Terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycle, carbon dioxide removal, climate change mitigation, remote sensing, Earth system model, integrated assessment model



University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, U.S., 2019-

Ph.D.: Geographic Information Science and Cartography


Beijing Normal University (BNU), Beijing, China, 2013-2017

B.S.: Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Science


PUBLICATIONS (Peer-reviewed)

Google Scholar


  • Gao, X., Liang, S., Wang, D., Li, Y., He, B., Jia, A. Exploration of a novel geoengineering solution: lighting up tropical forests at night. Earth System Dynamics (2022)  [Fully coupled community Earth system model, NCAR Cheyenne high-performance computing platform]


  • Gao, X., Liang, S., Sauer, J. Greening hiatus in Eurasian boreal forests since 1997 caused by a wetting and cooling summer climate, Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences (2020) [In situ, satellite, and reanalysis datasets]


  • Wang, D., Liang, S., Zhang, Y., Gao, X., Brown, M., Jia, A. A New Set of MODIS Land Products (MCD18): Downward Shortwave Radiation and Photosynthetically Active Radiation. Remote Sensing (2020) [Algorithm development, satellite products validation]


  • Gao, X., Liang, S., He, B. Detected global agricultural greening from satellite data, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology (2019) [Satellite datasets, FAO inventory datasets]


  • Gao, X., Dong, W., Tong, Y., Cui, D. Study on the influence of field cognitive style, gender and spatial terminology on geographical spatial orientation ability: based on experiments in virtual space. Journal of Geo-information Science (2016)



  • “Innovative net emission technologies for climate mitigation”, lightning talk, Department of Geographical Science, University of Maryland, 2022


  • “Understanding changes in terrestrial ecosystem carbon and water cycles by combining observations and climate model simulations”, invited talk, Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy, University of Utah, 2022


  • “Exploration of a novel carbon removal solution: lighting up tropical forests at night”, Oral presentation, Mid Atlantic Division of AAG (MAD-AAG) annual meeting, Crownsville, 2022


  • “Changes in northern high latitudes carbon cycles”, Oral presentation, Graduate Research Appreciation Day, UMD, 2022


  • “Detected global agricultural greening from satellite dat”, Poster, AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 2019




AAG Council Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper, AAG, 2022

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, UMD, 2022

NCAR Graduate Student Small-Allocation Computing Award, NCAR, 2021

Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship, UMD, 2021

Geographical Science Summer Research Fellowship, UMD, 2020

Graduate School Jacob K. Goldhaber Travel Award, UMD, 2019

Graduate School Dean's Fellowship, UMD, 2019

First Place & the Team Leader, Global Business Plan Competition, Intel Corporation, CA, USA, 2016



            Champion, “The best debater at final”, National Geography Debating Competition, 2017

            Baogang Outstanding Student Scholarship, 2016

            Three times awarded National Scholarship, Ministry of Education of China, 2016, 2015 and 2014

            Bronze Medal, National Business Plan Competition, 2016


            Beijing Outstanding Graduate Award, 2017

            First Prize twice, Beijing Summer Social Practice Competition, 2016

            Gold Medal, Beijing Business Plan Competition, 2016


            Four times awarded Academic First Prize Scholarship, 2018, 2016, 2015 and 2014

            Top Ten Undergraduates” (The highest-level honor granted by BNU to its students), 2017

            BNU Outstanding Graduate Award, 2017

            Zhou Tingru Scholarship, 2017

            Outstanding Research Project, 2016

            Three times awarded Merit Student Prize, 2016, 2015 and 2014

            Undergraduate Research Founding, 2015



Instructor of Record

GEOG 272 – Introduction to Earth Observation Science (3 credits), winter 2023

GEOG 272 – Introduction to Earth Observation Science (3 credits), summer 2022

GEOG 272 – Introduction to Earth Observation Science (3 credits), winter 2022


Teaching Assistant

GEOG 657 – Web Programming, summer 2022

GEOG 670 – Open Source GIS, spring 2022

GEOG 660 – Advanced Remote Sensing Using Lidar, winter 2023, winter 2022, winter 2021

GEOG 652 – Digital Image Processing and Analysis, fall 2022, fall 2021, fall 2020

GEOG 646 – Programming for GIS, spring 2021



President of Geography Graduate Student Organization, UMD, 2022-2023

Vice President of Geography Graduate Student Organization, UMD, 2021-2022

Departmental representative in Graduate Student Government, UMD, 2020-2022

Student representative on Graduate Council, UMD, 2020-2021

Student representative in Graduate Committee, Department of Geographical Sciences, UMD, 2019-2021

President of the badminton club in Faculty of Geographical Science, BNU, 2017-2018

Chair of the Student Academic Counselling Committee, Faculty of Geographical Science, BNU, 2015-2016

Vice President of Student Council, Faculty of Geographical Science, BNU, 2014-2015




Olympic game
4600 River Road, Suite 334D2 (send mail to 2181 LeFrak)
Department of Geographical Sciences
xygao [at]