Hong Yang

About Me


Senior scientist and group leader of Water, Food and Environmental Studies

Titular Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland

 Research Fields and Interests

  • Water and environmental policies
  • Integrated analysis and modeling for decision support
  • Water and food relations
  • Water scarcity, food security and enviormental impacts
  • Virtual water and water footprint 
  • Sustainable development and poverty alleviation
  • Adaptation to climate change in water management

Tertiary Education

1991-1994    Doctor of Philosophy, Centre for Asian Studies and China Economic Research Centre, the

                     University of Adelaide, Australia.

1989-1991    Master of Arts, Department of Geography, the University of Melbourne, Australia.

1983-1986    Master of Science, Department of Geography, East China Normal University, China.

1979-1983    Bachelor of Science, Department of Geography, Beijing Normal University, China.

Record of Employment

2004-present    Senior scientist, group leader of Water, Food and Environmental Studies.

                         Department of Systems Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modeling, Eawag.

2012-present    Titular professor, Department of Enviornmental Sciences, University of Basel,


2002-present    Visiting professor, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, 

                         the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.

1999-2004        Research scientist, group leader of Water, Food and Environmental Studies.

                         Department of Systems Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modeling, Eawag.

1998-1999        Assistant professor, Department of Geography and Geology, the University of Hong Kong,

                         Hong Kong. 

1997-1998        Assistant professor, Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University. Hong Kong.

1994-1997        Research associate, China Economic Research Center and Center for Asian Studies,

                         the University of Adelaide, Australia.


Teaching Experience (semester courses offerred)

- Enviornmental management: policies and practicies (Graduate University of Chinese Academy of    

  Sciences, China)

- Globalization of water resources (Basel University)

- Introduction to multi-disciplinary models in enviornmental managment (Basel University)

- Global environmental change:  science, impact and policy. (Hong Kong University, Hong Kong)

- Environmental management (Hong Kong University, Hong Kong)

- Geography of Southeast Asia (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)

- Quantitative methods in geographical analysis ((Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)

- World economic geography (Beijing Normal University, China)

Selected Publications in Major Research Fields 

5 key contributions in the field of water-food relations

Folberth, C., Yang, H., Gaiser, T., Liu, J.G., Wang, X.Y., Williams, J, Schulin, R. 2014. Effects of ecological and conventional agricultural intensification practices on maize yields in Sub-Sharan Africa under potential climate change. Enviornmental Research Letter. 9(4): Article Number: 044004. doi: 10.1088/148-9326/9/4/044004.

Folberth, C., Yang, H., Gaiser, T., Abbaspour, K.C., Schulin, R. 2013. Modeling maize yield responses to improvement in nutrient, water and cultivar inputs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural Systems. 119: 22-34.

Andersson, J., Zehnder, A.J.B., Röckström, J., Yang, H., 2011. Potential impacts of water harvesting and ecological sanitation on crop yield, evaporation and river flow regimes in the Thukela River Basin, South Africa. Agricultural Water Management. 98(7): 1113-1124.

Faramarazi, M., Yang, H., Schulin, R., Abbaspour, C.A., 2010. Modeling wheat yield and crop water productivity in Iran: Implications of agricultural water management for wheat production. Agricultural Water Management. 97(11): 1861-1875.

Liu, J.G., Yang, H., 2010. Spatially explicit assessment of global consumptive water uses in cropland: green and blue water. Journal of Hydrology. 384: 187-197.

5 key publications in the field of virtual water trade and water footprint

Zhao, X., Tillotson, M., Yang, Z.F., Yang, H., Liu, J.G., 2016. Reduction and reallocation of water use of products in Beijing. Ecological Indicators, In press.

Yang, H., Pfister, S., Bhaduri, A., 2013. Accounting for a scarce resource: virtual water and water footprint in the global water system. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 5(6): 599-606.

Zhang, Z.Y., Shi, M.J., Yang, H., 2012. Understanding Beijing's water challenge: a decompostion analysis of changes in Beijing's water footprint between 1997 and 2007. Environmental Sciences & Technology. 46(22): 12373-12380.

Zhao, X., Yang, H., Yang, Z.F., Chen, B., Qin, Y., 2010. Applying the input-output method to account for water footprint and virtual water trade in the Haihe River Basin in China. Environmental Science & Technology. 44(23): 9150-9156.

Faramarzi, M., Yang, H., Mousavi, J., Schulin, R., Binder, C., Abbaspour, K., 2010. Analysis of intra-country virtual water trade strategy to alleviate water scarcity in Iran. Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences. 14: 1417-1433. 

5 key publications in the field of water and environmental policies

Liu, J.G., Liu, Q.Y., Yang, H., 2015. Assessing water scarcity by simultaneously considering environmental flow requirements, water quantity, and water quality. Ecological Indicators. 60: 434-441.

Shi, M.J., Wang, X.J., Yang, H., Wang, T., 2014. Pricing or quota? Solution to water scarcity in oasis regions in China - A case study in the Heihe River Basin. Sustainability. 6: 7601-7620.

Khan, N.I., Brouwer, R., Yang, H., 2014. Household's willingness to pay for arsenic safe drinking water in Bangladesh. Journal of Environmental Management. 143: 151-161. 

Osterwakder, L., Johnsona, A., Yang, H., Johnston, R., 2014. Multi-criteria assessment of community-based fluoride-removal technologies for rural Ethiopia. Science of the Total Environment. 488: 536-542.

Liu, J.G., Liu, J.G., Yang, H., You, L.Z., 2013. Water conservancy projects in China: Achievements, challenges and way forward. Global Environmental Change. 23(3): 633-643.

5 key publications in the field of climate change impact and adaptations

Rosenzweig, C., ... Folberth, C. ... Yang, H., ..., 2014. Assessing agriculutural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison. PNAS. 111(9): 3268-3273.

Vaghefi, S., Mousavi, S.J., Abbaspour, K.C., Srinivasan, R., Yang, H., 2014. Analysis of the impact of climate change on water resources components, drough and wheat yield in semi-arid regions: Karkheh River Basin in Iran. Hydrological Processes. 28: 2018-2032.

Liu, J.G., Folberth, C., Yang, H., Röckström, J., Abbaspour, C.K., Zehnder, A.J.B., 2013. A global and spatially explicit assessment of climate change impacts on crop production and consumptive water use. Plos One. 8(2): Artical Number: e57750. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057750.

Faramarzi, M., Abbaspour, C.K, Vaghefi, S.A., Farzaneh, M.R., Zehnder, A.J.B., Yang, H., 2013. Modeling impacts of climate change on freshwater availability in Africa. Journal of Hydrology. 480: 85-101.

Abbaspour, C.K, Faramarzi, M., Ghasemi, S.S., Yang, H., 2009. Assessing the impacts of climate change on water resources of Iran. Water Resources Reaserch, doi: 10.1029/2008WR006051. 

Recent Major Projects

2013-         Application of a spatially explicit bio-physical crop model to assess drought impact on crop

                  yield and crop-drought vulnerability in Sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by SNF. Principal


2013-         Modeling the water-food-environment-trade nexus in the context of agricultural

                  intensification. Funded by Eawag. Princial investigator.

2012-         Inter-sectoral Impact Model Inter-comparison Project (ISI-MIP). Funded by German Federal

                  Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).  Team member.           

2009-2014 Modeling impacts of adapative agronomic measures on crop water productivity and yields in

                  the context of water scarcity and climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by SNF.

                  Principal investigator.

2009-2014 Groundwater and Dependent Ecosystems: New Scientific and Technical Basis for Assessing

                  Climate Change and Land-use Impacts on Groundwater Systems (GENESIS). EU FP-7

                  project. Team member.

2006-2014 Water Resources Quality (WRQ). Funded by Eawag and various external fundings.

                  Team member.

                   Phase I: A global assessment of geogenic pollution of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater.

                   Phase II: An integrated assessment of mitigation options for arsenic and fluoride in

                   groundwater. Case studies in Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

Recent Major International Activities

2015           Represent the University of Basel in Milano EXPO. Exhibition topic: how much water is

                   available and how much water is needed for people?

2015-          Associate editor of Frontiers in Freshwater Science.

2012-          Member of  Scientifiic Advisory Board of Stockholm Enviornmental Institute (SEI), Sweden.

2012-2014  Expert reviewer of the Working Group II Report: Climate Change 2013: Impacts, Adaptation,

                   and Vulnerability. IPCC Assessment Report 5.

2006-2014  Scientific Streering Committee Member of the Global Water Systems Project (GWSP).

2012-          Member of management committee of the COST Action ES1106 (Assessment of European

                   Agricultural Water Use and Trade under Climate Change).

2011           Guest editor of the Special Issue of Economic Systems Research on Input-Output model

                   application in water use assessment and water management. 

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Restoring rivers for for effective catchment management.

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Phone: +41 58 765 5568
Fax: +41 58 765 5802
Address: Eawag
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Office: FC D06

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Expert of

decision analysis, modeling

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