Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


Liang Zhao

Liang Zhao

Assitant Research Scientist

Office: 2127
Phone: 734-936-7262



Ph.D, Univesity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2011

(Thesis co-advisors: Dr. Lennard A. Fisk and Thomas H. Zurbuchen)

M.S(2005), B.S(2002), Peking University, Beijing, China

(advisor: Prof. Tu, Chuanyi)

Specializations and Research Interests

  • Dynamics, composition, acceleration, heating and evolution of solar wind
  • Heliopsheric magnetic field
  • Spectroscopic observations

Honors, Awards and Accomplishments

  • NSF Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2014
  • Selected to attend the 2014 inaugural CAS-NAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences and U.S. National Academy of Sciences) Forum for New Leaders in Space Science, 2014.
  • NASA LWS Jack Eddy (Heliophysics) postdoctoral fellowship, Dec. of 2010-Mar. of 2013
  • NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF), 2009, and 2010
  • The First place of Michigan Geophysical Meeting (MGU) ---Thomas M. Donahue Memorial Student Award, at University of Michigan, 2009
  • The Dean fellowship at the Universityof Michigan, 2005
  • The "Excellent article of youth" award, by the Center for Space Science and Applied Research of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2004.
  • The “May 4th Youth” scholarship for graduate student at Peking University of China, 2002-2003
  • The Excellent Student award at Peking University of China, 2002-2003


Professional Service

  • Panelist for NASA and NSF proposal review panels. 
  • Frequent reviewer of The Astrophysical Journal, Solar Physics, Science China Technological Sciences, Solar wind 12 & 13 conference proceedings, the 12th international astrophysics conference proceeding, and also constantly serve as NCAR’s internal journal article reviewer.
  • Reviewer for NSF SHINE proposals
  • Reviewer for NSF postdoctral fellowship proposals
  • Session Chair: in the Flare/CME/Space Weather student session, in SHINE workshop Santa Fe, NM, 2010.
  • Class Instructor: For the class of “Physics of the Space Environment”, given by Prof. Tamas Gombosi, in the department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan, in the fall term of 2006, 2008, and 2009.  
  • Outreach: 
    1. Volunteer in NCAR’s Supper Science Saturday event, on Oct. 29, 2011, Boulder, CO   
    2. Presenter at Career day event in Clague middle school, 2015 and 2017, Ann arbor, MI 


  • Zhao, L., Landi, E., Lepri, S. T., Gilbert, J. A., Zurbuchen, T. H., Fisk, L. A., On the Relation between the in situ Properties and the Coronal Sources of the Solar Wind, The Astrophysical Journal, under review.
  • Zhao, L., E. Landi, S. T. Lepri, M. Kocher, L. A. Fisk, Anomalous Composition in Slow Solar Wind as a Signature of Magnetic Reconnection in its Source Region, Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 228, 1, 2017
  • Kocher, M., Lepri, S. T., Landi, E., Zhao, L., and Manchester IV, W. B., Anatomy of Depleted Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections, The Astrophysical Journal, 834, 2, 147, 2017.
  • Huang, J., Liu, Y. C.-M, Peng, J., Li, H., Klecker, B., Farrugia, C. J., Yu W., Galvin, A. B., Zhao, L., and He, J., A multispacecraft study of a small flux rope entrained by rolling back magnetic field lines, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 122., 2017
  • Song, H. Q., Chen, Y., Li, B., Li, L. P., Zhao, L., He, J. S., Duan, D., Cheng, X., and Zhang, J., The Origin of Solar Filament Plasma Inferred from In Situ Observations of Elemental Abundances, ApJL, 836, 1, L11, 2017.
  • Zhao, L., E. Landi, M. Kocher, S. T. Lepri, L. A. Fisk, & T. H. Zurbuchen, Anomalously low C6+/C5+ Ratio in Solar Wind: ACE/SWICS Observation, AIP conference Proceedings, 1720, 020006, doi: 10.1063/1.4943807, 2016.
  • Zhao, L., E. Landi, L. A. Fisk, & S. T. Lepri, The Coherent Relation between the Solar Wind Proton Speed and O7+/O6+ Ratio and its Coronal Sources, AIP conference Proceedings, 1720, 020007, doi: 10.1063/1.4943808, 2016.
  • Song, H. Q., Z. Zhong, Y. Chen, J. Zhang, X. Cheng, L. Zhao, Q. Hu, & G. Li, A Statistical Study of the Average Iron Charge State Distributions inside Magnetic Clouds for Solar Cycle 23, Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 224, 2, 2016.
  • Zhao, L., Landi, E., Lepri, S. T., Zurbuchen, T. H., Fisk, L. A., and Gilbert, J. A., The Coherent Relation between the in situ Properties and the Coronal Sources of the Solar Wind, ACE News, #187, 2016
  • Zhao, L., Kocher, M., Landi, E., Lepri, S. T., Zurbuchen, T. H., Fisk, L. A., and Gilbert, J. A., Anomalous Composition in Slow Solar Wind and ICMEs as Observed by ACE/SWICS, ACE News, #185, 2016
  • Zhao, L., C. R. DeVore, S. K. Antiochos, & T. H. Zurbuchen, Numerical Simulations of Helicity Condensation in the Solar Corona, The Astrophysical Journal, 805, 1, 2015
  • Zhao, L., Landi, E., Thomas H. Zurbuchen, Lennard A. Fisk and Susan T. Lepri, The Evolution of 1 AU Equatorial Solar Wind and its Association with the Morphology of the Heliospheric Current Sheet from Solar Cycle 23 to 24The Astrophysical Journal, 2014.
  • J. L. Culhane, D. Brooks, L. van Driel-Gesztelyi, P. Démoulin, D. Baker, M. L. DeRosa, C. H. Mandrini, L. Zhao, T. H. Zurbuchen, Tracking Solar Active Region Outflow Plasma from its Source to the near-Earth EnvironmentSolar Physics, 2014. 
  • Z. Wu, Y. Chen, G. Li, L.L. Zhao, R.W. Ebert, M.I.Desai, G.M.Mason, B.Lavraud, L. Zhao, Y.C.-M.Liu, F.Guo, C.L.Tang, E. Landi, and J. Sauvaud, Observations of Energetic Particles between a Pair of Corotating Interaction Regions, The Astrophysical Journal, 781:17, 2014
  • Zhao, L., & Landi, E., Polar- and Equatorial-Coronal-Hole Wind at Solar Minimum, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 781, Issue 2, article id. 110, 12 pp. 2014.
  • Zhao, L., & Landi, E., Latitudinal Dependence of Coronal Hole-Associated Fast Solar WindASP Conference Series, 484, 2014.
  • Zhao, L., & Zurbuchen, T. H., Global Distributions of Three Types of Solar Wind During the Entire Solar Cycle,the ACE news archive No. 163., 2013,
  • Zhao, L., Landi, E., & Gibson, S. E., Two Novel Parameters to Evaluate the Global Complexity of the Sun's Magnetic Field and to Track the Solar CycleThe Astrophysical Journal, 773, 2, 6., 2013, doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/773/2/157.
  • Orlove, S. T., Smith, C. W., Vasquez, B. J., Schwadron, N. A., Skoug, R. M., Zurbuchen, T. H., & Zhao, L., Intervals of Radial Interplanetary Magnetic Fields at 1 AU, Their Association with Rarefaction Regions, and the Implied Magnetic Reconnecting Footpoints at the Sun, The Astrophysical Journal, 2013, Volume 774, Issue 1, article id. 15, doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/774/1/15
  • Zhao, L., Gibson, S. E. & Fisk, L. A. Association of Solar Wind Proton Flux Extremes with Pseudostreamers, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 118, doi:10.1002/jgra.50335, 2013
  • Zhao, L., Gibson, S. E. & Fisk, L. A., Solar wind proton flux extremes and their association with pseudostreamers, in Solar Wind 13 Conference Proceeding, 2012
  • Gibson, S., and L. Zhao, A porcupine Sun? Implications for the solar wind and Earth, IAU Symposium 286, proceeding, Volume 286, p. 210-214, 2012
  • Zurbuchen, T. H., von Steiger, R., Gruesbeck, J., Landi, E., Lepri, S. T., Zhao, L., V. Hansteen.,  Sources of Solar Wind at Solar Minimum: Constraints from Composition Data., Space Sci. Rev.doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9881-5, 2012.
  • Zhao, L, & Fisk, L. A., Understanding the Behavior of the Heliospheric Magnetic Field and the Solar Wind during the Unusual Solar Minimum between Cycles 23 and 24, Solar Physics, 274, p.379-397, doi:10.1007/s11207-011-9840-4, 2011.
  • Gibson, S., De Toma, G., Emery, B., Riley, P., Zhao, L., Elsworth, Y., Leamon, R. J., Lei, J.,  McIntosh, S., Mewaldt, R. A., Thompson, B. J., & Webb, D., WHI in the Context of a Long and Structured Solar Minimum: An Overview from Sun to Earth, Solar Physics, doi: 10.1007/s11207-011-9921-4, 2011
  • Zhao, L., & L. A. Fisk, Comparison of two solar minima: narrower streamer stalk region and conserved open magnetic flux in the region outside of streamer stalks, SOHO-23 proceeding, ASP Conference Series, p.229, 2010.
  • D. J. Christian, Bodewits, D., Lisse, C.M., Dennerl, K., Wolk, S. J., Hsieh, H., Zurbuchen, T.H., & Zhao, L., Chandra Observations of Comets 8P/Tuttle and 17P/Holmes during Solar Minimum,The Astrophysical Journal, 2010.
  • Zhao, L., Zurbuchen, T.H., & Fisk, L.A., Global distribution of the solar wind during solar cycle 23: ACE observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, 14104, doi: 10.1029/2009GL039181, 2009
  • Fisk, L. A., and Zhao, L., The heliospheric magnetic field and the solar wind during the solar cycle, IAU, 257, p.109-120,doi:10.1017/S1743921309029160, 2009.
  • Tian, H., Tu, C.-Y., Marsch, E., He, J. -S., Zhou, C., and Zhao, L., Upflows in the upper transition region of the quiet Sun, Solar Wind 12 conference proceeding, 2009.
  • Lepri, S., Antiochos, S., Riley, P., Zhao, L., & Zurbuchen, T., Comparison of heliospheric in situ data with the quasi-steady solar wind models, The Astrophysical Journal, 647, 1158, 2008
  • Contributor to the ACE news archive No. 109. , Celebrating 10 years of ACE in Space, 2007. (
  • Zhao, L., and Zurbuchen, T., Global Distribution of slow solar wind during solar cycle 23, ACE News archive No. 106., 2007 (
  • Marsch, E., Zhao, L., and Tu, C.-Y., Limits on the core temperature anisotropy of solar wind protons, Annales Geophysicae, 24, 7, 2006
  • Marsch, E., Zhao, L., and Tu, C.-Y., Limits on the proton temperature anisotropy in the solar wind, 36th COSPAR Scientific Assembly., 2006
  • Zhao, L., Solar Wind Origin in Coronal Funnels: An Introduction of the Article Published in Science, Vol 308, 2005, Journal of Natural Science of Peking University, 42, 1, 26-28, 2006
  • Zhao, L., and Tu, C.-Y., A relation between the auroral X-ray total intensity and the substorm index-AE, Chinese Journal of Geophysics, 4, 2005.
  • Tu, C.-Y, Zhou, C., Marsch, E., Wilhelm, K., Zhao, L., Xia, L.-D., and Wang, J.-X., Correlation Heights of the Sources of Solar Ultraviolet Emission Lines in a Quiet-Sun Region, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 624, Issue 2, pp. L133-L136, 2005
  • Tu, C.-Y, Zhou, C., Marsch, E., Xia, L.-D., Zhao, L., Wang, J.-X., and Wilhelm, K., Solar Wind Origin in Coronal Funnels, Science, 308 (5721): 519-523,2005, 2005
  • Tu, C.-Y., Zhou, C., Marsch, E., Wilhelm, K., Xia, L.-D., Zhao, L., and Wang, J.-X., The Height of Solar Wind Origin in Coronal Funnels and a 3-D Scenario for Solar Wind Formation, Solar Wind 11/SOHO 16, 2005
Updated: 2017-07-21