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Professor Earth and Atmospheric Sciences 402-472-6642 707 Hardin Hall

Hi, I'm Qi (Steve) Hu, and I'm an atmospheric scientist with a joint appointment in the School of Natural Resources and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. In training, I received my bachelor's degree in Meteorology in 1982 from Lanzhou University, China, and my master's degree in 1986 and Ph.D. degree in 1992 both in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

Over the years, I have researched problems in a wide range of subjects from the tropics to the polar region. I developed the theory of low-frequency oscillations in radiative-convective systems, such as the tropical atmosphere, and suggested it as a driving mechanism of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). This theory has been tested and remains a cornerstone for the MJO. In high latitude regions, I disclosed the physical processes connecting the Arctic Oscillation with the circulation and precipitation anomalies in mid-latitude North America. In recent years, my research focus has been placed at mechanisms for precipitation variations in the central U.S. from intraseasonal to multidecadal timescales. A series of projects was devoted to understanding those variations by remote forcing such as ENSO and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Local effects, from land-use change and effects on regional circulation, are also being examined. An intriguing result from a recent study is that the massive land-cover change in the Great Plains from the pre-settlement to the 1930s is found playing a key role in the 1930s “Dust Bowl” drought. In addition to these large-scale dynamics problems I also developed a convection parameterization for models and have been searching answers to some questions in initiation of nocturnal convection during the warm season in the Great Plains.

I prefer systems approach to solve problems. With that sentiment, I have expanded my interest and research to hydrology, ecology and human aspects in science. In hydrology, I collaborated with scientists in China and revealed for the first time the forcing processes of the Yangtze River responsible for frequent summer floods in the Poyang Lake (the largest freshwater lake in China) before the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) was built. After the TGD, its roles on Yangtze River-Poyang Lake interactions and the hydrology in the lake basin were further quantified. Meanwhile, working with a team of social scientists, we extended the Theory of Planned Behavior in social psychology to measure the roles of belief, social norm and self-efficacy in farmers’ decision-making process with the goal to improve their capability and social support so that using weather and climate information becomes natural in their farming decision-making.

My research results have been summarized in ~90 refereed journal publications and at 20 some invited presentations at various venues.

While plowing in my research, I enjoy my extension work, interacting with agricultural producers in person, working with them in understanding where to find the relevant information on weather and climate for their situation, correctly interpreting the information in the context of their situation, and finding the right ways to use the information in their farming decision–making. It is not easy to change people’s mind or habit, yet it is rewarding to influence their intention by showing them scientific facts.  

I am also teaching numerous classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They include Dynamic Meteorology, Physical Climatology and Climate Change. I am trying to engage students interest in learning by providing additional information and interpretation of a learning subject from various perspectives of different complexity, and excite students curiosity in exploring those or related subjects in greater depth in their own path.  

Selected Publications

Huang, R. X. Chen, and Q. Hu, 2019: Changes in vegetation and surface water balance at basin-scale in central China with rising atmospheric CO2. Climatic Change

Hu, Q., J.A. Torres-Alavez, and M. Van Den Broeke, 2018: Land-cover change and the “Dust Bowl” drought in the U.S. Great Plains. J. Climate, 31, 4657-4667,

Qiu, N., X. Chen, Q. Hu, J. Liu, R. Huang, and M. Gao, 2018: Hydro-stochastic interpolation coupling with Budyko approach for spatial prediction of mean annual runoff. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22, 2891-2901.

Qiu, Y., Q. Hu, and C. Zhang, 2017: WRF simulation and downscaling of local climate in central Asia. Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.5018.

Li, X., Q. Zhang, Q. Hu, D. Zhang, and X. Ye, 2017: Lake flooding sensitivity to the relative timing of peak flows between the upstream and downstream waterways: A case study of the Poyang Lake, China. Hydrol. Proc., 31, 4217-4228.

Van Den Broeke, M., A. Kalin, J.A. Torres, R. Oglesby, and Q. Hu, 2017: A warm-season comparison of WRF coupled to the CLM4.0, Noah-MP, and Bucket hydrology land surface schemes over the central United States. J. Theor. Appl. Climatol.


Ph.D., 1992, Colorado State University