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Director and Associate Directors

Meet JIFRESSE's Director Dr. Liou and Associate Directors Drs. Friedl and Fu.


knliou portrait

A former chair of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UCLA, Professor Liou is presently a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences. He joined UCLA in 1997 after a 22-year career as Professor of Meteorology, Adjunct Professor of Physics and Geophysics, Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Remote Sounding Studies, and department Chairman at the University of Utah.

Among numerous pioneering and fundamental contributions in the areas of light scattering by nonspherical ice crystals, radiative transfer theory and application, satellite remote sensing, and clouds and aerosols in climate and greenhouse warming, Professor Liou is best known for his three books: An Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation (1980, translated into Chinese, Russian, and Arabic), Radiation and Cloud Processes in the Atmosphere: Theory, Observation, and Modeling (1992), and An Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation, 2nd Edition (2002, translated into Chinese in 2005 and Japanese in 2014). Professor Liou also authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed publications that have appeared in numerous national and international journals.

Professor Liou was elected a Member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1999 and a Member of the Academia Sinica (Chinese Academy of Sciences, Taiwan) in 2004. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the Optical Society of America, and the American Meteorology Society. Professor Liou received a creativity award from the National Science Foundation in 1996 for his work on light scattering by ice crystals. This award was followed in 1998 by the Jule G. Charney Award from the American Meteorological Society “for his pioneering work in the theory and application of radiative transport and its interaction with clouds.” Professor Liou also shared the Nobel Peace Prize bestowed on IPCC in 2007. He received the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) William Nordberg Medal at the 38th COSPAR Scientific Assembly in Bremen, Germany in 2010. The Nordberg Medal, awarded every two years, recognizes “contributions of leading scientists to the application of space science.” In 2012, Professor Liou received the International Radiation Commission (IRC) Quadrennial Gold Medal at the 2012 IRC Symposium held in Berlin, Germany, for his "contributions of lasting significance to the field of radiation research." In 2013, Dr. Liou was awarded the Roger Revelle Medal from the American Geophysical Union “for outstanding contributions in atmospheric sciences and related aspects of the Earth system.”

Recognizing the potential significance for productive research collaboration on climate modeling and environmental change, Professor Liou and Dr. Randy Friedl, Chief Scientist for Earth Science and Technology Directorate, spearheaded the establishment in March 2005, of a joint (UCLA and JPL) institute in the Earth System Science field. The Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering (JIFRESSE) was subsequently established at UCLA and, in July 2006, Professor Liou was appointed by the UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research, Dr. Roberto Peccei, as its founding director (see EVENTS and PRESS).

Director's homepage

Associate Director

Randy FriedlDr. Friedl is currently serving as Deputy Director for Research, Engineering and Science Directorate. In addition, he is a member of the JPL Science and Technology Management Council that oversees all of JPL’s internal research and technology development investments.

Dr. Friedl received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 1984 prior to accepting a research position at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr Friedl's research is focused on gas and particle reactions relevant to the Earth's stratosphere and troposphere. For his early research work he received JPL’s Lew Allen Award for Excellence in 1990. He has authored or co-authored over 50 scientific publications and has participated in a number of international assessments, notably, as lead author for the IPCC Special Report on Aviation and the Global Atmosphere (1999), as contributing author for the IPCC Third Assessment Report on Climate Change (2001), and as co-author on the WMO Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion (2002). He has also served as the Research Focal Point for the Emissions working group of the United Nation’s Civil Aviation Environmental Program from 2001 to 2003. More recently, he was a panel member on the National Research Council’s first-ever “Decadal Survey” on Earth Science that was released in January 2007.

In addition to his JPL activities, Dr. Friedl has served several roles at NASA Headquarters. From 1994 to 1996 he was the Project Scientist for the Atmospheric Effects of Aviation Project. During that tenure, he developed and organized numerous research efforts, including several aircraft field campaigns to study aircraft impacts on the upper troposphere. Following his return to JPL, he served as co-mission scientist for the NASA ACCENT airborne field study to investigate aircraft and rocket impacts and served as flight scientist in the CRYSTAL-FACE campaign to study cirrus cloud processes in Florida. For his work on the aviation-related issues he received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1997 and a NASA Group Achievement Award in 1999.

Prior to reassuming his current JPL position at the beginning of 2009, Dr. Friedl spent a year and a half at NASA Headquarter as the Deputy Chief Scientist for Earth Science within the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and as the Deputy for Science within the Earth Science Division of SMD. In those roles, Dr. Friedl was the primary advisor on Earth science issues to the NASA Associate Administrator and Earth Science Director and was tasked with formulating internal strategy for the NASA Earth science program as well as joint strategies with other Federal agencies.


Associate Director 

rong fu pic

Professor Rong Fu received her B.S in Geophysics from Peking University (1984) and Ph.D in Atmospheric Sciences from Columbia University in New York City (1991). After completing her graduate studies, she participated in post-doctoral research at the University of California, Los Angles (1991-1993), and was later appointed as a visiting scientist fellow at Princeton University (1994). Dr. Fu began her role as a faculty member as an Assistant Professor at University of Arizona (1994-1999), Associate Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (1999-2008), and Professor (2008-2016) and Associate Chair (2011-2015) of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Fu is currently Professor in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department and Associate Director of JIFRESSE at the University of California, Los Angeles.  

Dr. Fu’s research aims at understanding the role of the atmospheric hydrological cycle and its interaction with earth’s surface in determining the stability of the Earth’s climate at global and regional scales, and at applying climate science to support regional decision.  Her research has been focused on the mechanisms that control the rainfall variability over Amazonian and Pan-American monsoon regions, how changes of global climate, local vegetation and biomass burning, and oceanic decadal variability have influenced rainfall variability in recent past and will influence rainfall and droughts in the future. Her research is among the earliest to show an active role of tropical rainforests in initiating dry to wet season transition over Amazonia and the significance of the Tibetan Plateau in determining water vapor transport to the global stratosphere.

Dr. Fu received a NSF CAREER Award (1995), NASA EOS New Investigator Award (1996), and is an elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (2015).  She has also received the AGU Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Geophysical Research Letter (2006) and a NASA Group Achievement Award (2007). She has published 84 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and delivered 109 invited or keynote presentations/lecture/seminars. Dr. Fu was a founding associate editor of “Anthopogence” (Elsevier, 2012-2014), a science advisor of Oxford Press-Environment (2013-2015), served on the National Research Council’s Committees on “Challenges and Opportunities in Earth Surface Processes” (2007-2009) and “Understanding and Observing Abrupt Climate Change” (2012-2013), and NOAA Science Advisory Board’s Climate Working Group (2015-).  She has served on AGU Meeting Committee (2010-2012), AGU Council (2014-2016), and Council Leadership Team (2015-2016).  Dr. Fu was also formerly President-Elect (2013-2014) and currently President (2015-2016) of the AGU Global Environmental Change Focus Group.