Prof. Dr. Jian Peng

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Head of Department of Remote Sensing (RS)
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig

Tel.:   ++49 341 235 482335          

University of Leipzig
Full professor for Hydrology and Remote Sensing

Prof. Jian Peng, Head of the Department of Remote Sensing. Photo: Sebastian Wiedling/UFZ

Career details

2020-present Head of Remote Sensing Department
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
2020-present W3 Professor for Hydrology and Remote Sensing
Leipzig University
2020-present Editor-in-Chief
Geoscience Data Journal
Royal Meteorological Society
2018-2020 Senior researcher
University of Oxford
2018-2020 Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
University of Oxford
2015-2017 Research scientist
University of Munich
2013-2015 Post-Doc
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
2010-2013 PhD in Earth science
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

Research interests

  • Hydrology and the atmospheric environment
  • Satellite remote sensing
  • Process-based modeling and data-driven methods
  • Climate extremes and climate variability

Impact and outreach

“2019 Remote sensing Young Investigator Award, MDPI”

“In the spotlight – promising future leaders in climate science”
World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)

“Seeing Soil Moisture from the Sky”
EOS BUZZ news & EOS Editors’ Vox

“Research Collaboration Results In Publication Of High-Resolution Dataset For Drought Monitoring”
NASA Harvest

Selected Publications


Gruber, A. and Peng, J.: Remote sensing of soil moisture, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Elsevier,, 2022.

Li, P., Huang, Q., Huang, S., Leng, G., Peng, J., Wang, H., Zheng, X., Li, Y. & Fang, W.: Various maize yield losses and their dynamics triggered by drought thresholds based on Copula-Bayesian conditional probabilities. Agricultural Water Management, 261, 107391, 2022.

Pyarali, K., Peng, J., Disse, M., & Tuo, Y.: Development and application of high resolution SPEI drought dataset for Central Asia. Scientific Data, 9, 172, 2022.

Li, S., Wang, G., Zhu, C., Lu, J., Ullah, W., Hagan, D.F.T., Kattel, G. and Peng, J.: Attribution of global evapotranspiration trends based on the Budyko framework. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 26(13), 3691-3707, 2022.

Li, Y., Huang, S., Wang, H., Zheng, X., Huang, Q., Deng, M. and Peng, J.: High-resolution propagation time from meteorological to agricultural drought at multiple levels and spatiotemporal scales. Agricultural Water Management, 262, 107428, 2022.

Fan, L., Al-Yaari, A., Frappart, F., Peng, J., Wen, J., Xiao, Q., Jin, R., Li, X., Liu, X., Wang, M., Chen, X., Zhao, L., Ma, M., Wigneron, J.-P.: Estimating High-Resolution Soil Moisture Over Mountainous Regions Using Remotely-Sensed Multispectral and Topographic Data. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 15, 3637 - 3649, 2022.


Peng, J., Albergel, C., Balenzano, A., Brocca, L., Cartus, O., Cosh, M.H., Crow, W.T., Dabrowska-Zielinska, K., Dadson, S., Davidson, M.W.J., de Rosnay, P., Dorigo, W., Gruber, A., Hagemann, S., Hirschi, M., Kerr, Y.H., Lovergine, F., Mahecha, M.D., Marzahn, P., Mattia, F., Musial, J.P., Preuschmann, S., Reichle, R.H., Satalino, G., Silgram, M., van Bodegom, P.M., Verhoest, N.E.C., Wagner, W., Walker, J.P., Wegmüller, U. and Loew, A.: A roadmap for high-resolution satellite soil moisture applications – confronting product characteristics with user requirements, Remote Sensing of Environment, 112162,, 2021.

Peng, J., Tanguy, M., Robinson, E.L., Pinnington, E., Evans, J., Ellis, R., Cooper, E., Hannaford, J., Blyth, E., & Dadson, S.: Estimation and evaluation of high-resolution soil moisture from merged model and Earth observation data in the Great Britain. Remote Sensing of Environment, 264, 112610,, 2021.

Balenzano, A., Mattia, F., Satalino, G., Lovergine, F.P., Palmisano, D., Peng, J., Marzahn, P., Wegmüller, U., Cartus, O., Dąbrowska-Zielińska, K., Musial, J.P., Davidson, M.W.J., Pauwels, V.R.N., Cosh, M.H., McNairn, H., Johnson, J.T., Walker, J.P., Yueh, S.H., Entekhabi, D., Kerr, Y.H., & Jackson, T.J.: Sentinel-1 soil moisture at 1 km resolution: a validation study. Remote Sensing of Environment, 263, 112554, 2021.

Xing, Z., Fan, L., Zhao, L., De Lannoy, G., Frappart, F., Peng, J., Li, X., Zeng, J., Al-Yaari, A., Yang, K., Zhao, T., Shi, J., Wang, M., Liu, X., Hu, G., Xiao, Y., Du, E., Li, R., Qiao, Y., Shi, J., Wen, J., Ma, M., & Wigneron, J.-P.: A first assessment of satellite and reanalysis estimates of surface and root-zone soil moisture over the permafrost region of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Remote Sensing of Environment, 265, 112666,, 2021.

Pinnington, E., Amezcua, J., Cooper, E., Dadson, S., Ellis, R., Peng, J., Robinson, E., Morrison, R., Osborne, S., and Quaife, T.: Improving soil moisture prediction of a high-resolution land surface model by parameterising pedotransfer functions through assimilation of SMAP satellite data, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 25, 1617–1641,, 2021.

Huang, J., Zhang, Y., Bing, H., Peng, J., Dong, F., Gao, J., & Arhonditsis, G.B.: Characterizing the River Water Quality in China: Recent Progress and On-Going Challenges. Water Research, 201, 117309, 2021.

Su, Z., Ma, Y., Chen, X., Dong, X., Du, J., Han, C., He, Y., Hofste, J.G., Li, M., Li, M., Lv, S., Ma, W., Polo, M.J., Peng, J., Qian, H., Sobrino, J., van der Velde, R., Wen, J., Wang, B., Wang, X., Yu, L., Zhang, P., Zhao, H., Zheng, H., Zheng, D., Zhong, L., & Zeng, Y.: Monitoring Water and Energy Cycles at Climate Scale in the Third Pole Environment (CLIMATE-TPE). Remote Sensing, 13, 3661, 2021.

Wang, Y., Leng, P., Ma, J., & Peng, J.: A Method for Downscaling Satellite Soil Moisture Based on Land Surface Temperature and Net Surface Shortwave Radiation. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, doi: 10.1109/LGRS.2021.3062453, 2021.

Ling, X., Huang, Y., Guo, W., Wang, Y., Chen, C., Qiu, B., Ge, J., Qin, K., Xue, Y., & Peng, J.: Comprehensive evaluation of satellite-based and reanalysis soil moisture products using in situ observations over China. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 25, 4209-4229, 2021.

Lu, J., Wang, G., Chen, T., Li, S., Hagan, D. F. T., Kattel, G., Peng, J., Jiang, T., and Su, B.: A harmonized global land evaporation dataset from model-based products covering 1980–2017, Earth System Science Data, 13, 5879–5898, 2021.

Chen, J., Xing, M., Yu, H., Liang, B., Peng, J., & Sun, G.C.: Motion Compensation/Autofocus in Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar: A Review. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine, 2-23,, 2021.

Yu, L., Leng, G., Python, A., & Peng, J.: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Latest GPM IMERG V06 Early, Late and Final Precipitation Products across China. Remote Sensing, 13, 1208., 2021.

Crowhurst, D., Dadson, S., Peng, J., & Washington, R.: Contrasting controls on Congo Basin evaporation at the two rainfall peaks. Climate Dynamics, 56, 1609–1624,, 2021.

Wang, Y., Leng, P., Peng, J., Marzahn, P., & Ludwig, R.: Global assessments of two blended microwave soil moisture products CCI and SMOPS with in-situ measurements and reanalysis data. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 94, 102234,, 2021.


Huang, J., Chen, Q., Peng, J., and Gao, J.: Quantifying the cost-effectiveness of nutrient- removal strategies for a lowland rural watershed: Insights from process-based modeling. Ecological Modelling, 431, 109123,, 2020.

Zhang, X., Qu, Y., Ma, M., Liu, H., Su, Z., Lv, J., Peng, J., Leng, G., He, X. and Di, C.: Satellite-Based Operational Real-Time Drought Monitoring in the Transboundary Lancang–Mekong River Basin. Remote Sensing, 12(3), p.376, 2020.

Gruber, A., Rolf, R., Albergel, C., Brocca, L., Cosh, M., Crow, C., Dorigo, W., Draper, C., Hirschi, M., Peng, J., Jackson, T., Kerr, Y., Montzka, C., Munoz, J., Nicolai, N., Rudiger, R., Scanion, T., Wagner, W.: Validation practices for satellite soil moisture products - What are (the) errors? Remote Sensing of Environment, 244, 111806., 2020.

Sabaghy, S., Walker, J. P., Renzullo, L. J., Akbar, R., Chan, S., Chaubell, J., Das, N., Dunbar, R. S., Entekhabi, D., Gevaert, A., Jackson, T. J., Loew, A., Merlin, O., Moghaddam, M., Peng, J., Peng, J., Piepmeier, J., Rüdiger, C., Stefan, V., Wu, X., Ye, N., and Yueh, S.: Comprehensive analysis of alternative downscaled soil moisture products, Remote Sensing of Environment, 239, 111586,, 2020.

Peng, J., Dadson, S., Hirpa, Feyera., Dyer, E., Lees, T., Funk, C., Miralles, D., Vicente- Serrano, S.: A pan-African high resolution drought index dataset. Earth System Science Data, 12, 753–769, 2020.

Huang, J., Zhang, Y., Arhonditsis, G.B., Gao, J., Chen, Q., & Peng, J.: The magnitude and drivers of harmful algal blooms in China's lakes and reservoirs: A national-scale characterization. Water Research, 181, 115902,, 2020.

Peng, J., Kharbouche, S., Muller J-P., Danne O., Blessing S., Giering R., Gobron N., Ludwig R., Muller B., Leng G., Lees T., Dadson S.: Influences of leaf area index and albedo on estimating energy fluxes with HOLAPS framework. Journal of Hydrology, 580, 124245, 2020.


Hirpa, F., Alfieri L., Lees, T., Peng, J., Dyer, E., Dadson S.: Streamflow response to climate change in the Greater Horn of Africa. Climatic Change 156(3), 341-363, 2019.

Peng, J., Muller, J-P., Blessing, S., Giering, R., Danne, O., Gobron, N., Kharbouche, S., Ludwig, R., Muller, B., Leng, G., You, Q., Duan, Z., Dadson, S.: Can We Use Satellite- Based FAPAR to Detect Drought?. Sensors, 19(17), 3662, 2019.

Dadson, S. J., Lopez, H. P., Peng, J. and Vora, S.: Hydroclimatic Extremes and Climate Change. In Water Science, Policy, and Management (eds S. J. Dadson, D. E. Garrick, E. C. Penning‐Rowsell, J. W. Hall, R. Hope and J. Hughes). doi:10.1002/9781119520627.ch2, 2019.

Zhou, Q., Su, J., Leng, G., Peng J.: The Role of Hazard and Vulnerability in Modulating Economic Damages of Inland Floods in the United States Using a Survey-Based Dataset. Sustainability, 11(13), 3754, 2019.

Leng, G., Peng, J., Huang, S.: Recent changes in county-level maize production in the United States: Spatial-temporal patterns, climatic drivers and the implications for crop modelling. Science of The Total Environment, 686, 819-827, 2019.

Wei, Z., Meng, Y., Zhang, W., Peng J., Meng L.: Downscaling SMAP soil moisture estimation with gradient boosting decision tree regression over the Tibetan Plateau, Remote Sensing of Environment, 225:30-34, 2019.

Peng, J., Dadson, S., Leng, G., Duan Z., Jagdhuber , T., Guo W., Ludwig R.: The impact of the Madden-Julian Oscillation on hydrological extremes, Journal of Hydrology, 571:142-149, 2019.

Zhang, X., Su, Z.; Lv, J., Liu, W., Ma, M., Peng, J., Leng, G.: A Set of Satellite-Based Near Real-Time Meteorological Drought Monitoring Data over China, Remote Sensing, 11, 453, 2019.


Wang, Y., Peng, J., Song, X., Leng, P., Ludwig R., Loew, A.: Surface soil moisture retrieval using optical/thermal infrared remote sensing data, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 56(9):5433-5442, 2018.

Xie, Y., Huang, S., Liu, S., Leng, G., Peng, J., Huang, Q., Li, P.: Erratum: Xie, Y.Y.; et al. GRACE-Based Terrestrial Water Storage in Northwest China: Changes and Causes. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1163. Remote Sensing, 10, 1301, 2018.

Zhou, Q., Leng, G. and Peng, J.: Recent Changes in the Occurrences and Damages of Floods and Droughts in the United States, Water, 10, 1109, 2018.

Xie, Y., Huang, S., Liu, S., Leng, G., Peng, J., Huang, Q., Li, P.: GRACE-based terrestrial water storage in Northwest China: Changes and causes. Remote Sensing, 10, 1163, 2018.


Peng, J.: Seeing soil moisture from the sky, Eos, 98, Published on 01 June 2017.

Peng, J., Loew, A., and Crueger, T.: The relationship between the Madden-Julian Oscillation and the land surface soil moisture. Remote Sensing of Environment, 203:226- 239, 2017.

Peng, J., Blessing, S., Giering R., Müller B., Gobron N., Nightingale J., Boersma. F, Muller J-P.: Quality-assured long-term satellite-based leaf area index product. Global Change Biology, 23(12):5027-5028, 2017.

Song, X., Wang, Y., Tang, B., Leng, P., Chuan, S., Peng, J., & Loew, A.: Estimation of Land Surface Temperature Using FengYun-2E (FY-2E) Data: A Case Study of the Source Area of the Yellow River. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 10(8):3744-3751, 2017.

Peng, J., Loew, A., Merlin, O., and Verhoest, N.: A review of methods for downscaling remotely sensed soil moisture. Reviews of Geophysics, 55, 341-366, 2017.

Peng, J., Loew, A.: Recent advances in soil moisture estimation from remote sensing. Water, 9,530, 2017.


Peng, J., Loew, A., Chen, X., Ma, Y., and Su, Z.: Comparison of satellite based evapotranspiration estimates over the Tibetan Plateau. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(8):3167-3182, 2016.

Loew, A., Peng, J., and Borsche, M.: High resolution land surface fluxes from satellite data (HOLAPS v1.0): evaluation and uncertainty assessment, Geoscientific Model Development, 9(7):2499-2532, 2016.

Peng, J., Loew, A., Zhang, S., Wang, J., and Niesel, J.: Spatial Downscaling of Satellite Soil Moisture Data Using a Vegetation Temperature Condition Index, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 54(1):558-566, 2016.


Peng, J., Niesel, J., Loew, A., Zhang, S., Wang, J.: Evaluation of Satellite and Reanalysis Soil Moisture Products over Southwest China Using Ground-Based Measurements. Remote Sensing, 7(11):5729-15747, 2015.

Peng, J., Niesel, J., and Loew, A.: Evaluation of soil moisture downscaling using a simple thermal based proxy – the REMEDHUS network (Spain) example, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 19(12): 4765-4782, 2015.


Peng, J., Loew, A.: Evaluation of Daytime Evaporative Fraction from MODIS TOA Radiances Using FLUXNET Observations, Remote Sensing, 6(7):5959-5975, 2014.

Peng, J., Liu, Y., Zhao, X., and Loew, A.: Estimation of evapotranspiration from MODIS TOA radiances in the Poyang Lake basin, China, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(4):1431-1444, 2013.

Peng, J., Borsche, M., Liu, Y., and Loew, A.: How representative are instantaneous evaporative fraction measurements of daytime fluxes?, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(10):3913-3919, 2013.

Peng, J., Liu, Y., and Loew, A.: Uncertainties in Estimating Normalized Difference Temperature Index From TOA Radiances, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 51(5):2487 – 2497, 2013.

Liu, Y. B., Song, P., Peng, J., and Ye, C.: A physical explanation of the variation in threshold for delineating terrestrial water surfaces from multi-temporal images: effects of radiometric correction, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 33(18):5862-5875, 2012.