Understanding and mitigating the impacts of drought under climate change

Wenzhe Jiao is a postdoctoral fellow at the César Terrer lab at MIT and works closely with César Terrer, a 2022 Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) principal investigator.

Wenzhe is doing significant research on drought monitoring, drought impacts, and dryland ecohydrology. His interests in these areas were shaped by his early experiences in rural China, where he observed the annual impacts of droughts on the crops and farmlands in his village. Jiao attributes his success to his parents who encouraged his educational aspirations, leading him to become the first person in his village to attend high school.

Jiao holds a bachelor's degree in Surveying and Mapping from the North China Institute of Science and Technology and a PhD from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He then traveled to the United States in 2017 to pursue a PhD in Applied Earth Sciences at Indiana University. Despite the challenges, Jiao’s dissertation "Examining Ecosystem Drought Response Using Remote Sensing and Flux Tower Observations” received the University Distinguished PhD Dissertation Award for 2023 in the Biological Science/Life Sciences Category.

During his tenure at Indiana University, Jiao was mentored by Professor Lixin Wang, who provided unwavering support throughout his dissertation process. His research is aimed at better understanding the impacts of droughts on ecosystems and how to prepare and mitigate these impacts, especially in light of the increasing severity, intensity, and frequency of droughts due to climate change.As part of the Terrer Lab at MIT, Jiao has been involved in a project funded by the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) which is aimed at finding new ways to monitor droughts to assist farmers in drought preparation and mitigation.

MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering