Liang Zhao

Associate Research Scientist


2417B Climate & Space Research Building 2455 Hayward Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143



Primary Website


  • 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)

Professional Service

  • Panelist on NASA (HSR, HGI, LWS) proposal review panels
  • Panelist on NSF SHINE proposal review panels
  • Reviewer for NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP)
  • Reviewer for NASA Early Career Program
  • Review Editor on the editorial board of space physics (specialty section of Frontiers in Physics and Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences)
  • Frequent reviewer of The Astrophysical Journal, Solar Physics, Science China Technological Sciences, Solar wind 12, 13 & 14 conference proceedings, the 12th international astrophysics conference proceeding, and also constantly serve as NCAR’s internal journal article reviewer.
  • Frequent mail-in reviewer for NSF and NASA proposals
  • Department representative at the Solar Physics Division Graduate Student & Postdoc Fair, Nov. 2023.
  • CLaSP Grad Admissions Committee member, 2023 – 2026
  • Session (co-) organizer of the NSF SHINE workshops, in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2023.
  • Session Chair: in the Flare/CME/Space Weather student session, in SHINE workshop Santa Fe, NM, 2010.

Research Interests

  • Application of machine learning and artificial intelligence on Heliophysics data
  • Dynamics, composition, acceleration, heating and evolution of solar wind
  • Heliopsheric magnetic field
  • Solar cycle variations


  • NSF Early Career Award 2023
  • Selected as one of the ten winners of the Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Awards of the University of Michigan in 2015
  • 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


  • Google Scholar page: ‪Liang Zhao‬ – ‪Google Scholar‬
  • Carpenter, D., Han, H, Zhao, L., & Lepri, S. T., Dimension Reduction Stacking for Deep Solar Wind Clustering, Communications in Computer and Information Science, submitted, 2023
  • Lynch, B.J., et al., The S-Web Origin of Composition Enhancement in the Slow-to-Moderate Speed Solar Wind, ApJ, 949,14, 2023
  • Carpenter, D., Zhao, L., Lepri, S.T., Han, H., Characterizing In-Situ Solar Wind Observations Using Clustering Methods. In: Han, H., Baker, E. (eds) The Recent Advances in Transdisciplinary Data Science. SDSC 2022. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1725. Springer, Cham, 2022.
  • Zhao L., Landi, E., Lepri, S.T., & Carpenter, D. Depletion of Heavy Ion Abundances in Slow Solar Wind and its Association with Quiet Sun Regions, Universe- Space Science, 8(8), 393, 2022.
  • D’Amicis, R., et al., Solar Wind Alfvénicity during solar cycle 23 and 24, A&A 654, A111, 2021.
  • Rivera, Y., et al., Solar Origin of Bare Ion Anomalies in the Solar Wind and Interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections, ApJ., 921:93, 2021
  • Yang, L. et al. Quiet-time Solar Wind Suprathermal Electrons of Different Solar Origins, ApJ., 896: L5, 2020.
  • Wang, X., et al. Alfvénicity of Quiet-Sun-associated Wind during Solar Maximum, ApJ, 871, 2, 204, 2019.
  • 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, 846, 135, 2017. (
  • 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 24, The 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 Environment, Solar 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 Wind, ASP 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 Cycle, The Astrophysical Journal773, 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., & ZhaoL.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 ZhaoL., Upflows in the upper transition region of the quiet Sun, Solar Wind 12 conference proceeding2009.
  • 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