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Le Kuai

Photo of Le Kuai


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 233-200

Pasadena, CA 91109



Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Tropospheric Composition


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).

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. N. Parazoo, K. Bowman,B Baier, J. Liu1, M. Lee, L Kuai, Y. Shiga, I. Baker, M. Whelan, S. Feng, M. Krol, C. Sweeney, K. J.Davis, Covariation of airborne biogenic tracers (CO2, COS, and CO) supports stronger than 1expected growing season photosynthetic uptake in the southeastern US, ESSOAr |
  2. Jin Ma, Linda M. J. Kooijmans, Ara Cho, Stephen A. Montzka, Norbert Glatthor, John R. Worden, Le Kuai, Elliot L. Atlas, and Maarten C. Krol, Inverse modelling of carbonyl sulfide: implementation, evaluation and implications for the global budget, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 3507–3529,, 2021


  1. E. Whelan, L. D. L. Anderegg, G. Badgley, J. E. Campbell, R. Commane, C. Frankenberg, T. W. Hilton, L. Kuai, N. Parazoo, Y. Shiga, Y. Wang, and J. Worden, Scientific Communities Striving for a Common Cause: Innovations in CarbonCycle Science, v101, issue 9, page E1537-E1543, DOI:, 2020.
  2. V. Payne, Brian Drouin, Fabiano Oyafuso, Le Kuai, Brendan Fisher, Keeyoon Sung, Deacon Nemchick, Timothy crawford, Mike Smyth, David Crisp, Erin Adkins, Joseph Hodges, David Long, Eli Mlawer, Aronne Merrelli, Elizabeth Lunny, Christopher O'Dell: Absorption Coefficient (ABSCO) Tables for the Orbiting Carbon Observatories: Version 5.1, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, v255,, 2020
  3. 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. Phy., 20, 281–301,, 2020.


  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:


  1. 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,
  2. 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.
  3. 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,


  1. 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:
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.