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ZENG Zhenzhong
Associate Professor

Dr. Zhenzhong Zeng currently holds the position of Associate Professor in School of Environmental Science & Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology. He got his Ph.D. degree at Peking University. His research focuses on global change and the Earth system, in particular biosphere-atmosphere interactions and global environment change. He has long worked on understanding and modelling the role of vegetation in the terrestrial water cycle and the global climate system, determining the response of the biosphere to human impacts, and quantifying how the biosphere response feeds back to the water cycle and climate system. Currently his research interests focus on observations, drivers, impacts, and solutions of agricultural expansion and forest loss in tropical regions. Other interests include water resources, climate mitigation, and engineering application.


Current Position
Associate Professor, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology


Ph.D. in Physical Geography, Peking University, 2011-2016 (Supervisor: Dr. Shilong Piao)
B.S. in Geography Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, 2007-2011


Working Experience
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University, 2016-2019 (Mentor: Dr. Eric F. Wood)


Awards and Honors
2018 “2017 China Agriculture Top Ten Science and Technology Progress” - Impacts of climate warming on global crop yields and feedbacks of vegetation growth change on global climate, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
2016 Outstanding Graduate of Peking University
2013 – 2016 Presidential (Peking University) Scholarship; 2014 – 2015 Peking University PhD Projects Award; 2013 – 2014 Peking University "Innovation Award"; 2013 – 2014 National Scholarship; 2012 – 2013 Guanghua Scholarship; 2011 – 2012 National Scholarship; 2011 – 2012 Founder Scholarship
2011 Outstanding Graduate of Sun Yat-Sen University
2009 National Undergraduate Mathematical Contest in Modeling (Provincial Award); 2009 – 2010 National Scholarship; 2008 – 2009 National Scholarship; 2007 – 2008 Guanghua Scholarship


Global change and the Earth system
Biosphere-atmosphere interactions
Terrestrial hydrology
Water and agriculture resources
Climate change and its impacts, with a focus on China and the tropics


Published Works

1. Zeng, Z.*, Ziegler, A. D., Searchinger, T., Yang, L., Chen, A., Ju, K., Piao, S., Li, L., Ciais, P., Chen, D., Liu, J., Azorin-Molina, C., Chappell, A., Medvigy, D. & Wood, E. F. A reversal in global terrestrial stilling and its implications for wind energy production. Nature Climate Change. 2019 (accepted).
2. Cai, X., Riley, W., Zhu, Q., Tang, J., Zeng, Z., Bisht, G. & Randerson, J. Improving representation of deforestation effects on evapotranspiration in the E3SM land model. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. 2019.
3. Lian, X., Piao, S., Li, L., Li, Y., Huntingford, C., Ciais, P., Cescatti, A., Janssens, A., Penuelas, J., Buermann, W., Chen, A., Li, X., Myneni, R., Wang, X., Wang, Y., Yang, Y., Zeng, Z., Zhang, Y. & McVicar T. Summer soil drying exacerbated by earlier spring greening of northern vegetation. Science Advance. 2019.
4. Peng, L., Zeng, Z., Wei, Z., Chen, A., Wood, E. F. & Sheffield, J. Determinants for the ratio of actual to potential evapotranspiration, Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14577, 2019.
5. Zeng, Z.*, Estes, L., Ziegler, A. D., Chen, A., Searchinger, T., Hua, F., Guan, K., Jintrawet, A. & Wood, E. F. Highland cropland expansion and forest loss in Southeast Asia in the twenty-first century. Nature Geoscience. doi: 10.1038/s41561-018-0166-9,2018 (*, corresponding author).
6. Zeng, Z.*, Gower, B. & Wood, E. F. Accelerating forest loss in Southeast Asian Massif in the 21st century: a case study in Nan Province, Thailand. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14366, 2018 (*, corresponding author).
7. Li, Y., Zeng, Z.*, Huang, L., Lian, X. & Piao, S. Comment on “Satellites reveal contrasting responses of regional climate to the widespread greening of Earth”. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.aap7950, 2018 (* corresponding author).
8. Zeng, Z.#, Peng, L.#, & Piao, S. Response of terrestrial evapotranspiration to Earth’s greening. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. doi: 10.1016/j.cosust.2018.03.001, 2018 (# same contribution).
9. Zeng, Z., Piao, S., Li, L., Wang, T., Ciais, P., Lian, X., Yang, Y., Mao, J., Shi, X. & Myneni, R. Impact of Earth greening on the terrestrial water cycle. Journal of Climate. doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0236.1, 2018.
10. Zeng, Z., Piao, S., Li, L., Ciais, P., Li, Y., Cai, X., Yang, L., Liu, M. & Wood, E. F. Global terrestrial stilling: does Earth’s greening play a role?. Environmental Research Letters. doi: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaea84, 2018.
11. Lian, X., Piao, S., Huntingford, C., Li, Y., Zeng, Z., Wang, X., Ciais, P., McVicar, T., Peng, S., Ottle, C., Yang, H., Yang, Y., Zhang, Y. & Wang, T. Partitioning global land evapotranspiration using CMIP5 models constrained by field observations. Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/s41558-018-0207-9, 2018.
12. Li, X., He, Y., Zeng, Z., Lian, X., Yao, Y., Wang, X., Ciais, P., …, Zhou, G. & Piao, S. Spatiotemporal pattern of terrestrial evapotranspiration in China during the past thirty years. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2018.04.020, 2018.
13. Li, Y., Piao, S., Li, L., Huang, L., Ciais, P., He, Y., Li, X., Lian, X., Peng, S., Zeng, Z., Wang, K., Wang, X. & Zhou, L. Divergent hydrological response to large scale afforestation and vegetation greening in China. Science Advance. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aar4182, 2018.
14. Guan, K., Li, Z., Rao, N., Gao, F., Xie, D., Hien, N. & Zeng, Z. Using MODIS-Landsat fused data and ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 to map paddy rice and estimate crop yields for Thai Binh Province in Viet Nam. Remote Sensing of Environment. doi: 10.1109/JSTARS.2018.2834383, 2018.
15. Zeng, Z., Piao, S., Li, L., Zhou, L., Ciais, P., Wang, T., Li, Y., Lian, X., Wood, E. F., Friedlingstein, P., Mao, J., Estes, L., Myneni, R., Peng, S., Shi, X., Seneviratne, S. & Wang, Y. Climate mitigation from vegetation biophysical feedbacks during the past three decades, Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/nclimate3299, 2017.
16. Yang, H., Piao, S., Zhou, F., Huang, M., Ciais, P., Peng., S. & Zeng, Z. Regional patterns of future runoff changes from Earth system models constrained by observation. Geophysical Research Letters. doi: 10.1002/2017GL073454, 2017.
17. Lian, X., Zeng, Z., Yao, Y., Peng, S., Wang, K. & Piao, S. Spatiotemporal variations in the difference between satellite-observed daily maximum land surface temperature and station-based daily maximum near-surface air temperature. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. doi: 10.1002/2016JD025366, 2017.
18. Zeng., Z., Zhu, Z., Lian, X., Li, L., Chen, A., He, X. & Piao, S. Responses of land evapotranspiration to Earth’s greening in CMIP5 Earth System Models, Environmental Research Letter. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/10/104006, 2016.
19. Feng, X., Fu, B., Piao, S., Wang, S., Ciais, P., Zeng, Z., Lu, Y., Zeng, Y., Li, Y., Jiang, X. & Wu, B. Revegetation in China’s Loess Plateau is approaching sustainable water resource limits. Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3092, 2016.
20. Li, B., Gasser, T., Ciais, P., Zhou, F., Balkanski, Y., Boisier, J., Hauglustaine, D., Li, L., Li, Y., Liu, H., Liu, J., Peng, S., Piao, S., Shen, Z., Sun, Z., Wang, R, Wang, T., Yin, G., Yin, Y., Zeng, Z. & Tao S. The contribution of China's emissions to global climate forcing. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature17165, 2016.
21. Yue, L., Wang, T., Zeng, Z., Peng, P., Lian, X. & Piao, S. Evaluating biases in simulated land surface albedo from CMIP5 earth system models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. doi: 10.1002/2016JD024774, 2016.
22. Zhu, Z., Piao, S., Myneni, R., Huang, M., Zeng, Z., Canadell, J., Ciais, P., …, Zaehle, S. & Zeng, N. Greening of the Earth and its drivers. Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/nclimate3004, 2016.
23. Zhang, Y., Zhu, Z., Liu, Z., Zeng, Z., Ciais, P., Huang, M, Liu, Y & Piao, S., Seasonal and interannual changes in photosynthetic activity of tropical forests in Southeast Asia. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2016.04.009, 2016.
24. Fu, Y., Piao, S., Ciais, P., Huang, M., Menzel, A., Peaucelle, M., Peng, S., Song, Y., Vitasse, Y., Zeng, Z., Zhao, H., Zhou, G., Penuelas, J. & Jassens, I. Long-term linear trends mask phenological shifts. International Journal of Biometeorology. doi: 10.1007/s00484-016-1253-5, 2016.
25. Zhao, C., Piao, S., Wang, X., Huang, Y., Ciais, P., Elliott, J., Huang, M., Janssens, I., Li, T., Lian, X., Liu, Y., Müller, C., Peng, S., Wang, T., Zeng, Z. & Peñuelas, J, Plausible rice yield losses under future climate warming. Nature Plants. doi: 10.1038/nplants.2016.202, 2016.
26. Yao, Y., Wang, X., Zeng, Z., Liu, Y., Peng S., Zhu, Z. & Piao, S. The effect of afforestation on soil moisture content in Northeastern China. PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160776, 2016.
27. Sun, Y., Piao, S., Huang, M., Ciais, P., Zeng, Z., Cheng, L., Li, X., Zhang, X., Mao, J., Peng S., Poulter, B., Shi, X., Wang, Y. & Zeng, H. Global patterns and climate drivers of terrestrial ecosystem water-use efficiency deduced from satellite-based datasets and carbon cycle models. Global Ecology and Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/geb.12411, 2016.
28. Zhao, C., Piao, S., Huang, Y., Wang, X., Ciais, P., Huang, M., Zeng, Z. & Peng, S. Field warming experiments shed light on the wheat yield response to temperature in China. Nature Commutations. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13530, 2016.
29. Zeng, Z., Chen, A., Ciais, P., Li, Y., Li, L., Vautard, R., Yang, H., Zhou, L. & Piao, S. Regional air pollution brightening reverses the greenhouse gases induced warming-elevation relationship. Geophysical Research Letters. doi: 10.1002/2015GL064410, 2015.
30. Li, Y., Zeng, Z., Zhao, L. & Piao, S. Spatial patterns of climatological temperature lapse rate in mainland China. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. doi: 10.1002/2014JD022978, 2015.
31. Fu, Y., Zhao, H., Piao, S., Peaucelle, M., Peng, S., Zhou, G., Ciais, P., Huang, M., Menzel, A., Penuelas, J., Song, Y., Vitasse, Y., Zeng, Z. & Jassens, I. Declining global warming effects on the phenology of spring leaf unfolding. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature15402, 2015.
32. Yang, H., Piao, S., Zeng, Z., Ciais, P., Yin, Y., Friedlingstein, P., Sitch, S., Anders, A., Guimberteau M., Huntingford, C., Levis, S., Levy, P., Li, Y., Lomas, M., Peylin, P., Poulter, B., Viovy, N., Zaehle, S., Zeng, N. & Zhao, Fang. Multi-criteria evaluation of discharge simulation in Dynamic Global Vegetation Models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. doi: 10.1002/2015JD023129, 2015.
33. Yin, G., Zhang, Y., Sun, Y., Wang, T., Zeng, Z. & Piao, S. MODIS based estimation of forest above ground biomass in China. PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130143, 2015.
34. Zhou, F., Shang, Z., Zeng, Z., Piao, S., Ciais, P., Raymond, P., Wang, X., Wang, R., Chen, M., Yang, C., Tao, S., Zhao, Y., Meng, Q., Gao, S. & Mao Q. New model for capturing the variations of fertilizer-induced emission factors of N2O. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. doi: 10.1002/2014GB005046, 2015.
35. Shen, M., Piao, S., Jeong, S., Zhou, L., Zeng, Z., Ciais, P., Chen, D., Jin, C., Li, L., Myneni, R., Yang, K., Zhang, G., Zhang, Y. & Yao, T. Evaporative cooling over the Tibetan Plateau induced by vegetation growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1504418112, 2015.
36. Huang, M., Piao, S., Zeng, Z., Peng, S., Ciais, P., Cheng, L., Mao, J., Poulter, B., Shi, X., Yang, H. & Wang, Y. Seasonal responses of terrestrial ecosystem water-use efficiency to climate change. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13180, 2015.
37. Huang, M., Piao, S., Sun, Y., Ciais, P., Cheng, L., Mao, J., Poulter, B., Shi, X., Zeng, Z. & Wang, Y. Change in terrestrial ecosystem water use efficiency over the last three decades. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12873, 2015.
38. Mao, J., Fu, W., Shi, X., …, Zeng, Z., Zhao, F., Zhu, Q. & Zhu, Z. Disentangling climatic and anthropogenic controls on global terrestrial evapotranspiration trends. Environmental Research Letters. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/9/094008, 2015.
39. 37. Liu, Q., Fu, Y., Zeng, Z., Huang, M., Li, X. & Piao, S. Temperature, precipitation, and insolation effects on autumn vegetation phenology in temperate China. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13081, 2015.
40. 37. Zhao, H., Fu, Y., Wang, X., Zhao, C., Zeng, Z., Piao, S. Timing of rice maturity in China is affected more by transplanting date than by climate change. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2015.11.001, 2015.
41. Piao, S., Tan, J., Chen, A., Fu, Y., Ciais, P., Liu, Q., Janssens, I., Vicca, S., Zeng, Z., Jeong, S., Li, Y., Myneni, R., Peng, S., Shen, M. & Penuelas, J. Leaf onset in the northern hemisphere triggered by daytime temperature. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7911, 2015.
42. Piao, S., Yin, G., Tan, J., Cheng, L., Huang, M., Li, Y., Liu, R., Mao, J., Myneni, R., Peng, S., Poulter, B., Shi, X., Xiao, Z., Zeng, N., Zeng, Z. & Wang, Y. Detection and attribution of vegetation greening trend in China over the last 30 years. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12795, 2015.
43. Zeng, Z., Chen, A., Piao, S., Rabin, S. & Shen, Z. Environmental determinants of tropical forest and savanna distribution: a quantitative model evaluation and its implication. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. doi: 10.1002/2014JG002627, 2014.
44. Zeng, Z., Wang, T., Zhou, F., Ciais, P., Mao, J., Shi, X. & Piao, S. A worldwide analysis of spatiotemporal changes in water balance based evapotranspiration from 1982 to 2009. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. doi: 10.1002/2013JD020941, 2014.
45. Peng, S., Piao, S., Zeng, Z., Ciais, P., Zhou, L., Li, L.Z.X., Myneni, R.B., Yin, Y. & Zeng, H. Afforestation in China cools local land surface temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1315126111, 2014.
46. Piao, S., Nan, H., Huntingford, C., Ciais, P., Friedlingstein, P., Sitch, S., Peng, S., Ahlström, A., Canadell, J., Cong, N., Levis, S., Levy, P., Liu, L., Lomas, M., Mao, J., Myneni, R., Peylin, P., Poulter, B., Shi, X., Yin, G., Viovy, N., Wang, T., Wang, X., Zaehle, S., Zeng, N., Zeng, Z. & Chen, A. Evidence for a weakening relationship between interannual temperature variability and northern vegetation activity. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6018, 2014.
47. Tan, J., Piao, S., Chen, A., Zeng, Z., Ciais, P., Janssens, I., Mao, J., Myneni, R., Peng, S., Peñuelas, J., Shi, X. & Vicca, S. Seasonally different response of photosynthetic activity to daytime and night-time warming in the Northern Hemisphere. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12724, 2014.
48. Zhou, F., Shang, Z., Ciais, P., Tao, S., Piao, S., Raymond, P., He, C., Li, B., Wang, R., Wang, X., Peng, S., Zeng, Z., Chen, H., Ying, N., Hou, X. & Xu, P. A new high-resolution N2O emission inventory for China in 2008. Environmental Science & Technology. doi: 10.1021/es5018027, 2014.
49. Zeng, Z., Piao, S., Chen, A., Lin, X., Nan, H., Li, J. & Ciais, P. Committed changes in tropical tree cover under the projected 21st century climate change. Scientific Report. doi: 10.1038/srep01951, 2013.
50. Zeng, Z., Piao, S., Lin, X., Yin, G., Peng, S., Ciais, P. & Myneni, R. Global evapotranspiration over the past three decades: estimation based on the water balance equation combined with empirical models. Environmental Research Letters. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/014026, 2012.