Xiaogang He

Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE)

Xiaogang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department working with Professor Eric Wood and Professor Justin Sheffield. His research interest focuses on the fundamental understanding of how climate change and climate variability affect the global flood and drought risk (FDR) and how we can improve the predictability of these extreme events to reduce their potential impact. Xiaogang has been developing a multi-scale physically motivated, information-theoretic framework to better quantify and diagnose changes in FDR in relation to climate variability and change, and anthropogenic influences such as water management (e.g., reservoir operations, irrigation, water withdraws). This framework can help to decouple the complex interaction mechanisms and identify key processes that drive the long-term changes in FDR across different spatial and temporal scales. In order to transfer science into action, Xiaogang is working on the development of an online operational Global Flood and Drought Monitor system with an objective of improving FDR management over the globe. This high-resolution (~25 km) system can provide information on historical, present and predicted/projected hydrological conditions at different time scales, which are important to many sectors, including water, agriculture and food security, energy production, infrastructure and ecosystem health. It also has ramifications for disaster preparedness and mitigation, policy making and political response to climate change.

Xiaogang is also advised by Professor Michael Oppenheimer from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs for his PEI-STEP project entitled "Incorporation of Human Dimensions into the Hydrological Model and Its Implications to Policy-Making for Drought Adaptation in California". This project aims to incorporate human behavior and decisions — which are currently unrepresented — into the current hydrological model to investigate how individuals can affect the feedbacks between human and natural systems. The model could help develop drought mitigation policies and adaptation planning, as well as improve water-management strategies.

Before coming to Princeton, Xiaogang received his M.E. in Civil Engineering from the University of Tokyo in 2013; B. Eng (Major) in Hydraulic Engineering, and BSc (Dual) in School of Economics and Management from Tsinghua University, China, in 2011.


Xiaogang He, Yoshihide Wada, Niko Wanders, and Justin Sheffield. Intensification of Hydrological Drought in California by Human Water Management. Geophysical Research Letters, 44(4):1777–1785, 2017.

Xiaogang He, Nathaniel W Chaney, Marc Schleiss, and Justin Sheffield. Spatial Downscaling of Precipitation Using Adaptable Random Forests. Water Resources Research, 52(10):8217–8237, 2016.

Xiaogang He, Yang Hong, Humberto Vergara, Ke Zhang, Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter, Jonathan J Gourley, Yu Zhang, Gang Qiao, and Chun Liu. Development of a Coupled Hydrological-geotechnical Framework for Rainfall-induced Landslides Prediction. Journal of Hydrology, 2016.

Xiaogang He, Hyungjun Kim, Pierre-Emmanuel Kirstetter, Kei Yoshimura, Eun-Chul Chang, Craig R Ferguson, Jessica M Erlingis, Yang Hong, and Taikan Oki. The Diurnal Cycle of Precipitation in Regional Spectral Model Simulations Over West Africa: Sensitivities to Resolution and Cumulus Schemes. Weather and Forecasting, 30(2):424–445, 2015.

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