Wei Gao

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Dr. Gao’s main research includes the radiative transfer of solar UV in the atmosphere and vegetation canopy, the impacts of UV radiation and other environmental stress factors on plants, regional climate/ecosystem modeling, and remote sensing applications in ecosystems.

Monitoring Network
Dr. Gao directs a climatologic network, which provides an adequate density of measurement sites to establish the spatial and temporal characteristics of UV-B irradiance. Specifically this monitoring program provides information to the agricultural community and others about the climatological and geographical distribution of UV-B irradiance and furnishes the basic information necessary to support evaluations of the potential damaging effects of UV-B to crops, rangelands, and forests.

UV Effects
With collaborators from Mississippi State University and Colorado State University, Dr. Gao studies the isolated effects of UV-B radiation and combined effects of UV-B radiation with other climate stress factors such as moisture (drought), temperature, soil nutrients, and CO2 on the growth and development of crops, rangelands, and trees. Data derived from these studies are quantified as modules for incorporation into integrated climate-crop model systems.

Modeling
Dr. Gao is involved in developing the Climate-Agroecosystem-UV Interactions and Economic (CAIE) system with collaborators from the University of Maryland and Colorado State University. This system will couple an advanced regional climate model with models of crops, ecosystems, and economics, integrating the UV irradiation data from his monitoring network, the results of the UV effects studies, and satellite observations. This system will allow studies on how climate and crop production interact and how the interaction impacts economics and management practices.

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