Thian Yew Gan

2022 Sabbatical Visiting Fellow

About Thian Yew

Thian Yew Gan is a professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, research ambassador of German Academic Exchange Service, fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and a lead and contributing author of the AR6-WGI of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is internationally recognized for his multidisciplinary contributions to our understanding of hydrology, hydroclimatology, cryosphere, remote sensing of environment, and water resources management. He is a pioneer in research regarding climate change impact to water resources. He has developed practical engineering tools/models for hydrologic forecasting, and algorithms to retrieve large-scale spatial information from remotely sensed data, all essential for effective management of water resources. Gan has published two editions of Global Cryosphere - Past, Present and Future, and more than 160 refereed papers in peer-reviewed international journals. He has been awarded 14 international fellowships from prestigious universities of North America, Europe and Asia.


Snow hydrology, glaciers, permafrost, hydrologic impacts of global warming

Current Research

The Arctic, dominated by continuous and discontinuous permafrost, has been warming much faster than the rest of the world, commonly known as Arctic amplification.  In the 2017 Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) airborne campaign, airborne L- and P- band SAR was used to acquire a data set that provides estimates of seasonal active layer thickness (ALT) and the vertical soil moisture profile at a 30-meter resolution for 51 sites across the ABoVE domain, including 39 sites in Alaska and 12 sites in Northwest Canada. Gan and colleagues modeled the ALT of ABoVE dataset using thawing degree day (TDD). ALT can be reasonably estimated using either TDD based on 2-m air temperature, or near surface soil temperature. Arctic structures are vulnerable to the settlement of frozen ground caused by thawing of permafrost. Given the mean observed ALT of the study site is about 0.482 m, it means that ALT of the 51 study sites is projected to increase by 0.074 meters to 0.217 meters, or between 15 and 45 percent by 2080s, which is expected to impact the Arctic infrastructure.  The projected settlement will also impact the Arctic infrastructure, especially by differential settlement across the Arctic.


PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, 1987
MSE, University of Texas at Austin, 1979
BE(Hons), University of Malaya, Malaysia, 1977


Google Scholar
Thian Yew Gan
Robert & Maude Gledden Senior Visiting Fellow, University Western Australia
AsTech Awards 2022 Winner, Recognition of Significant Achievement in Academia
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellowship, University of Tokyo
WMO-UNFCCC IPCC delegate & UN Observer for COP26-UNFCCC Conference
Senior Research Fellowship, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
LEWI fellow, Hong Kong Baptist University
Visiting Professor-World Expert Lecture, University of Philippines Visayas
Nanshan Professor, Southern U. Science & Technology, Shenzhen, China
Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta Technical (ASET) Excellence Award