About Wei

Dr. Wei Gao is a Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Senior Research Scientist and Director, the USDA UV-B Monitoring and Research Program, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University. A major focus of his research includes research on impacts of solar UV radiation and other environmental stress factors on crops/plants, atmospheric/vegetation canopy radiation transfer modeling, and regional climate/ecosystem modeling. Dr. Gao has published more than 200 scientific papers and edited 21 books, proceedings, and journal issues.

Website CV


  • Dr. Gao’s research includes the radiative transfer of solar UV in the atmosphere and vegetation canopy, the impacts of UV radiation and other environmental stress factors on plants, regional climate/ecosystem modeling, and remote sensing applications in ecosystems.
  • Dr. Gao directs a climatologic network, which provides an adequate density of measurement sites to establish the spatial and temporal characteristics of UV-B irradiance. This network provides information to the agricultural community and others about the geographical distribution of UV-B irradiance and furnishes the basic information necessary to support evaluations of the damaging effects of UV-B to crops, rangelands, and forests.
  • With collaborators from Mississippi State and Colorado State Universities, Dr. Gao studies the isolated effects of UV-B radiation and combined effects of UV-B radiation with other climate stress factors such as moisture, temperature, soil nutrients, and CO2 on the growth and development of crops, rangelands, and trees. Data derived from these studies are quantified as modules for incorporation into climate-crop model systems.
  • Dr. Gao is involved in developing the Climate-Agroecosystem-UV Interactions and Economic (CAIE) system with collaborators from the University of Maryland and Colorado State University. This system will couple an advanced regional climate model with models of crops, ecosystems, and economics, integrating the UV irradiation data from his monitoring network, the results of the UV effects studies and satellite observations. This system will allow studies on how climate and crop production interact.


Ph.D., Applied Meteorology - Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN, 1997

M.S, Micrometeorology and Modeling - Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS, 1992

B.A., English - Anhui Normal University
Wuhu, China, 1987

B.S., Applied Meteorology - Nanjing Institute of Meteorology
Nanjing, China, 1982

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • WCNR Outstanding Publication Award, Colorado State University, 2018
  • NREL Most Publications Award, Colorado State University , 2010, 2009
  • Lifetime Distinguished International Service Award, Colorado State University, 2009
  • Fellow, International Optical Engineering Society (SPIE), San Diego, 2005
  • Excellent Dedication and Service, SPIE- the International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2002


  • International Optical Engineering Society
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Meteorological Society

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