Yang Chen

Assistant Researcher

Email: yang.chen@uci.edu

Phone: 949-824-0597

Web: www.ess.uci.edu/~ychen17



PhD of Atmospheric Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Dissertation: Aerosol indirect effects on clouds and global climate


Master of Environmental Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Thesis: A study on urban photochemical smog in Beijing


Bachelor of Environmental Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China



Assitant Researcher, University of California, Irvine, CA


Associate Project Scientist, University of California, Irvine, CA


Assistant Project Scientist, University of California, Irvine, CA


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


Graduate Student Research Assistant, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


Graduate Student Research Assistant, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China


Teaching Assistant, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Research subjects

UC Irvine

Relationship between wildfire and climate

Seasonal fire forecast

Satellite-based fire emissions estimation

Wildfire and human health

Fire and terrestrial ecosystem


Atmospheric transport of fire emissions

Aerosol direct radiative effect

Fire smoke injection height

University of Michigan

Aerosol interaction with cloud and aerosol indirect radiative effect

Tsinghua University

Characterization of photochemical smog in urban China



41. Chen Y., S. Hantson, N. Andela, S. R. Coffield, C. A. Graff, D. C. Morton, L. E. Ott, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, P. Smyth, M. L. Goulden, J. T. Randerson (2022), California wildfire spread derived using VIIRS satellite observations and an object-based tracking system. Scientific Data, 9(249), doi:10.1038/s41597-022-01343-0.

40. Hessilt, T. D., J. R. Abatzoglou, Y. Chen, J. T. Randerson, R. C. Scholten, G. van der Werf, & S. Veraverbeke, (2022), Future increases in lightning ignition efficiency and wildfire occurrence expected from drier fuels in boreal forest ecosystems of western North America. Environmental Research Letters, 17(054008), doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ac6311.


39. Zheng,B., P. Ciais, F. Chevallier, E. Chuvieco, Y. Chen, and H. Yang, (2021), Increasing forest fire emissions despite the decline in global burned area. Science Advances 7, eabh2646, doi:10.1126/sciadv.abh2646.

38. Xu, L., Q. Zhu, W. J. Riley, Y. Chen, H. Wang, P.-L. Ma, and J. T. Randerson (2021), The influence of fire aerosols on surface climate and gross primary production in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), Journal of Climate, 34, 7219-7238, doi:10.1175/jcli-d-21-0193.1.

37. Dong, X., F. Li, Z. Lin, S. P. Harrison, Y. Chen, and J.-S. Kug (2021), Climate influence on the 2019 fires in Amazonia, Science of The Total Environment, 794, 148718, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148718.

36. van Wees, D., G. R. van der Werf, J. T. Randerson, N. Andela, Y. Chen, and D. C. Morton (2021), The role of fire in global forest loss dynamics, Glob Chang Biol, 27(11), 2377-2391, doi:10.1111/gcb.15591.

35. Chen Y., D. M. Romps, J. T. Seeley, S. Veraverbeke, W. J. Riley, Z. A. Mekonnen, and J. T. Randerson (2021), Future increases in Arctic lightning and fire risk for permafrost carbon, Nat Clim Change, doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01011-y.


34. Chen Y., J.T. Randerson, S.R. Coffield, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, P. Smyth, C.A. Graff, D.C. Morton, N. Andela, G. R. van der Werf, L. Giglio, and L.E. Ott. (2020), Forecasting global fire emissions on sub-seasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) timescales. J Adv Model Earth Syst, 12(9), doi:10.1029/2019MS001955.

33. Graff C. A., S. R. Coffield SR, Y. Chen, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, J. T. Randerson, P. Smyth (2020), Forecasting Daily Wildfire Activity Using Poisson Regression. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 258(7), 4837-4851.


32. Shi, H., Z. Jiang, B. Zhao, Z. Li, Y. Chen, Y. Gu et al. (2019). Modeling study of the air quality impact of record‐breaking Southern California wildfires in December 2017. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124, 6554– 6570.

31. Coffield, S. R., C. A. Graff, Y. Chen,P. Smyth, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, and J. T. Randerson (2019), Machine learning to predict final fire size at the time of ignition, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 28, 861-873.

30. Andela, N., D. C. Morton, L. Giglio, R. Paugam, Y. Chen, S. Hantson, et al. (2019), The Global Fire Atlas of individual fire size, duration, speed and direction, Earth System Science Data, 11(2), 529-552.

29. Levine, P. A., J. T. Randerson, Y. Chen, M. S. Pritchard, M. Xu, and F. M. Hoffman, Soil Moisture Variability Intensifies and Prolongs Eastern Amazon Temperature and Carbon Cycle Response to El Niño–Southern Oscillation, Journal of Climate, 32(4), 1273-1292.


28. Wiggins,E.B., C. I. Czimczik, G. M. Santos, Y. Chen, X. Xu, S. R. Holden, J. T. Randerson, C. F. Harvey, F. M. Kai, and L. E. Yu, Smoke radiocarbon measurements from Indonesian fires provide evidence for burning of millennia-aged peat. PNAS, 2018, 115(49), 12419-12424.

27. Chen Y., Langenbrunner, B., and Randerson, J. T., Future drying in Central America and northern South America linked with Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Geophysical Research Letters, 2018, 45(17): 9226-9235.

26. Kooperman, G.J., Y. Chen, F. M. Hoffman, C. D. Koven, K. Lindsay, M. S. Pritchard, A. L. S. Swann and J. T. Randerson, Forest response to rising CO2 drives zonally asymmetric rainfall change over tropical land. Nature Climate Change, 2018, 8(5): 434-440.



25. Chen Y., D. C. Morton, N. Andela, G. R. van der Werf, L. Giglio, and J. T. Randerson, A pan-tropical cascade of fire driven by El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Nature Climate Change, 2017, 7(12): 906-711.

24. van der Werf, G.R., J. T. Randerson, L. Giglio, T. T. van Leeuwen, Y. Chen, B. M. Rogers, M. Mu, et al., Global fire emissions estimates during 1997–2016. Earth System Science Data, 9(2), 697-720.

23. Andela N, D. C. Morton, L. Giglio, Y. Chen, G. R. van der Werf, P. S. Kasibhatla, et al. A human-driven decline in global burned area. Science, 2017, 356(6345): 1356-1362.


22. Chen Y., D. C. Morton, N. Andela, L. Giglio, and J. T. Randerson (2016), How much global burned area can be forecast on seasonal time scales using sea surface temperatures?, Environmental Research Letters, 11(4), 045001.


21. Chen Y., J. T. Randerson, and Douglas C. Morton, Tropical North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere interactions synchronize forest carbon losses from hurricanes and Amazon fires, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42(15), 6462-6470, 2015, doi:10.1002/2015GL064505.


20. Chen Y., D. Morton, Y. Jin, G. J. Collatz, P.S. Kasibhatla, G.R. van der Werf, R.S. DeFries, and J. T. Randerson, Long-term trends and interannual variability of forest, savanna and agricultural fires in South America, Carbon Management, 4(6), 617-638, 2013, doi:10.4155/cmt.13.61.

19. Chen Y., I. Velicogna, J. S. Famiglietti, and J. T. Randerson, Satellite observations of terrestrial water storage provide early warning information about drought and fire season severity in the Amazon, J. Geophys. Res. - Biogeosciences, 118, 1-10, 2013, doi:10.1002/jgrg.20046.

18. Morton, D. C., G. J. Collatz, D. Wang, J. T. Randerson, L. Giglio, Y. Chen, Satellite-based assessment of climate controls on US burned area, Biogeosciences, 10, 247-260, 2013, doi:10.5194/bg-10-247-2013.

17. Miriam E. M., R. S. DeFries, A. Voulgarakis, P. L. Kinney, J. T. Randerson, D. T. Shindell, Y. Chen, G. Faluvegi, El Niño and health risks from landscape fire emissions in southeast Asia, Nature Climate Change, 3, 131-136, 2013, doi:10.1038/nclimate1658.


16. Randerson, J. T., Y. Chen, G. R. van der Werf, B. M. Rogers, and D. C. Morton, Global burned area and biomass burning emissions from small fires, J. Geophys. Res., 117, G04012, 2012, doi:10.1029/2012JG002128.

15. Johnston, F. H., S. B. Henderson, Y. Chen, J. R. Randerson, M. Marlier, R. S. DeFries, P. Kinney, D. M. Bowman, M. Brauer, Estimated global mortality attributable to smoke from landscape fires, Environmental Health Perspectives, 120, 695-701, 2012, doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104422.


14. Chen Y., J. T. Randerson, D. C. Morton, R. S. DeFries, G. J. Collatz, P. S. Kasibhatla, L. Giglio, Y. Jin, M. E. Marlier, Forecasting fire season severity in South America using sea surface temperature anomalies, Science, 334, 787-791, 2011, 10.1126/science.1209472.

13. Zhang, L., Q. Li, J. Jin, H. Liu, N. Livesey, J.H. Jiang, Y. Mao, D. Chen, M. Luo, Y. Chen, Impacts of 2006 Indonesian fires on tropical upper tropospheric carbon monoxide and ozone, Atmos. Chem. Phys. , 11, 10929-10946, 2011, doi:10.5194/acp-11-10929-2011.

12. Mao, Y., Q. Li, L. Zhang, Y. Chen, J. T. Randerson, D. Chen, K.-N. Liou, Biomass burning contribution to black carbon in the western United States mountain ranges, Atmos. Chem. Phys. , 11, 11253-11266, 2011, doi:10.5194/acp-11-11253-2011.


11. Chen Y., J. T. Randerson, G. van der Werf, D. Morton, M. Mu, P. Kasibhatla, Nitrogen deposition in tropical forests from savanna and deforestation fires, Global Change Biology, 16, 2024-2038, 2010, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02156.x.


10. Chen Y., Q. Li, J. T. Randerson, E. A. Lyons, R. A. Kahn, D. L. Nelson, and D. J. Diner, The sensitivity of CO and aerosol transport to the temporal and vertical distribution of North American boreal fire emissions, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 6559-6580, 2009, doi:10.5194/acp-9-6559-2009.

9. Penner, J. E., Y. Chen, M. Wang, and X. Liu, Possible influence of anthropogenic aerosols on cirrus clouds and anthropogenic forcing, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 879-896, 2009, doi:10.5194/acp-9-879-2009.

8. Chen Y., Q. Li, R. A. Kahn, J. T. Randerson, and D. J. Diner, Quantifying aerosol direct radiative effect with Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer observations: Top-of-atmosphere albedo change by aerosols based on land surface types, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D02109, 2009, doi:10.1029/2008JD010754.


7. Nelson D. L., Y. Chen, R. A. Kahn, D. J. Diner, and D. Mazzoni, Example applications of the MISR INteractive eXplorer (MINX) software tool to wildfire smoke plume analyses, Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 7089, 708909, 2008, doi:10.1117/12.795087.

6. Diner, D. J., D. L. Nelson, Y. Chen, R. A. Kahn, J. Logan, F. T. Leung, and M. Val Martin, Quantitative studies of wildfire smoke injection heights with the Terra Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 7089, 708908, 2008, doi:10.1117/12.795215.

5. Kahn, R. A., Y. Chen, D. L. Nelson, F. T. Leung, Q. Li, D. J. Diner, and J. A. Logan, Wildfire smoke injection heights – two perspectives from space, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L04809, 2008, doi:10.1029/2007GL032165.


4. Chen Y., Aerosol indirect effects on clouds and global climate, PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 2006.


3. Chen Y. and J. E. Penner, Uncertainty analysis for estimates of the first indirect aerosol effect, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 2935-2948, 2005, doi:10.5194/acp-5-2935-2005.


2. Penner, J. E., X. Dong, and Y. Chen, Observational evidence of a change in radiative forcing due to the indirect aerosol effect, Nature, 427, 231-234, 2004, doi:10.1038/nature02234.


1. Chen Y., L. Fu, and J. Hao, Review on the mechanism and law of urban photochemical air pollution, Shanghai Environmental Sciences, 19, 167-170, 2000.

Activities and honors


Chinese American Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (COAA) Southern California Chapter executive committe member


University of Michigan travel grant for American Geophysical Union 2005 Fall Meeting


University of Michigan Chinese Student and Scholar Association, executive committee member


Excellent Student Scholarship for 5 consecutive years at Tsinghua University

Computer modeling skills

Scientific Modeling

Chemical transport model, Cloud nucleation parcel model, Energy Balance Model, GCM, SCM, Radiative transfer model, Mesoscale model

Computer Languages

Fortran, Python, IDL, Matlab, Parallel computer language (MPI), HTML, CSS, Javascript, KML, shell script, perl script


IDL, GRADS, EXCEL, PowerPoint, Origin, PhotoShop, Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Matlab, Google Earth, NCL