Member Since 2007
Zhisheng An
IEE Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences
An Zhisheng is recognized for his exceptional contributions to understanding the global significance of Chinese loess, monsoon control theory, monsoon dynamics, and global climate changes and providing key international leadership. His step from classical Quaternary geology to monsoon dynamics was a prescient moment in Earth System Science in Asia. An has published more than 400 scientific papers, including 30 in Science, Nature and associated series, PNAS, and he has co-authored several books.
Professional Experience
Institute of Geology and Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2023 - Present
IEE Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences
IEE Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Nanjing University
Organization Not Listed
Honors & Awards
Roger Revelle Medal
Received December 2023
Zhisheng An’s research has encompassed a broad scope, in terms of Quaternary geology, atmospheric science, climate dynamics and global environmental changes, by combining the past and present, observation and numerical simulation, as well as natural processes and human activities. In particular, he is recognized for his exceptional and comprehensive scientific contributions to the global significance of Chinese loess, Asian monsoon dynamics and global climate change. He has successfully connected the geological past and present climate dynamics by pioneering works on the monsoon control theory and multiscale global monsoon dynamics.

His findings have led Asian Quaternary research into a new stage characterized by climatic dynamics and Earth system science. His research demonstrated that the unique Chinese loess is a critical record of global changes. He and his colleagues first discovered that the Chinese loess-paleosol sequence can be well correlated with the glacial cycles inferred from the marine stable oxygen isotope record over the last 160,000 years and 2.4 million years. He pioneered the use of loess magnetic susceptibility, grain size and dust flux as proxies for summer and winter monsoons and westerlies, respectively, and reconstructed the Asian monsoon and westerly histories at various timescales on the basis of atmospheric circulations tracked by airborne soil dust. Furthermore, his work demonstrated that iron contained in soil dust is transported from land through the atmosphere to the oceans, affecting ocean biogeochemistry and hence affecting global climate and dust production. His group suggested that wildfire can be another main contributor of soluble iron to the ocean biogeochemistry process, possibly rivaling that from mineral dust.

The monsoon control theory is widely considered Dr. An's most significant scientific accomplishment. His work marked the beginning of East Asian paleomonsoon studies. He established monsoon control theory based on his findings that East Asian environmental changes since the late Cenozoic have been largely regulated by monsoon changes. Dr. An was among the first to propose the multiscale global monsoon dynamics by integrating observation and modeling to highlight the influence of land-air-sea interaction and modern human activities. He demonstrated that on the tectonic timescale, the Asian monsoon evolution was influenced by both regional tectonics and global climate events.

Dr. An has served on multiple international academic organizations throughout his career. He was elected a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (1991), an AGU Fellow (2013) and a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2016).

— Robert A. Duce
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas

— Renyi Zhang
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
This is a great honor, and I am humbled to receive an award with so many distinguished previous recipients. I sincerely appreciate the recognition of my work by my nominators and the selection committee. This recognition also serves as an affirmation of the contributions of Chinese geoscientists in our quest to understand Earth's complex systems.I would like to thank Professors Robert Duce and Renyi Zhang of Texas A&M University for their high appraisal of my work. I am grateful for their unwavering support and for nominating me for the Roger Revelle Medal. Special thanks to Professors Larry Edwards, André Berger and Lonnie Thompson, who have been constant pillars of support over the years.My achievements are closely related to my colleagues at the Institute of Earth Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. My work is inseparable from my family, especially my wife, Tai Yihe, who has made great efforts to support my scientific research.As pointed out by Professors Robert Duce and Renyi Zhang, my efforts in exploring the global significance of Chinese loess (airborne soil dust), monsoon control theory, multiscale global monsoon dynamics and dust biogeochemistry have been widely recognized. These research achievements are also the result of long-standing collaborations with many American scientists. I look forward to the continued partnership between China and the United States in our common mission to make further progress in addressing global climate change.To meet the challenges ahead, I believe that our generation and the emerging young scientists should work within the framework of a globally interconnected, multiscale and multifaceted Earth system, combining the past and present, regional and global, and natural processes and human activities. By integrating observations and numerical simulations, we could then unravel the patterns and dynamics of climate change, obtain the true portrait of the climate system to better predict future trajectories, and contribute to a sustainable human society by formulating adaptation strategies to global climate change.An Zhisheng, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesShaanxi, China
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Union Fellow
Received December 2013
For exceptional contributions in understanding Asian monsoon dynamics and global climate change.
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High‐Resolution Intrashell Oxygen Isotope Studies of Cathaica fasciola and Bradybaena ravida Land Sn...

Intrashell oxygen isotope (δ18Os) analyses of terrestrial snails have been carried out over two decades. However, the intraspecies/interspecie...

March 13, 2024
AGU Abstracts
Biogeomorphological Responses to Damming-induced Changes in Flow and Sediment Regimes in Big River Systems
earth and planetary surface processes | 14 december 2023
Yong Hu, Dongfeng Li, Junxiong Zhou, Chunrui Yang,...
Climate change and human activities exert significant influences on flow and sediment regimes, triggering biogeomorphological responses in fluvial sys...
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Distinct Responses of Subtropical Westerly Jet over Asia in Last Glacial Maximum Versus Present Day: Role of the Tibetan Plateau
paleoceanography and paleoclimatology | 13 december 2019
Jing Lei, Zhengguo Shi, Xiaoning Xie, Yingying Sha...
The Northern Hemisphere subtropical westerly jet (SWJ) is an important component of atmospheric circulation, which is characterized by prominent seaso...
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Asian Tectonics, the Fe Hypothesis for the North Pacific, and Late Cenozoic Cooling
global environmental change | 13 december 2019
Carmala N. Garzione, Thomas S. Weber, Jonathan M. ...
Atmospheric dust delivery to Fe-limited portions of the ocean, such as the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific, has been proposed to affect climate b...
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Volunteer Experience
2015 - 2015
Centennial Task Force
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