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Yan Yang

Photo of Yan Yang


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 233-300

Pasadena, CA 91109

Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Carbon Cycle And Ecosystems


Global vegetation holds a large reservoir of carbon. However, the accurate quantification of this carbon storage and its changes from disturbance and recovery remain uncertain. My current interests aim at 1) developing a biased-corrected deep learning model integrating existing lidar (ICESAT-1,2; GEDI) and radar observations (ALOS PALSAR 1,2) and future NISAR (post-2021) data, long-term optical observations from MODIS and Landsat, as well as a large source of ground plots, and airborne lidar data for estimation of vegetation aboveground biomass (AGB) and carbon stock annually from the early part of this century to present; 2) quantifying carbon fluxes (e.g. NBE, NPP, GPP) and all components of sources and sinks from disturbance and recovery of vegetation by integrating the bottom-up estimates with top-down atmospheric measurements (OCO-2, 3, etc.) within the CARDAMOM model data assimilation framework.


  • Ph.D. (Geography), Boston University, USA 2017
  • M.S. (GIS), Nanjing University, USA 2008
  • B.S. (Urban Plan), Nanjing Forest University, China 2005

Professional Experience

  • JPL NASA Postdoc | NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory | 2020-present
  • Research Staff | University of California, Los Angeles | 2013-2020
  • Research Assistant | Boston University, Boston | 2011-2013

Research Interests

  • Biomass estimation and carbon dynamics
  • Model constraints and data assimilations
  • Spectral invariant application on hyperspectral data

Selected Publications

  1. Yang, Y., Saatchi, S.S., Xu, L., Yu, Y., Choi, S., Phillips, N., Kennedy, R., Keller, M., Knyazikhin, Y., Myneni, R.B., 2018. Post-drought decline of the Amazon carbon sink. Nature Communications 9, 3172.
  2. Yang, Y., Saatchi, S.S., Xu, L., Yu, Y., Lefsky, M.A., White, L., Knyazikhin, Y., Myneni, R.B., 2016. Abiotic Controls on Macroscale Variations of Humid Tropical Forest Height. Remote Sensing 8, 494.
  3. Xu, L., Saatchi, S.S., Meyer, V., Ferraz, A., Yang, Y., Bastin, J-F., Banks, N., Boeckx, P., Verbeeck, H., Lewis, S., Shapiro, A., 2017. Spatial Distribution of Carbon Stored in Forests of Democratic Republic of Congo. Scientific Reports 7(1), 15030.
  4. Xu, L., Saatchi, S.S., Yang, Y., Yu, Y., White, L., 2016. Performance of non-parametric algorithms for spatial mapping of tropical forest structure. Carbon Balance and Management 11, 18.
  5. Xu, L., Saatchi, S.S., Yang, Y., Myneni, R.B., Frankenberg, C., Chowdhury, D., Bi, J., 2015. Satellite observation of tropical forest seasonality: spatial patterns of carbon exchange in Amazonia. Environmental Research Letters 10, 084005.
  6. Konings, A.G., Yu, Y., Xu, L., Yang, Y., Schimel, D.S., Saatchi, S.S., 2017. Active Microwave Observations of Diurnal and Seasonal Variations of Canopy Water Content Across the Humid African Tropical Forests. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2016GL072388.
  7. Saatchi, S., Mascaro, J., Xu, L., Keller, M., Yang, Y., Duffy, P., EspĂ­rito-Santo, F., Baccini, A., Chambers, J., Schimel, D., 2015. Seeing the forest beyond the trees. Global Ecology and Biogeography 24, 606-610.