Group Members

Prof. Lifeng Luo

Dr. Lifeng Luo is a faculty member of the Department of Geography at Michigan State University. He received his B.Sc. from Peking University in 1998, and Ph.D. from the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University in 2003. He worked as a post-doc and then research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University. He became a tenure track faculty at MSU in August, 2009, and is currently also affiliated with the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program and Center for Global Change and Earth Observations.

Dr. Lifeng Luo's research covers a range of topics related to land-atmosphere interaction and its impact on the global climate and hydrological cycle at various spatial and temporal scales. His research involves the use of statistical and dynamical approaches to downscale large scale atmospheric fields for hydrological applications. His recent research focuses on the predictability and prediction of climate extremes such as drought, floods, heat waves at subseasonal to seasonal scale. His current research activities are supported by NOAA, NASA and USDA.

Dr. Luo has authored and coauthored over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, and some of them have been highlighted in Nature and Nature Reports Climate Change. He has reviewed more than 60 manuscripts for numerous scientific journals, and has served on several review panels for funding agencies. He is currently a member of the WCRP/GEWEX/GLASS panel and a member of the US Drought Task Force.

Graduate Students

Pouyan Hatami

Pouyan joined the research group in Spring 2017 as a PhD student. He earned his bachelor degree in Civil Engineering at Shiraz University, Iran. He has two Master of Engineering degrees, one in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Tehran, Iran and another in Biosystems Engineering from Michigan State University. Currently, his research area lies in the application of data mining and machine learning in hydroclimatic data. He is also interested in studying the roles of social, political and economic factors in climate change.

Feng Ma

Feng is a PhD student from Beijing Normal University. She joined our group as a visiting PhD student. Her research topic is related to seasonal drought propagation and forecasting under the changing environment in the Heihe River basin. Her research focus is in hydroclimatology. She has worked on the contribution of climate change and human activities on hydrology, drought forecast skill and predictability in China, application of multiple climate models in hydrology, and the relationship between SSTA and drought in China. She is visiting MSU from August 2017 to July 2018. She likes dancing and watching movies.


Dr. Lisi Pei

Dr. Lisi Pei is a Research Assistant Professor affiliated to both the Department of Geography and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. She was a visiting scholar at MSU in 2011-2015 for her Ph.D. thesis study, and received her Ph.D. degree in 2015 from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics. Her Ph.D. work focused on improving the understanding of the regional climate drivers in the land-atmosphere interaction field for the central United States using numerical weather and climate modeling approach. She also developed an agricultural irrigation module into the regional climate framework to realistically simulate nation-wide irrigation water use and understand its effect on regional climate. In Fall 2015, she joined UCAR PACE (Postdocs Applying Climate Expertise) program for her postdoctoral research at NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory working on improving the water budget forecasting in the seasonal to decadal scale over the entire Great Lakes basin, using both dynamical downscaling (WRF-Hydro) and statistical downscaling (empirical large-basin hydrological model forced by CMIP5 future projections) approaches. Lisi has extensive experience in regional climate modeling with the WRF framework, especially with land-surface models such as Noah, Noah-Mosaic, Noah-MP, and WRF-Hydro. Her regional climate modeling interest ranges from convection-resolving weather event scale to decadal climate change scale, featuring the realization of anthropogenic influences such as land-use land-cover change, irrigation, deforestation, urbanization, etc., within the regional climate framework to study the corresponding climate feedbacks. She is also interested in exploring the hydrological water cycle that interacts with the complexity of weather and climate using both process-based models (e.g. WRF-Hydro) and conventional catchment models in the short-term and long-term scale.

Dr. Xia Li

Dr. Xia Li is a researcher from Urumqi Institute of Desert and Meteorology, China Meteorology Administration. She joins our group as a visiting scholar from February 2018 to February 2019. Her Ph.D. work focused on better understanding the formation mechanism of heavy air pollution events in gap town Urumqi in winter. In recent years, she has been studying the impacts of complex topography on air pollutants transport and dispersion in Urumqi urban agglomeration with an emphasis on foehn influence. In order to improve prediction ability of air quality in Urumqi urban agglomeration and foehn disasters, she attempts to provide a good deal of insight into the formation and evolutionary mechanisms of foehn winds originating from the middle Tianshan Mountains valley under MSU professors’ guidance.


  • Yunyun Li (Visiting Ph.D. 2017-2018), Xi'an University of Technology
  • Huating Xu (Visiting Ph.D. 2016-2017), Hohai University
  • Sam Arcand (M.S., 2018), Michigan State University
  • Deanna Apps (M.S, 2016), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Dr. Steven Schultze (Ph.D. 2015), University of South Alabama
  • Dr. Ying Tang (Ph.D. 2015), Michigan State University
  • Dr. Yang Lang (Visiting Ph.D. 2013-2014), Yunnan University, China
  • Dr. Xiaolei Fu (Visiting Ph.D. 2013-2014), Fuzhou University, China
  • Dr. Xiaona Zhang (Visiting scholar, 2013-2014), Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, China
  • Dr. Wei Tang (Visiting Ph.D. 2012), China Meteorology Administration


  • Prof. Eric F. Wood (Princeton University)
  • Prof. Pang-Ning Tan (Michigan State University)
  • Dr. Ming Pan (Princeton University)
  • Dr. Justin Sheffield (Princeton University)
  • Dr. Youlong Xia (NOAA/EMC)
  • Prof. Sharon Zhong (Michigan State University)
  • Prof. Julie Winkler (Michigan State University)
  • Dr. Warren Heilman (USDA Forest Service)
  • Dr. Joseph J. Charney (USDA Forest Service)
  • Dr. Xindi Bian (USDA Forest Service)
  • Prof. Zhaohui Lin (IAP/CAS)
  • Prof. Qingyun Duan (Beijing Normal University)
  • Prof. Paolo Sabbatini (Michigan State University)
  • Prof. Jianguo (Jack) Liu (Michigan State University)
  • Dr. Thomas Huntington (USGS)
  • Dr. Lisi Pei (NCAR)