News Media Coverage and Research Highlights


1. News Media Coverage


Our group's activities have generated news media (print, online,TV, radio) coverage since 2008. Here are some of the stories since 2017:


UA new release on hurricane prediction on 4/28/2022, followed by various news media coverage, including during the coverage of President Biden's remarks on hurricane preparedness.


Zeng was interviewed for a story published by Yale Climate Connections on "What causes spring floods?" on 3/31/2022.


Zeng was interviewed for the Sacramental Bee story on "Ski season wipes out" on 2/2/2022.


Zeng gave a live interview on Cheddar TV on "Beijing 2022 Olympics going green" on 1/26/2022.


Zeng was interviewed for a New York Times article on "Here is how climate change and Covid are transforming skiing" on 1/7/2022.


Zeng was interviewed, and group members provided the data analysis, for the AP news article on "Since 1980s US chances of a white Christmas melt a bit" on 12/16/2021.


XubinXubin Zeng was interviewed for one hour on extreme events, cloud seeding, ocean deserts, and other topics for a podcast that was released on 11/9/2021 entitled "Ocean Deserts w/ Xubin Zeng".

Xubin Zeng was elected a Fellow of American Geophysical Union (AGU) for his outstanding contributions to atmospheric science and hydrology. Each year, AGU selects less than 0.1% of its members as new fellows. The ceremony will be held during the AGU Fall Meeting in New Orleans in December 2021.

Xubin Zeng published a news article "Is climate change to blame for extreme weather events? Attribution science says yes, for some – here’s how it works" in The Conversation on 8/25/2021. It was subsequently published by national and international news media, from yahoo news in the U.S. to media in Phillippines, Australia, India. Later, Zeng was interviewed by the Voice of America, which was broadcasted  in late October 2021 by Current Time TV - a 24-hour TV network aimed at audiences in Russia , the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and around the world (from 18:38 to 23:15, in Russian).

extreme snowmeltUA News Release on Mapping Extreme Snowmelt and its Potential Dangers on 7/12/2021. It was selected by "AMS News You Can Use" on 7/13/2021. Following this study, NPR reached out to us to provide our snowpack data in its story on "United States of Wildfires" on 8/10/2021. Later, Zeng was interviewed by the Voice of America, which was broadcasted in Russian in September 2021 by Current Time TV - a 24-hour TV network aimed at audiences in Russia , the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and around the world (from 12:10 to 15:50, in Russian).

UA News Release on Record-breaking temperatures more likely in populated tropics on 6/2/2021. It was selected by "AMS News You Can Use" on 6/8/2021 and by "AGU in the News" on 6/17/2021. It was also featured by the World Economic Forum.

Xubin Zeng begins to Co-Chair the Global Energy and Water Exchange (GEWEX) Scientific Steering Group, starting from May 2021 (see page #3 of the Newsletter).

Xubin Zeng testified at the Congressional Hearing (opening remark at 46:48 (min:sec) and answers to 10 different questions throughout the hearing) on "Climate and Energy Science Research at the Department of Energy" held by the Subcommittee on Energy of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on May 4, 2021 at 11:00am EDT.

UA News Release on hurricane seasonal forecast on 4/21/2020, covered by Forbes, The Associated Press, and other national and international news media, and followed by AZPM radio interview.

With a publication in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) in 2021, BAMS also included a short interview with Zeng photo in BAMS 2021Xubin Zeng along with his photo.

Xubin Zeng received the Charles Franklin Brooks Award in January 2021 from the American Meteorological Society “For skillful and AMS Brooks Awardeffective service in senior leadership roles that has materially improved the Society’s meetings and other activities.” His acceptance speech can be found here.

UA News Release on Graduate student Josh Welty’s work (Welty et al. 2020) on global soil moisture effect on precipitation occurrence on 5/5/2020. Besides news media coverage, this piece was selected by “AMS News You can Use” on 5/12/2020 and 6/30/2020 and “AGU in the News” on 5/14/2020.SMAP satellite

UA News Release on hurricane seasonal forecasts on 4/21/2020, followed by TV interview in Tucson. More than 10 news articles cited our hurricane forecasting in April/May 2020, including CNN.


Nominated by the NASA science leadership to participate in the AGU Centennial Narratives Project during the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting, Xubin Zeng's 25-min interview was added to the AGU Narratives Community on StoryCorps,  archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress on 3/6/2020, and featured on the 8/25/2020 AGU Career Center weekly email.ACTIVATE


Our $30M/5 year NASA ACTIVATE EVS-3 project on aerosol-cloud interactions passed the Investigation Confirmation Review at NASA Headquarters on 10/18/2019



Former group member, Dr. Furrukh Bashir, discussed glaciers with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 10/16/2019.


Xubin Zeng and four group members were interviewed and featured by the Arizona PBS Horizon Program in March 2019.


New York Times published an Op-Ed entitled "Why can't rich people save winter?" on 2/2/2019 using our study (Zeng et al. 2018) and our dataset to generate the graphics.


Zeng AMS

Tucson Daily Star published articles on Sunday 1/13/2019, featuring some of the UA College of Science Galileo Circle Fellows, including Xubin Zeng.


Xubin Zeng Co-Chaired the 99th AMS Annual Meeting of 3800 attendees from 6-10 January 2019 in Phoenix, AZ in the midst of U.S. Government shutdown.

Snowpack measurement


Xubin Zeng gave a press conference in Washington D.C. on 12/12/2018 during the AGU Centennial Fall Meeting on the changing snowpack over U.S. The University of Arizona also released a News Story along with local, regional, and national media coverage.


Zeng CSUXubin Zeng received the Outstanding Alum Award from the Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science on 12/7/2018 and gave an invited presentation.Zeng AAAS Fellow


AAAS announced on 11/27/2018 that Xubin Zeng is elected AAAS Fellow with a University of Arizona News Release.


Two UA professors (PI: Armin Sorooshian, deputy PI: Xubin Zeng) just won a $30M/5 year NASA project on 9/25/2018: to quantify the aerosol-cloud-precipitation interaction by making measurements using two aircraft in formation over western North Atlantic, and to improve the treatmenAircraft1t of Aircraft2

aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions in weather and climate models.

Graduate student Josh Welty’s work (Welty and Zeng 2018) on soil moisture effect on precipitation amount:Soil Moisture Effect on Rainfall

Our 2018 seasonal hurricane forecasting based on former group member Kyle Davis’ work [Davis et al. (2015) and Davis and Zeng (2019)]:2018 Hurricane Forecast

Graduate student Charlie Devine did an interview in USGIF's Trajectory Magazine on 4/5/2018


Our 2017 seasonal hurricane forecasting went exceptionally well and generated multiple media coverages:2017 Hurricane Forecast

Graduate student Jack Reeves Eyre’s work (Reeves Eyre and Zeng 2017) on Greenland air temperature:Greenland


2. Research Highlights


One of the good indicators of our research achievements is the wide use of our research products in the world, including the implementation of model parameterizations and value-added global datasets in numerous models for weather and climate studies.  


Value-added dataset development: We have used our insights gained from dynamics and thermodyanmics to develop a variety of value-added datasets for modeling studies, including:

  • Global 0.5 deg monthly raining-day data over land from 1901 - 2010 (Stillman and Zeng 2016),
  • Daily 4 km snow water equivalent, depth, and fraction dataset over conterminous U.S. from 1981 - present (Broxton et al. 2016; Dawson 2017; Zeng et al. 2018),
  • Global 0.5 deg hourly land surface air temperature data from 1948-present (Wang and Zeng 2013),
  • Global 1 km AVHRR fractional vegetation cover (FVC) data (Zeng et al. 2000; used by the NASA Global Land Data Assimilation System, GLDAS),
  • Global 8 km FVC data from 1982-2000 (Zeng et al. 2003),
  • Global 0.5 km MODIS-based land cover type climatology (Broxton et al. 2014a),
  • Global 1 km MODIS-based FVC data (Broxton et al. 2014b),
  • Vegetation root distribution data (Zeng et al. 1998; Zeng 2001, used by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, and NCAR Community Land Model),
  • Global high-resolution data of all parameters for land modeling (Zeng et al. 2002, used by the Common Land Model (CLM)),
  • Global 5 km MODIS-based maximum snow albedo (Barlage et al. 2005, used by the NCEP Noah land model),
  • Global 2 km MODIS-based (temporally and spatially variable) green vegetation fraction (Miller et al. 2006),
  • Multiyear hourly ocean surface skin temperature data (Zeng et al. 1999),
  • 56 year daily 1 km soil moisture data at ~5 cm depth over the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed of 150 km^2 in Southern Arizona (Stillman et al. 2014),
  • An integrated dataset of precipitation and precipitable water (Zeng 1999), and
  • Global summer monsoon onset/retreat data from 1988-1997 (Zeng and Lu 2004).


Model and algorithm development: We have developed a variety of models and algorithms for the study of interface and boundary layer processes, including:

  • Seasonal hurricane prediction model over the Atlantic (Davis et al. 2015, 2019),
  • A bulk algorithm for the computation of ocean surface fluxes (Zeng et al. 1998; Brunke et al. 2002, 2003; used by the NCEP global weather forecasting model),
  • Revised form of the soil moisture Richards equation and new bottom boundary condition that includes groundwater-soil moisture coupling (Zeng and Decker 2009; Decker and Zeng 2009; implemented in the Community Land Model).
  • A surface turbulence parameterization above- and below-canopy and over bare soil (Zeng and Dickinson 1998; Zeng et al. 2005; Zeng and Wang 2007, used in the Community Land Model),
  • The Community Land Model (CLM3) in collaboration with several other groups (Zeng et al. 2002; Bonan et al. 2002; Dai et al. 2003; used in the NCAR Community Earth System Model ),
  • A temperate shrub submodel for the NCAR dynamic global vegetation model (X.D. Zeng et al. 2008; implemented in the NCAR DGVM),
  • Snow burial fraction (Wang and Zeng 2008, implemented in the Community Land Model),
  • A new formulation for ground evaporation computation (Sakaguchi and Zeng 2009, implemented in the Community Land Model)
  • The prognostic ocean skin temperature scheme (Zeng and Beljaars 2005; implemented in the ECMWF model, WRF, and other regional and global models).
  • Improvement of the snow processes in the Noah land model (Wang and Zeng 2010, implemented in NCEP GFS and WRF)
  • Improvement of surface skin temperature over semiarid regions (Zeng et al. 2012, Zheng et al. 2012, implemented in NCEP GFS)
  • A water balance model constrained by observations to estimate soil moisture over southern Arizona (Stillman et al. 2014),
  • A toy model for monthly river flow prediction (Zeng et al. 2012)
  • A wind gustiness parameterization on ocean fluxes (Zeng et al. 2002),
  • A parameterization of land surface albedo including its solar-zenith-angle dependence (Wang et al. 2005, 2007; Wang and Zeng 2008),
  • The treatment of soil ice fraction in land models (Decker and Zeng 2006),
  • A boundary layer parameterization of mesoscale fluxes (Zeng and Pielke 1995),
  • A precipitation retrieval (Zeng 1999)
  • Improved retrieval of deep layer soil moisture through data assimilation (Zhang et al. 2010)


Theoretical development: We have:

  • Mechanisms for land surface to affect clouds and precipitation (Wang et al. 2020; Welty et al. 2018)
  • Combined analytical solution for anthropogenic warming and sine functions for multi-decadal variability for decadal and long-term projection (Zeng and Geil 2016);
  • Surface skin temperature and the interplay between sensible and ground heat fluxes over arid regions (Zeng et al. 2012);
  • The temporal and spatial scale dependence of IPCC AR4 climate models in simulating the surface temperature trend (Sakaguchi and Zeng 2011);
  • A revised covariance method for estimats of soil moisture in the deep layers through data assimilation (Zhang et al. 2010);
  • Developed a new indicator for the land-precipitation coupling strength (Zeng et al. 2010);
  • Revised the estimate of atmosphere effect on the earth's surface temperature (Zeng 2010);
  • Revised the form of the Richards equation for soil moisture computation in land models (Zeng and Decker 2009; Decker and Zeng 2009),
  • Develop the dynamic grassland ecosystem model to address the transition and spatial pattern diversity over arid and semiarid regions (X.D. Zeng and Zeng 2007);
  • Derived the rigorous relations to explain the seasonality of precipitation and precipitable water over land and ocean (Lu and Zeng 2005);
  • Unified the criterion for global monsoon onset/retreat definition (Zeng and Lu 2004);
  • Derived the relationship of precipitation with precipitable water and cloud-top temperature that has been used for remote sensing of precipitation (Zeng 1999);
  • Developed the algorithm for the computation of Lyapunov exponents that has been used worldwide (Zeng et al. 1991, 1992)