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Liang Xu

Photo of Liang Xu


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 233-300

Pasadena, CA 91109





Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Carbon Cycle And Ecosystems


Liang Xu, also known as Alan, received the B.S. degree in Physics from Fudan University (China), and the Ph.D. degree in Geography from Boston University, Massachusetts (USA). Before joining the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he also worked at UCLA focusing on biomass and carbon mapping of African tropical forests. His scientific research focuses on the spatial modeling of biomass retrieval using the fusion of active (lidar/radar) and optical remote sensing data. His research interests also include studies of vegetation dynamics and seasonality changes using time series analyses. Besides vegetation research in the statistical domain, he has experience in physical modeling of the radiative transfer in vegetation canopy, including the stochastic radiative transfer theory for both active and passive optical remote sensing, and the spectral invariants theory applicable to hyperspectral and multiangle remote sensing data.


  • 2013 Ph.D. (Geography), Boston University, USA
  • 2003 B.S. (Physics), Fudan University, China

Professional Experience

  • JPL Affiliate, Caltech Postdoc, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2017-present
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles, 2013-2017
  • Research Assistant, Boston University, Boston, 2008-2013
  • Staff Member, State Oceanic Administration, Shanghai, 2004-2008

Research Interests

  • Machine learning applications and Physics-based algorithms for forest biomass retrieval and tropical vegetation dynamics
  • Data/Image processing of scientific data sets from satellite imagery to field-based collections
  • Out-of-core algorithms and big data solutions for geospatial data sets

Selected Awards

Awarded NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (2010-2013)

Selected Publications

  1. Xu, L. et al. Spatial Distribution of Carbon Stored in Forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Scientific Reports 7, 15030 (2017).
  2. Xu, L., et al. Performance of non-parametric algorithms for spatial mapping of tropical forest structure. Carbon Balance and Management 11, 18 (2016).
  3. Xu, L. et al. Satellite observation of tropical forest seasonality: spatial patterns of carbon exchange in Amazonia. Environmental Research Letters 10, 084005 (2015).
  4. Xu, L. et al. Temperature and vegetation seasonality diminishment over northern lands. Nature Clim. Change 3, 581–586 (2013).
  5. Xu, L. et al. Widespread decline in greenness of Amazonian vegetation due to the 2010 drought. Geophys. Res. Lett. 38, L07402 (2011).