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Cheng-Zhi Zou

Satellite Meteorology and Climatology Division

Environmental Monitoring Branch
Research Scientist


To view Dr. Zhou's publications, visit:


photo: Cheng-Zhi ZouCheng-Zhi Zou received a B.S. degree in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1982. He then received his M.S. in Atmospheric Physics in Institute of Atmospheric Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 1985. He was a research scientist in the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences from 1986 to 1987. He received his Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 1995. During this period of time, his research mainly focused on nonlinear dynamics and development of a zonally averaged climate model.

From 1997 to 2000, Cheng-Zhi worked for NOAA/NESDIS as a contracting scientist. During this period of time, he switched his research from climate modeling to using satellite data to study the climate and weather problems. Cheng-Zhi joined NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research (formerly Office of Research and Applications) in February 2001. Since then, his research has been focusing on satellite climatology and meteorology, including instrument calibration, algorithm development and validation, satellite data production and applications, etc. The following briefly describes the projects he has recently been involved.

  • MSU calibration and climate trend:
    Cheng-Zhi has developed an intercalibration technique using simultaneous nadir overpasses (SNO) and re-calibrated the MSU instruments on different NOAA satellites. With the SNO calibration, he produced a deep-layer atmospheric temperature dataset that are well-intercalibrated for climate research. The new dataset has removed intersatellite biases at the radiance level, thus yielding more accurate atmospheric temperature trend analysis. The following link provides more detailed information on the MSU calibration and trend work.
  • Polar Wind Algorithm Development and Data Production:
    Cheng-Zhi has developed an algorithm to retrieve the atmospheric winds from TOVS/AMSU temperature soundings plus SSM/I- or QuikSCAT- based surface winds over the middle and high latitudes. The atmospheric wind profiles derived form this algorithm have small biases and therefore are suitable for climate studies over the polar region. Currently, more than 20 years of polar wind profiles based on the TOVS observations have been generated over the Arctic Ocean by Jennifer Francis's group using this algorithm.
  • Impact of satellite surface products on numerical weather forecasting:
    Cheng-Zhi and his colleagues conducted impact experiments of the NESDIS near real-time weekly AVHRR green vegetation fraction on the WRF model forecasting. The greener weekly GVF products help to reduce the warm biases found in the operational WRF model.
  • Coastal studies using SAR observations and MM5 simulation:
    Cheng-Zhi and his colleagues have been using fine-resolution observations from SAR satellites and high-resolution MM5 simulation to study many coastal and boundary layer phenomena. At a recent publication, they simulated the development and decay processes of atmospheric vortex streets off Aleutian Volcanic Islands using MM5. The simulation agrees fairly well with the SAR observations.

Recent Awards

Administrator's Award, NOAA, 2013:
for developing a science-quality long-term dataset of upper atmospheric temperatures from NOAA's microwave and infrared satellite measurements.

Silver Medal, Department of Commerce, 2007:
For developing a calibration technique breakthrough enabling detection of reliable long- term atmospheric temperature trends form satellite data.