• Asking the right question is more important than getting the right answer

    Hu Yang received the diploma and master degrees in Physical Oceanography at the Ocean University of China. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Environmental Physics, at the University of Bremen. From 2017-2022, he worked as a Postdoc and Research Scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany. Since 2023, he leads the paleoclimate and sea level change group in Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai). Yang’s research focus on the large-scale ocean-atmosphere interactions and long-term sea level change. His study on western boundary currents, drifting ocean gyres and tropical expansion has received broad attention and recognition not only in the scientific community but also in the general public.

  • My Research

    My research interest covers broad fields, including climate dynamics, paleo-climate change, sea-level change. Among these, I am particularly interested in the topics of long-term sea level change and the displacement of oceanic and atmospheric circulation across different time scales. I always like to perform my study by combining observations with numerical model simulations, and use simple approach to explore the complex earth system.

    Drifting ocean gyres

    Ocean circulation plays a vital role in regulating the weather and climate and supporting marine life. Using two independent satellite observations and climate model simulations, we report that the world's major ocean gyres are moving towards higher latitudes under climate change. --Yang et al. (2020a)

    Why does the tropical belt expand?

    Observations and climate simulations reveal that the Earth's tropical belt is expanding. The mechanism underlying such phenomenon has been debated for more than a decade. In Yang et al. (2020b), we firstly proposed that the expanding tropics is driven by poleward advancing of mid-latitude meridional temperature gradients. The temperature gradient displacement is induced by a relatively fast subtropical ocean warming, which constrained by the mean upper ocean flow.

    Poleward migration of Earth's climate zones

    Both oceanic and atmospheric circulation are displacing towards higher latitudes, causing a poleward migration of the Earth's climate zones. In Yang et al (2022a), we proposed that it is the warming ocean that initially pushes the meridional temperature gradients and the atmospheric circulation towards higher latitudes. The shift in atmospheric circulation, in turn, drives a poleward drift of the oceanic circulation.

    Evolution of the Greenland Ice Sheet over time

    Greenland Ice Sheet play a key role in the future sea level rise. In Yang et al. (2022b), we simulate the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet from the last interglacial into near future. Based on our simulations and geological reconstructions, we highlight that the Greenland's ice volume delays climate change by thousands of years. Due to this delay, catastrophic sea level rise will not happen within our generations no matter how much the Earth's climate warms. However, sea level rise from melting could be irreversible and last for several millennia.


    Western Boundary Currents and climate change

    The world's subtropical western boundary currents, i.e. Kuroshio Current, Gulf Stream, Brazil Current, East Australian Current, and Agulhas Current are intensifying and shifting towards poles as a long-term effect of global warming. --Yang et al. (2016b)

    Ocean's role in strengthening the meridional heat imbalance 

    Equator to pole heat imbalance drives the atmospheric circulation. We report that due to different response time of oceanic warming, man-made global warming results in a strengthening mid-latitude meridional heat imbalance. --Yang et al. (2019)

    Hotspots of oceanic heat flux 

    Oceanic surface heat flux is the key language for ocean-atmosphere coupling. We identify the most prominent oceanic heat flux trends around the global. This study initially led the finding of systematic drifting of the western boundary currents under warming climate. --Yang et al. (2016a)

  • Publications

    • Hu Yang*, Gerrit Lohmann, Christian Stepanek, Qiang Wang, Rui Xin Huang, Xiaoxu Shi, Jiping Liu, Dake Chen, Xulong Wang, Yi Zhong, Qinghua Yang, Ying Bao, Juliane Müller (2023). The emergent pattern of infant stage ocean warming in satellite measurements. (Under Review).
    • Hu Yang*, Gerrit Lohmann, Xiaoxu Shi, Juliane Müller (2023): Evaluating the mechanism of tropical expansion using idealised numerical experiments. Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Research. https://doi.org/10.34133/olar.0004
    • Zhong, Yi, Xuefa Shi, Hu Yang*, David J. Wilson, James R. Hein, Stefanie Kaboth-Bahr, Zhengyao Lu, Peter D. Clift, Qing Yan, Gerrit Lohmann, Jiabo Liu, Francisco Javier González, Xiaodong Jiang, Zhaoxia Jiang, Qingsong Liu* (2022). Humidification of Central Asia and equatorward shifts of westerly wind since the late Pliocene. Communications Earth & Environment. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-022-00604-5
    • Xiaoxu Shi, Martin Werner, Qiang Wang, Hu Yang, Gerrit Lohmann (2022): Simulated mid-Holocene and last interglacial climate using two generations of AWI-ESM. Journal of Climate. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-22-0354.1
    • Hu Yang* (2022). Warming hotspots induced by more eddies. Nature Climate Change. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-022-01488-1
    • Xingxing Liu, Hu Yang, Shugang Kang, Jef Vandenberghe, Li Ai, Zhengguo Shi, Peng Cheng, Jianghu Lan, Xulong Wang, Youbin Sun (2022): Centennial-scale East Asian winter monsoon variability within the Younger Dryas. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2022.111101
    • Hu Yang* (2022): Understanding Circulation Changes in Earth’s Oceans and Atmosphere. Scientia. https://doi.org/10.33548/SCIENTIA789 
    • Shi, X., Werner, M., Krug, C., Brierley, C. M., Zhao, A., Igbinosa, E., Braconnot, P., Brady, E., Cao, J., D'Agostino, R., Jungclaus, J., Liu, X., Otto-Bliesner, B., Sidorenko, D., Tomas, R., Volodin, E. M., Yang, H., Zhang, Q., Zheng, W., and Lohmann, G.: Calendar effects on surface air temperature and precipitation based on model-ensemble equilibrium and transient simulations from PMIP4 and PACMEDY, Clim. Past, 18, 1047–1070, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-18-1047-2022, 2022.
    • Hu Yang*, Uta Krebs-Kanzow, Thomas Kleiner, Dmitry Sidorenko, Christian Rodehacke, Xiaoxu Shi, Paul Gierz, Lu Niu, Evan J. Gowan, Sebastian Hinck, Xingxing Liu, Lennert Stap, Gerrit Lohmann. (2022): Impact of paleoclimate on present and future evolution of Greenland Ice Sheet. Plos ONE. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0259816
    • Hu Yang*, Jian Lu, Qiang Wang, Xiaoxu Shi, Gerrit Lohmann. (2022): Decoding the dynamics of poleward shifting climate zones using aqua-planet model simulations.Climate Dynamics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-021-06112-0
    • Jianjun Zou, Yuan-Pin Chang, Aimei Zhu, Min-Te Chen, Selvaraj Kandasamy, Hu Yang, Jinjin Cui, Pai-Sen Yu, Xuefa Shi. (2021) Sedimentary mercury and antimony revealed orbital-scale dynamics of the Kuroshio Current. Quaternary Science Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107051
    • Xiaoxu Shi, Dirk Notz, Jiping Liu, Hu Yang, Gerrit Lohmann. (2021). Sensitivity of Northern Hemisphere climate to ice-ocean interface heat flux parameterizations. Geoscientific Model Development. https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-14-4891-2021
    • Uta Krebs-Kanzow, Paul Gierz, Christian B. Rodehacke, Shan Xu, Hu Yang, Gerrit Lohmann. (2021). The diurnal Energy Balance Model (dEBM): A convenient surface mass balance solution for ice sheets in Earth System modelling. The Cryosphere. https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-15-2295-2021
    • Hu Yang*, Gerrit Lohmann, Jian Lu, Evan J. Gowan, Xiaoxu Shi, Jiping Liu, Qiang Wang. (2020): Tropical expansion driven by poleward advancing mid-latitude meridional temperature gradients. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JD033158
    • Hu Yang*, Gerrit Lohmann*, Uta Krebs-Kanzow, Monica Ionita, Xiaoxu Shi, Dmitry Sidorenko, Xun Gong, Xueen Chen, Evan J. Gowan. (2020): Poleward shift of the major ocean gyres detected in a warming climate. Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL085868
    • Xiaoxu Shi*, Gerrit Lohmann, Dimitry Sidorenko, Hu Yang. (2020): Early-Holocene simulations using different forcing and resolutions in AWI-ESM. The Holocene, https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683620908634
    • Bárbara C. Franco*, Omar Defeo, Alberto R. Piola, Marcelo Barreiro, Hu Yang, Jorge P. Castello, Carolina Vera, Claudio Buratti, Marcelo Pájaro, Valeria Guinder, Vivian Lutz, Leonardo Ortega, Ignacio Gianelli, María Paz Chidichimo, Luciano P. Pezzi, Osmar O. Möller, Clarisse Odebrecht, Danilo Calliari, Celeste López Abbate, Douglas F. M. Gherardi. (2020): Climate change impacts on fisheries in the southwest South Atlantic Ocean: a review. Climatic Change, 162, 2359–2377.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-020-02783-6
    • Gerrit Lohmann*, Hu Yang. (2020). Große, windgetriebene Meeresströmungen verschieben sich polwärts: Klimaforschung. Physik in unserer Zeit 51 (3), 113-114. https://doi.org/10.1002/piuz.202070307
    • Chris M. Brierley, Anni Zhao, Sandy P Harrison, Pascale Braconnot, Charles J. R. Williams, David J. R. Thornalley, Xiaoxu Shi, Rumi Ohgaito, Darrell S. Kaufman, Masa Kageyama, Julia C. Hargreaves, Micheal P. Erb, Julien Emile-Geay, Roberta D'Agostino, Deepak Chandan, Matthieu Carré, Patrick Bartlein, Jean-Yves Peterschmitt, Weipeng Zheng, Zhongshi Zhang, Qiong Zhang, Hu Yang, Evgeny M. Volodin, Cody Routson, Bette Otto-Bliesner, Polina A. Morozova, Nicholas McKay, Gerrit Lohmann, Allegra N. Legrande, Chuncheng Guo, Jian Cao, Esther Brady, James D. Annan, Ayako Abe-Ouchi, W. Richard Peltier, and Robert A. Tomas. (2020): Large-scale features and evaluation of the PMIP4-CMIP6 mid-Holocene simulations. Clim. Past, 16, 1847–1872, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1847-2020
    • Hu Yang*, Gerrit Lohmann, Xiaoxu Shi, Chao Li. (2019): Enhanced Mid-Latitude Meridional Heat Imbalance Induced by the Ocean. Atmosphere, 10, 746. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120746
    • Dimitry Sidorenko, Helge Goessling, Nikolay Koldunov, Patrick Scholz, S. Danilov, Dirk Barbi, William CabosNarvaez, Ozgur Gurses, Sven Harig, Claudia Hinrichs, Stephan Juricke, Gerrit Lohmann, M. Losch, Longjiang Mu, Thomas Rackow, Natalja Rakowsky, Dimitry Sein, Tido Semmler, Xiaoxu Shi, Christian Stepanek, Jan Streffing, Qiang Wang, Claudia Wekerle, Hu Yang, Thomas Jung. (2019): Evaluation of FESOM2.0 Coupled to ECHAM6.3: Preindustrial and HighResMIP Simulations. Journal of Advances in Modelling Earth Systems. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019MS001696
    • Hu Yang, Gerrit Lohmann*, Wei Wei, Mihai Dima, Monica Ionita, Jiping Liu. (2016): Intensification and poleward shift of subtropical western boundary currents in a warming climate. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 121 (7), 4928-4945, 14. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JC011513​
    • Hu Yang*, Jiping Liu, Gerrit Lohmann, Xiaoxu Shi, Yongyun Hu, Xueen Chen. (2016): Ocean-atmosphere dynamics changes associated with prominent ocean surface turbulent heat fluxes trends during 1958–2013. Ocean Dynamics 66 (3), 353-365, 3. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-016-0925-3
    • Qinghua Yang, Svetlana N. Losa, Martin Losch, Jiping Liu, Zhanhai Zhang, Lars Nerger, and Hu Yang. (2013): Assimilating summer sea-ice concentration into a coupled ice–ocean model using a LSEIK filter. Annals of Glaciology 56 (69), 38-44, 4. https://doi.org/10.3189/2015AoG69A740​
    • Hu Yang*, Yuguang Liu, Xiaolin Zhang, Delei Li. (2013): The decomposition of earth rotation variation and its relationship with ENSO (In Chinese). Marine Environmental Science.

    Greenland Ice Sheet

    A simulation conducted using PSIM forced by AWI-ESM

    Greenland's Ice volume delayed climate change (Yang et al. 2022b).

    Past Sea Level Change

    A simulation conducted using PISM and VILMA

    Past evolution of sea level tell us that sea level is always changing, there is no reason that it stays at the current position forever.

  • News Reports

    Selected news reports for Hu's research

    CBC: The world's major climate zones — polar,

    temperate and tropical — are transforming

    as we watch

    The Washington Post: Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world

    Der Spiegel: Forscher berichten über Verschiebung riesiger


    Living on Earth: Major Ocean Currents Drifting Poleward

    Independent: Climate crisis could still be affecting size of Greenland ice sheet in thousands of years

    Der Standard: Warme Meeresströmungen lassen die Tropen


    AGU News: The Tropics are expanding, and climate change is the primary culprit

    AGU News:

    Major wind-driven ocean currents shifting toward the poles

    AGU News: Climate change causing oceanic boundary currents to intensify and shift poleward

    Polar Journal: Greenland's ice has a delayed response to climate change

    Scientific American: The Ocean’s Swirling Currents Are Migrating Poleward

    RIA: Ученые объяснили, почему тропические зоны Земли расширяются

    Der Spiegel: So stark trägt Grönland zum Anstieg der Meere bei

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