Thian Yew Gan is a professor of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada since 1993, research ambassador of German Academic Exchange Service, and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). His teaching/research in snow hydrology, remote sensing, hydrologic modeling, hydroclimatology, climate change, and water resources management and planning has gained international recognition. Dr. Gan has supervised 7 postdoctoral fellows, graduated 11 PhDs and 25 master students. Dr. Gan has published a book, “Global Cryosphere – Past, Present and Future”, 472 pages, Cambridge University Press, and about 100 refereed papers in various reputable, peer reviewed international journals of (1) Nature Publishing Group, e.g., Scientific Report (2) American Geophysical Union, e.g., Water Resources Research, Journal Geophysical Research-atmosphere; (3) American Meteorological Society, e.g., Journal of Climate, Journal Applied Meteorology, Journal of Hydrometeorology, (4) Royal Meteorological Society such as International Journal of Climatology, (5) Elsevier Science, e.g., Advances in Water Resources and Journal of Hydrology, (6) ASCE such as Journal of Water Resources Management & Planning, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, (7) Hydrologic Processes, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing of Environment, Int. J. of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Quaternary International.
Research Currently in Progress
- Climate Change Research: Dr. Gan has conducted hydrologic impacts of climatic change to river basins of USA, Canada, and Germany, and uncertainties associated with climate change projections to river basins of Alberta. One of his climate change papers, Lettenmaier & Gan (1990), on the climate change effect on watersheds of California, was cited 285 times.
- Satellite Data research: Dr. Gan had used Landsat-TM data to map the migration of Jamuna River of Ganges Bhamaputra; ERS-SAR data of ESA to map the flooding of Danube River; infrared-microwave data to estimate precipitation; Global Vegetation Moisture Index to model the gross primary production of forests in USA; vegetation indices to develop vegetation-climate relationships; and merged WSR-88D radar rainfall data with rain gauge data using wavelet analysis; developed algorithms to retrieve snow water equivalent from passive microwave SSM/I data, and retrieved soil moisture from Radarsat SAR data.
- Land Surface Scheme (LSS) and Hydroclimatology Research: Developed a combined climate-hydrologic system for Zambia, Africa that predicts the basin hydrology at one/two season lead time; modified a LSS (MISBA) to incorporate northern features of Athabasca River Basin of Alberta. Wavelet analysis, EOF, and Independent Component Analysis to regionalize and to predict precipitation and streamflow of Africa and North America; multifractal analysis of climate data; modified drought indices to better monitor drought severity, the impact of ENSO on climate of East, central and southern Africa.
Conference Proceedings Papers
About 70 conference proceeding papers published in proceedings of various international conferences.
Climate Change Research
Dr. Gan has conducted hydrologic impacts of climatic change to river basins of USA, Canada, Africa, and Germany, and uncertainties associated with climate change projections to river basins. One of his climate change papers, Lettenmaier & Gan (1990), on the climate change effect on watersheds of California, has been cited over 400 times. On the basis of climate change scenarios of IPCC dynamically downscaled by a regional climate model, Dr. Gan demonstrated that current intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves of Edmonton are obsolete because under climate change impact, intensive storms may occur more frequently and severely. He updated IDF curves of Edmonton so that the design of its future urban drainage infrastructure will not be under designed. He showed that under climate change impact, the multifractal strength of streamflows of Fraser River Basin of Canada would increase with temperature as the snow fed character of the basin weakened, but in the colder Athabasca River Basin of Alberta, a decrease in multifractal strength resulted under rising temperatures because of declined snow packs. For Africa, Dr. Gan found that in the 21st Century, drought prone regions of Africa will become increasingly more prone to the impact of droughts given the daily maximum temperature could increase up to 8oC (based on climate projections of CMIP5), precipitation could decrease, which coincide with projected increase in warm spell duration and consecutive dry days in southern and parts of northern Africa. Dr. Gan recommended drought prone regions of Africa to consider implementing various effective adaptive measures to mitigate the possible future impact of climate change.
Remote Sensing research
Dr. Gan developed various innovative retrieval algorithms to derive useful hydroclimatic information from RS data. For example, he proposed innovative algorithms/procedures to: (1) model the gross primary production of forests in USA from Global Vegetation Moisture Index and near-infrared albedo; (2) develop vegetation-climate relationships of a mixed wood forest of Canada from vegetation indices; (3) identify the migration pattern, the erosion and accretion processes of the Jamuna River of Ganges Bhamaputra from Landsat-TM data; (4) map the 2006 flooding of Danube River using Synthetic Aperture data of ERS; (5) estimate precipitation from a combination of infrared and microwave data; (6) merge WSR-88D radar rainfall data with rain gauge data by the wavelet technique; (7) retrieve snow water equivalent from a combination of passive microwave SSM/I, climate and landuse data; (8) map near surface soil moisture from Radarsat SAR data; and (9) derive the turbidity of the Ariake Sea of Japan with Landsat-TM data.
Hydroclimatology, Modeling and Water Resources Management Research
Dr. Gan has demonstrated/developed: (1) Statistical ensemble streamflow prediction systems for the Canadian Prairies at seasonal time scale; (2) Role of Pacific climate on the low frequency hydroclimatic variability and predictability in southern Alberta; (3) Combined climate-hydrologic systems that successfully predicted weekly streamflow at one-season lead time at Kafue basin of Africa, and river basins of Taiwan by predicting seasonal precipitation with a teleconnection model using sea surface temperature as the predictor, and disaggregated the predicted seasonal precipitation as input data to a basin scale hydrologic model; (4) Various aspects of hydrologic modelling such as lumped versus distributed approaches; issues on the automatic calibrations, data requirements, model structure, and parameter identifiability, and soil-based parameters of major conceptual models; (5) developed a semi-distributed hydrologic model (DPHMRS), which maximizes the use of remotely sensed data; (6) Modified a LSS called ISBA (known as MISBA) to incorporate northern environmental features for the Canadian GEWEX site, Athabasca River Basin, and forced MISBA with ERA-40 re-analysis data of ECMWF and the Canadian GEM archive data, and successfully simulated the energy and water fluxes of ARB; (7) Innovative applications of wavelet analysis, EOF, and Independent Component Analysis to identify the dominant oscillation, regionalization and variability of climatic time series of Africa and Canada, and the results were used for the teleconnection and predictability of regional precipitation regimes of East, central and south Africa; and (8) Management of water resources in semi-arid regions.
Cryosphere and Snow Hydrology
Dr. Gan and. R. Barry of U of Colorado-Boulder have published the book “Global Cryosphere, Past, Present and Future” by the Cambridge University Press, that for the first time address all components of the Earth’s cryosphere - all forms of snow and ice, both terrestrial and marine. It provides a concise, comprehensive summary of cryospheric processes for courses at upper undergraduate and graduate level in environmental science, geography, geology, glaciology, hydrology, water resource engineering, and ocean sciences. The book provides a superb summary of cryospheric processes for researchers from a range of sciences.