Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Meng Gao


Meng Gao's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.286.2760
Org Code: 616
Mail Code 616.2
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. Meng Gao is a research scientist in the Ocean Ecology Laboratory (OEL) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2004, his Master's degree from Peking University in 2007, and his PhD from Texas A&M University in 2012. His research interests and expertise include light scattering theory, radiative transfer simulation, optimization algorithm, and deep learning. His projects involved the studies of cephalopod camouflage, seismic signal processing, and remote sensing of atmosphere and ocean. He currently supports NASA's Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission in developing aerosol and ocean color remote sensing algorithm with multi-angle polarimeters. He is the lead developer of MAPOL and FastMAPOL retrieval algorithm.

Current Projects

PACE SDS polarimetry data scientist and software lead

Support algorithm and software development for PACE multi-angle polarimeters


Chief research scientist


2024 - Present

Senior/Lead Research Scientist


2021 - 2023

Scientific Programmer/Analyst


2019 - 2020

Research Associate

JCET/Department of Physics - UMBC

2016 - 2018

Research Geophysicist

CGG - Beijing/Singapore

2014 - 2016

Assistant Research Scientist

Department of Atmospheric Sciences - Texas A&M University

2014 - 2014

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of Physics and Astronomy - Texas A&M University

2013 - 2013



  • 2022 SSAI Chairman’s Innovation Award
  • 2021 Robert H. Goddard Award for the PACE Science Algorithm Team
  • 2021 NASA PACE Excellence Award
  • 2020 NASA Hydropsheric, Biospheric and Geophysics Peer Award - Scientific Achievement
  • 2012 TAMU U.S. Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2010 Honorable Mention for Best Student Paper: “Understanding Cephalopod Camouflage by Use of a Novel 3D Vector Radiative Transfer Code” , Ocean Optics XX conference , Anchorage, Alaska.


Atmospheric correction for complex scenes using co-located polarimetric and ocean color observations (PI: Pengwang Zhai)

Remote Sensing of Water Quality - NASA - Awarded: 2017-10-01



2023. "Simultaneous retrieval of aerosol and ocean properties from PACE HARP2 with uncertainty assessment using cascading neural network radiative transfer models." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 16 (23): [] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Performance evaluation of three bio-optical models in aerosol and ocean color joint retrievals." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 16 (23): 5749-5770 [10.5194/amt-16-5749-2023] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "State of the Climate in 2022: Introduction." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 104 (9): S1-S10 [10.1175/2023bamsstateoftheclimate_intro.1] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "Optimizing retrieval spaces of bio-optical models for remote sensing of ocean color." Applied Optics 62 (13): 3299 [10.1364/ao.484082] [Journal Article/Letter]

2023. "The impact and estimation of uncertainty correlation for multi-angle polarimetric remote sensing of aerosols and ocean color." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 16 (8): 2067–2087 [] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Instantaneous photosynthetically available radiation models for ocean waters using neural networks." Applied Optics 61 (33): 9985 [10.1364/ao.474914] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Effective uncertainty quantification for multi-angle polarimetric aerosol remote sensing over ocean." Atmos. Meas. Tech. 15 (16): 4859–4879 [10.5194/amt-15-4859-2022] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Optimal Estimation Framework for Ocean Color Atmospheric Correction and Pixel-level Uncertainty Quantification." Applied Optics Vol. 61 No. 20 [10.1364/ao.461861] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "Deriving Snow Depth From ICESat-2 Lidar Multiple Scattering Measurements." Frontiers in Remote Sensing 3 [10.3389/frsen.2022.855159] [Journal Article/Letter]

2022. "A Radiative Transfer Simulator for PACE: Theory and Applications." Frontiers in Remote Sensing 3 [10.3389/frsen.2022.840188] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Adaptive Data Screening for Multi-Angle Polarimetric Aerosol and Ocean Color Remote Sensing Accelerated by Deep Learning." Frontiers in Remote Sensing 2 [10.3389/frsen.2021.757832] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Cloud Detection Over Sunglint Regions With Observations From the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera." Frontiers in Remote Sensing 2 [10.3389/frsen.2021.690010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Efficient multi-angle polarimetric inversion of aerosols and oceancolor powered by a deep neural network forward model." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 (6): 4083–4110 [] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Analysis of simultaneous aerosol and ocean glint retrieval using multi-angle observations." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 14 3233-3252 [10.5194/amt-14-3233-2021] [Journal Article/Letter]

2021. "Atmospheric correction over the ocean for hyperspectral radiometers using multi-angle polarimetric retrievals." Optics Express 29 (3): 4504 [10.1364/oe.408467] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "The Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL) airborne field campaign." Earth System Science Data 12 (3): 2183-2208 [Full Text] [10.5194/essd-12-2183-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Inversion of multiangular polarimetric measurements from the ACEPOL campaign: an application of improving aerosol property and hyperspectral ocean color retrievals." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 13 3939–3956 [10.5194/amt-13-3939-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Neural Network Reflectance Prediction Model for Both Open Ocean and Coastal Waters." Remote Sensing 12 (9): 1421 [10.3390/rs12091421] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Cloud detection over snow and ice with oxygen A- and B-band observations from the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC)." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 13 (3): 1575-1591 [10.5194/amt-13-1575-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2020. "Aerosol retrievals from different polarimeters during the ACEPOL campaign using a common retrieval algorithm." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 13 553-573 [10.5194/amt-13-553-2020] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Inversion of multi-angular polarimetric measurements over open and coastal ocean waters: a joint retrieval algorithm for aerosol and water leaving radiance properties." Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 12 (7): 3921–3941 [10.5194/amt-12-3921-2019] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Cloud remote sensing with EPIC/DSCOVR observations: A sensitivity study with radiative transfer simulations." Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 230 56-60 [10.1016/j.jqsrt.2019.03.022] [Journal Article/Letter]

2019. "Going Beyond Standard Ocean Color Observations: Lidar and Polarimetry." Frontiers in Marine Science 6 [10.3389/fmars.2019.00251] [Journal Article/Letter]

2018. "Retrieval of aerosol properties and water-leaving reflectance from multi-angular polarimetric measurements over coastal waters." Optics Express 26 (7): 8968 [10.1364/oe.26.008968] [Journal Article/Letter]

2017. "Water-leaving contribution to polarized radiation field over ocean." Optics Express 25 (16): A689 [10.1364/oe.25.00a689] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Open-ocean fish reveal an omnidirectional solution to camouflage in polarized environments." Science 350 (6263): 965-969 [10.1126/science.aad5284] [Journal Article/Letter]

2015. "Broadband and polarization reflectors in the lookdown, Selene vomer." Journal of The Royal Society Interface 12 (104): 20141390-20141390 [10.1098/rsif.2014.1390] [Journal Article/Letter]

2014. "Diffuse White Structural Coloration from Multilayer Reflectors in a Squid." Advanced Materials 26 (25): 4352-4356 [10.1002/adma.201400383] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Polarized extinction properties of plates with large aspect ratios." Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 131 72-81 [10.1016/j.jqsrt.2013.03.010] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Angular distribution of diffuse reflectance from incoherent multiple scattering in turbid media." Applied Optics 52 (24): 5869 [10.1364/ao.52.005869] [Journal Article/Letter]

2013. "Mueller matrix holographic method for small particle characterization: theory and numerical studies." Applied Optics 52 (21): 5289 [10.1364/ao.52.005289] [Journal Article/Letter]

2012. "Backscattering properties of small layered plates: a model for iridosomes." Optics Express 20 (22): 25111 [10.1364/oe.20.025111] [Journal Article/Letter]

2011. "Semiclassical simulations in materials science." physica status solidi (b) [10.1002/pssb.201147141] [Journal Article/Letter]

2008. "VORTEX LATTICE STATE OF A SUPERFLUID FERMI GAS IN THE UNITARY REGION." International Journal of Modern Physics B 22 (23): 3967-3976 [10.1142/s0217979208048814] [Journal Article/Letter]

2006. "Vortex properties of a resonant superfluid." Physical Review A 74 (2): 023604 [10.1103/physreva.74.023604] [Journal Article/Letter]