. After a postdoctoral research associate position at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies/Columbia University and a research faculty position at the University of Washington, Dr. Liou subsequently become an Associate Professor at the University of Utah in 1975 and was promoted to Full Professor in 1980. He served as Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Remote Sensing Studies from 1987-1997 and Chair of the Meteorology Department from 1996-1997. Dr. Liou joined UCLA in 1997 and served as Chair of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department from 2000-2004. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and, since 2006, Director of the Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering. Professor Liou has held joint appointments with the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department since 2003 and the Electrical Engineering Department since 2010.

Research Interests

Professor Liou’s current research interests include electromagnetic scattering by ice crystals and aerosols, satellite remote sensing, radiative transfer, and climate modeling. Specifically, his research activities span from regional climate modeling and validation using satellite data to direct and indirect effects of aerosols on cloud radiative forcing and snow-albedo feedback,radiative transfer in 3D mountains and surface energy balance in climate models, and laboratory light scattering and spectroscopy involving small ice crystals and aerosols.

Professor Liou is concerned with the substantial increase in black carbon produced by world-wide fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning, and the deposition of absorbing aerosols and snow (mountains)-albedo feedback in a regional context, a highly probable cause of surface temperature amplification in addition to global warming and mountain snowmelt.

Professor Liou has authored and co-authored more than 215 peer-reviewed papers, invited book chapters, and review articles. He is best known for his two monographs, “An Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation” (Academic Press; 1980, 1st edition; 2002, 2nd edition) and “Radiation and Cloud Processes in the Atmosphere: Theory, Observation and Modeling” (Oxford University Press, 1992). Dr. Liou recently edited a monograph, “Recent Progress in Atmospheric Sciences: Applications to the Asia-Pacific Region” (2008). Under contract with Cambridge University, he is currently working on a book volume, “Light Scattering and Radiative Transfer by Ice Crystals: Fundamentals and Applications,” with his former student, Professor Ping Yang from Texas A&M University.

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2013 Roger Revelle Medal, American Geophysical Union
  • 2012 Quadrennial Gold Medal Award, International Radiation Commission
  • 2011, Distinguished Lecturer, Atmospheric Sciences at the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS)
  • 2010 William Nordberg Medal, Committee on Space Research, ICSU
  • 2008-2010 Chair, Special Fields and Interdisciplinary Engineering Section, NAE
  • 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Certificate bestowed on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • 2004 Academia Sinica (Chinese Academy of Sciences,Taiwan)
  • 2004 Distinguished Achievement Award, Scientists Society of Southern California
  • 2002 Honorary Professorship at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
  • 2000 Fellow, American Association of the Advancement of Science
  • 1999 National Academy of Engineering
  • 1996 Fellow, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society
  • 1983 Fellow, Optical Society of America
  • 1998 Jule Charney Award, American Meteorological Society
  • 1996 Creativity Award, Atmospheric Sciences Division, National Science Foundation
  • Distinguished Achievement Award, Chinese American Engineers
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