Wang Receives 2016 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award

Yuan Wang will receive the 2016 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding research contributions by a junior atmospheric scientist within three years of his or her Ph.D.”


For groundbreaking research advancing the understanding of the impact of aerosols on a variety of convective, mesoscale, and weather scale atmospheric phenomena

Dr. Wang’s main research involved modeling the aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation using the mesoscale cloud-resolving model and global climate models. Noticeably, he implemented an explicit two-moment bulk cloud microphysical scheme in the WRF model and developed a hierarchical modeling approach by upscaling the regional aerosol forcing to the global climate simulations. His work has led to breakthrough findings in enhancing the understanding of several key atmospheric topics, including the changes in precipitation extremes due to different anthropogenic forcings, intensification of North Pacific storm by Asian aerosol outflow with possible downstream effects over the U.S. west coast, and modulation of hurricane intensity by aerosols. In just 3 years after his Ph.D., he has already accrued an outstanding research record of 22 refereed publications (10 as first author), many of them in high-impact journals such as Nature Climate Change, Nature Communications, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Geophysical Research Letters.

Yuan is very active in serving the community by chairing and co-chairing sessions in major conferences, providing extensive service as a reviewer. He received numerous awards, including the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS) Early Career Scientist Medal (2015) and the AGU Editor’s Citation Award for Excellence in Scientific Refereeing (2013).

A statement in his supporting letter best summarizes Dr. Wang’s research talents: “Yuan has the rare combination of the ability to analyze complex climate dataset for extracting aerosol signals in a clear and concise way, and in parallel develop microphysical scheme for WRF that is capable of simulating the observed effects, as well as replicate the observations with the simulations.”

On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present the 2016 James R. Holton Award to Dr. Yuan Wang.

—William K. M. Lau, President, Atmospheric Sciences section, AGU


Thank you, Dr. Lau and the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section awards committee. I am truly honored and humbled to be selected as the recipient of the 2016 James R. Holton Award.

Having conducted atmospheric research for the past 9 years, I am very fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to interact with many excellent mentors, colleagues, and collaborators in the field. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Renyi Zhang for his guidance and support, with whom I benefited enormously from his vision in atmospheric sciences and high standard in mentoring students. My special thanks also go to Jonathan Jiang, for providing me the platform and freedom of pursuing my postdoctoral research; to Zhanqing Li, Yuk Yung, Danny Rosenfeld, Jerry North, and Ruby Leung, for constantly encouraging me to achieve a higher level and supporting me in different ways; to Jiwen Fan, Hui Su, and others, for the tremendous help and inspiration in sharpening my research skills. My heartfelt gratitude and appreciation are extended to everyone I worked with at Texas A&M University, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The first 3 years after Ph.D. graduation is arguably the most challenging period in the career of a scientist, and I sincerely thank the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section for the establishment of this priceless award for junior atmospheric scientists named after the late Prof. James R. Holton. I certainly wish to live up to the expectations and inspiration of this award in my future professional life.

—Yuan Wang, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena