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 Tropospheric Composition: People
Le  Kuai's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 233-200
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
Curriculum Vitae:

Le Kuai

My research interests include using global observations of atmospheric composition in the troposphere to understand global ecosystem gross primary productivity (GPP), Ozone radiative forcing, anthropogenic emission for air quality problems. Human activity has caused emission of both greenhouse gases (GHG), e.g., carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3), and air pollutants, e.g., nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particulates (PM2.5). The increase of these emissions causes degradation of air quality that not only affects human health but also damages our ecosystem and then impacts the future climate through the carbon and water cycles. The recent development of our observation instruments and technology (ground-based, airborne, and space-borne) allows us to monitor global trace gases at multi-spatial and temporal scales. These growing data are helping us to improve our knowledge of the distribution and trend of the trace gases and their emissions and further the impacts on air quality and future climate.

  • Ph. D. Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology (2011).
  • M. S. Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University (2006).
  • B. S. Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, China (2003).


OCO-2 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory Icon OCO-2 - Orbiting Carbon Observatory
The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) is a mission designed to make precise, time-dependent global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from an Earth orbiting satellite.

The Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer

TES (Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer) is one of four science instruments aboard NASA's Aura satellite, which was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on July 15, 2004.

Professional Experience
  • Science Application Software Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA (since 2018)
  • Assistant Research (JIFRESSE-UCLA), NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA (since 2015)
  • Assistant Scientist, Divisions of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology (2013-2015)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (2011-2012)
  • Research Assistant, California Institute of Technology (2006-2011)
  • Teaching Assistant, California Institute of Technology (2008-2010)

Selected Publications


  1. Jongaramrungruang, S., Frankenberg, C., Matheou, G., Thorpe, A., Thompson, D. R., Kuai, L., and Duren, R.: Towards accurate methane point-source quantification from high-resolution 2D plume imagery, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2019.
  2. Kuai, L., Bowman, K. W., Worden, H., Miyazaki, K., Kulawik, S., Conley, A., Lamarque, J.-F., Paulot, F., Paynter, D., Oman, L. D., Strode, S., Rozanov, E., Stenke, A., Revell, L., Plummer, D. A., Deushi, M., Jöckel, P., and Kunze, M.: Attribution of Chemistry-Climate Model Initiative (CCMI) ozone radiative flux bias from satellites, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2019.
  3. Kuai, L., et al., "Quantification of Ammonia Emissions With High Spatial Resolution Thermal Infrared Observations From the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES) Airborne Instrument," in IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. doi: 10.1109/JSTARS.2019.2918093. URL:
  4. 2018:

  5. A. Zumkehr, T. W Hilton, M. Whelan, S. Smith, L. Kuai, J. Worden, J E. Campbell: Global gridded anthropogenic emissions inventory of carbonyl sulfide, Atmospheric Environment, v183, page 11-19, 2018,
  6. Whelan, M. E., Lennartz, S. T., Gimeno, T. E., Wehr, R., Wohlfahrt, G., Wang, Y., Kooijmans, L. M. J., Hilton, T. W., Belviso, S., Peylin, P., Commane, R., Sun, W., Chen, H., Kuai, L., Mammarella, I., Maseyk, K., Berkelhammer, M., Li, K.-F., Yakir, D., Zumkehr, A., Katayama, Y., Ogée, J., Spielmann, F. M., Kitz, F., Rastogi, B., Kesselmeier, J., Marshall, J., Erkkilä, K.-M., Wingate, L., Meredith, L. K., He, W., Bunk, R., Launois, T., Vesala, T., Schmidt, J. A., Fichot, C. G., Seibt, U., Saleska, S., Saltzman, E. S., Montzka, S. A., Berry, J. A., and Campbell, J. E.: Reviews and Syntheses: Carbonyl Sulfide as a Multi-scale Tracer for Carbon and Water Cycles, Biogeosciences, 15, 3625-3657,, 2018.
  7. Sander Veraverbeke, Philip Dennison, Ioannis Gitas, Glynn Hulley, Olga Kalashnikova, Thomas Katagis, Le Kuai, Ran Meng, Dar Roberts, Natasha Stavros: Hyperspectral remote sensing of fire: a review, Remote Sensing of Environment, v216 (2018) 105-121,
  8. 2017:

  9. Kuai, L., K. W. Bowman, H. M. Worden, K. Li, R. L. Herman, S. S. Kulawik (2017): Hydrological controls on the tropospheric ozone greenhouse gas effect, Elem Sci Anth, 5: 10, DOI:
  10. S. S. Kulawik, C. O'Dell, V. H. Payne, L. Kuai, H. M. Worden, C. Sweeney, S. C. Biraud, E. Dlugokencky, L. Iraci, E. Yates, T. Tanaka (2017): Lower-tropospheric CO2 from near infrared ACOS-GOSAT observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. 17, 5407-5438, doi:10.5194/acp-17-5407-2017.
  11. J. Elliott Campbell, Jürgen Kesselmeier, Dan Yakir, Joe A. Berry, Philippe Peylin, Sauveur Belviso, Timo Vesala, Kadmiel Maseyk, Ulrike Seibt, Huilin Chen, Mary E. Whelan, Timothy W. Hilton, Stephen A. Montzka, Max B. Berkelhammer, Sinikka T. Lennartz, Le Kuai, Georg Wohlfahrt, Yuting Wang, Nicola J. Blake, Donald R. Blake, James Stinecipher, Ian Baker, and Stephen Sitch, (2017): Assessing a New Clue to How Much Carbon Plants Take Up, EOS, 98. No. 10, Oct., 2017.
  12. 2016:

  13. Kuai, L., J. R. Worden, K.-F. Li, G. C. Hulley, F. M. Hopkins, C. E. Miller, S. J. Hook, R. M. Duren, and A. D. Aubrey (2016): Characterization of anthropogenic methane plumes with the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES): a retrieval method and error analysis, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 3165-3173, doi:10.5194/amt-9-3165-2016.
  14. Hulley, G. C., R. M. Duren, F. M. Hopkins, S. J. Hook, N. Vance, P. Guillevic, W. R. Johnson, B. T. Eng, J. M. Mihaly, V. M. Jovanovic, S. L. Chazanoff, Z. K. Staniszewski, L. Kuai, J. R. Worden, C. Frankenberg, G. Rivera, A. D. Aubrey, C. E. Miller, N. K. Malakar, J. M. Sánchez Tomás, and K. T. Holmes (2016): High spatial resolution imaging of methane and other trace gases with the airborne Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HyTES), Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 2393-2408, doi:10.5194/amt-9-2393-2016.
  15. 2007-2015:

  16. Kuai, L., J. R. Worden, J. E. Campbell, S. S. Kulawik, K.-F. Li, M. Lee, R. J. Weidner, S. A. Montzka, F. Moore, J. A. Berry, I. Baker, A. S. Denning, H. Bian, K. W. Bowman, J. Liu, Y. L. Yung (2015): Estimate of Carbonyl Sulfide Tropical Oceanic Surface Fluxes Using Aura Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer Observations, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 120, 11012-11023, doi:10.1002/2015JD023493.
  17. Kuai, L., J. Worden, S. S. Kulawik, S. A. Montzka, and J. Liu (2014): Characterization of Aura TES carbonyl sulfide retrievals over ocean, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 163-172, doi:10.5194/amt-7-163-2014.
  18. Kuai, L., J. Worden, S. Kulawik, K. Bowman, S. Biraud, V. Natraj, C. Frankenberg, D. Wunch, B. Connor, R. Shia, C. E. Miller, and Y. L. Yung (2013): Profiling Tropospheric CO2 using the Aura TES and TCCON instruments, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 63-79, doi:10.5194/amt-6-63-2013.
  19. Li, K.-F., B. Tian, K.-K. Tung, L. Kuai, J. R. Worden, and Y. L. Yung (2013), A link between tropical intraseasonal variability and polar stratospheric ozone, Geophys. Res. Lett., 118, 4280-4289, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50391.
  20. Kuai, L., B. Connor, D. Wunch, R. Shia, C. E. Miller, and Y. L. Yung (2012): Vertically constrained CO2 retrievals from TCCON measurements, J. Quant. Spectro. Rad. Trans., 113, 1753-1761, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2012.04.024
  21. Kuai, L., V. Natraj, R. Shia, C. Miller, and Y. L. Yung, 2010: Channel Selection Using Information Content Analysis: A Case Study of CO2 Retrieval From Near Infrared Measurements, J. Quant. Spectro. Rad. Trans., 111, 1296-1304, doi: 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2010.02.011.
  22. Kuai, L., R. L. Shia, X. Jiang, K. K. Tung, and Y. L. Yung, 2009: The Modulation of the Period of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation by the Solar Cycle, J. Atmos. Sci., 66, 2418-2428, doi:10.1175/2009JAS2958.1.
  23. Kuai, L., R. L. Shia, X. Jiang, K. K. Tung, and Y. L. Yung, 2008: Non-stationary Synchronization of Equatorial QBO with SAO in Observation and Model, J. Atmos. Sci., 66, 1654-1664, doi:10.1175/2008JAS2857.1.
  24. Kuai, L., F. L. Haan, W. A. Gallus, and P. P. Sarkar, 2008: CFD simulations of the flow field of a laboratory-simulated tornado for parameter sensitivity studies and comparison with field measurements, Wind and Structures, 11, 75-96.
  25. Tian, B., Y. L. Yung, D. E. Waliser, T. Tyranowski, L. Kuai, E. J. Fetzer, and F. W. Irion, 2007: Intraseasonal variations of the tropical total ozone and their connection to the MJO, Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L08704, 10.1029/2007GL029471.

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