Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Tian Yao


Org Code: 619

Mail Code: 619
Greenbelt, MD 20771


Brief Bio

Dr. Yao received her Ph.D. in Geography from Boston University in 2012. Her PhD work was focusing on modeling forest vegetation structure and biomass using lidar and optical remote sensing. She is a research scientist and the ASP-LANCE coordinator leading the work to provide NASA’s LANCE near real-time satellite data products to users and stakeholders of NASA Earth Applied Sciences Program. She works with other NASA centers to provide support, satellite data products and trainings to help users make better decisions about our environment, food security, water management, health, and safety. 


Ph.D. in Geography, Boston University, USA

Professional Service

• Invited Peer Reviewer: Remote Sensing of Environment; IEEE Transactions on Geosciences and Remote Sensing; IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters; IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing; International Journal of Digital Earth; Remote Sensing; European Journal of Forest Research; Forest Ecosystems; Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment; Journal of Forestry Research; The International Journal of Remote Sensing; Sensors; Climate; Forests; Land; Sustainability.

• Proposal Reviewer: 2016 - 2018, NASA Postdoctoral Program.

• International Conference Reviewer: From 2017 to present, IEEE International Geoscience & Remote Sensing Symposium

• Conference Session Convener:

Near Real-Time Satellite Data and Tools for Earth Science Applications, 2023 Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Denver, USA. 

Near Real-Time/Low-Latency Data and Tools for Earth Science Applications, 2022 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, Chicago, USA.

Mapping and Monitoring Terrestrial Vegetation Carbon Stocks and Fluxes: Inventories, Modeling, and Policy Support, 2015 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, San Francisco, USA.

Selected Peer Reviewed Journal Papers

2022 D.J. Hills, J.E. Damerow, B. Ahmmed, N. Catolico, S. Chakraborty, C.M. Coward, R. Crystal-Ornelas, W. D. Duncan, L. N. Goparaju, C. Lin, Z. Liu, M. K. Mudunuru, Y. Rao, R. J. Rovetto, Z. Sun, B. P. Whitehead, L. Wyborn, T. Yao (2022). Earth and space science informatics perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) science. Earth Space Sci.,

2020 Q Zhang, T Yao, KF Huemmrich, EM Middleton, A Lyapustin and Y Wang (2020). Evaluating impacts of snow, surface water, soil and vegetation on empirical vegetation and snow indices for the Utqiaġvik tundra ecosystem in Alaska with the LVS3 model. Remote Sensing of Environment 240, 111677.

2018 PE Campana, J Zhang, T Yao, S Andersson, T Landelius, F Melton and J Yan (2018). Managing agricultural drought in Sweden using a novel spatially-explicit model from the perspective of water-food-energy nexus. Journal of Cleaner Production 197, 1382-1393.

2017 Campana, P. E., Zhang, J., Yao, T., Zhang, Y., Lundblad, A. & Yan, J. (2017). The water-food-energy nexus optimization approach to combat agricultural drought: a case study in the United States. Applied Energy, Doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.07.036.

2017 Franks, S., Neigh, C.S.R., Campbell, P.K., Sun, G., Yao, T., Zhang, Q., Huemmrich, K.F., Middleton, E.M., Ungar, S.G., Frye, S.W. (2017). EO-1 Data Quality and Sensor Stability with Changing Orbital Precession at the End of a 16 Year Mission. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 412-430.

2016 Zhang, Q., Middleton, E., Cheng, Y., Huemmrich, K., Cook, B., Corp, L., Kustas, W., Russ, A., Prueger, J., Yao, T. (2016), Integrating chlorophyll fAPAR and nadir photochemical reflectance index from EO-1/Hyperion to predict cornfield daily gross primary production, Remote sensing of Environment, 186(1), 311-321.

2013 Zhao, F., Yang, X., Strahler, A. H., Schaaf, C., Yao, T., Wang, W. and etc., A comparison of foliage profiles in the Sierra National Forest obtained with a full-waveform under-canopy EVI lidar system with the foliage profiles obtained with an airborne full-waveform LVIS lidar system, Remote Sensing of Environment, 136, 330-341.

2013 Yang, X., Strahler, A.H., Schaaf, C., Jupp, D., Yao, T., Zhao, F., Wang, Z. Culveno, D., Newnham, G., Lovell, J., Dubayah, R., Woodcock, C., Ni-Meister, W. (2013). Three-dimensional forest reconstruction and structural parameter retrievals using a terrestrial full-waveform lidar instrument (Echidna®), Remote Sensing of Environment, 135, 36-51

2012 Zhao, F., Strahler, A.H., Schaaf, C.L., Yao, T., Yang, X.Y., Wang, Z., Schull, M.A., Roman, M.O. Woodcock, C.E., Olofsson, P., Ni-Meister, W., Jupp, D.L.,Lovell, J.L., Culvenor, D.S., Newnham, G.J., (2012), Measuring gap fraction, element clumping index and LAI in Sierra Forest stands using a full-waveform ground-based lidar, Remote Sensing of Environment, 125, 73-79.

2011 Yao, T., Yang, X., Zhao, F., Wang, Z., Zhang, Q., Jupp, D.L.B., Culvenor, D.S., Newnham, G.J., Ni-Meister, W., Schaaf, C.B., Woodcock, C.E., Strahler, A.H. (2011), Measuring forest structure and biomass in New England forest stands using Echidna® ground-based lidar, Remote sensing of Environment, 115(11), 2965-2974.

2011 Zhao, F., Yang, X., Schull, M., Roman-Colon, M., Yao, T., Wang, Z., Zhang, Q., Jupp, D., Culvenor, D., Newnham, G.,Ni-Meister, W., Schaff, C., Woodcock, C., Strahler, A. & Richardsone, A. (2011), Measuring effective leaf area index, foliage profile, and stand height in New England forest stands using Echidna® Validation Instrument (EVI) ground-Based lidar. Remote Sensing of Environment, 115(11), 2954-2964.

2011 Wang, Z., Schaaf, C., Philip, L., Knyazikhin, Y., Schull, M., Strahler, A., Yao, T., Myneni, R.B., Chopping, M. (2011). Retrieval of canopy height using moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, Remote sensing of Environment, 115(6), 1595-1601.

2010 Ni-Meister, W., S. Lee, A. H. Strahler, C. E. Woodcock, C. Schaaf, T. Yao, K. J. Ranson, G. Sun, and J. B. Blair, (2010), Assessing general relationships between aboveground biomass and vegetation structure parameters for improved carbon estimate from lidar remote sensing, J. Geophys. Res., 115(G00E11).

2008 Ni-Meister, W., Strahler, A., Woodcock, C.E., Schaaf, C.B., Jupp, L.B.D., Yao, T., Zhao, F., and Yang, X., (2008), Modeling the hemispherical scanning, below-canopy lidar and vegetation structure characteristics with a geometric-optical and radiative-transfer model, Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 34(2), 385-S397.

2008 Strahler, A.H., Jupp, D.L.B., Woodcock, C.E., Schaaf, C. B., Yao, T., Zhao, F., Yang, X., Lovell, J.L., Culvenor, D.S., Newnham, G.J, Ni-Meister, W., and Boykin-Morris, W. (2008), Retrieval of forest structure parameters using a ground based laser Instrument (Echidna®), Special issue for Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 34(2), 426-440.