my research

Research interests

My interests lie in understanding the processes underpinning climate variability and biosphere-atmosphere interactions. The main tools are high-resolution coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) and land surface models. Some of the questions I have been researching, together with links to some of my publications:

  • Climate variability: what are the mechanisms that affect regional-scale climate variability and how are they expected to change in the future:
  • Climate and weather extremes: what are the weather and climate elements that we should target for impacts analysis ? How do they interact with the climate system:
  • Heat waves: how are positive feedbacks between atmospheric circulation and the surface energy balance initiated and maintained

Answering these questions requires advanced observational and modelling capabilities:

  • Development of high-resolution Global Climate Models: I am the PI for NERC’s UJCC and HiGEM projects, developing the HiGEM and NUGEM models. I am also a PI in the NERC-Met Office Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme (JWCRP) and I collaborate within the Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme (JWCRP) with Malcolm Roberts (MO) on building the next high-resolution coupled climate model at high resolution, HadGEM3
  • Monitoring of vegetation from space: can we detect vegetation dynamics and trends due to climate change from space
  • Development of Land Surface Models: can we improve our understanding of how the exchanges of water and carbon by terrestrial ecosystems occur and how they are expected to change under elevated CO2 and climate change ? Can we also use this understanding to improve weather models
    • Van den Hoof et al. 2013, on improving the representation of the partitioning in transpiration and soil evaporation as contributors to the terrestrial water cycle.
    • Black et al. 2012, on the dynamical simulation of C4 crops in Ghana
    • Egea et al. 2011, on introducing a mesophyll pathway mechanism for simulating soil water control on plants
    • Van den Hoof et al. 2010, on simulating crop growth with an enhanced land surface ecosystems model (JULES-SUCROS).
    • Dharrsi et al. 2009, on land surface modelling developments from our collaborative work with the Met Office Data Assimilation group, which have resulted in significant improvements to the operational forecasts of 2m temperature and moisture in the MO global NWP model.
    • Stockli et al. 2007, on simulating lateral soil water flow and river discharge over complex topography
    • Vidale and Stockli 2005, on developing a new prognostic approach to canopy-level exchanges of CO2 and water
    • Stockli and Vidale 2005, on simulating FLUXNET sites with a hierarchy of land surface models of increasing complexity
    • Nicholls et al. 2004, on simulating multi-scale CO2 exchanges at multiple heights over a US forest.
    • Denning et al.2003, on simulating the variability of CO2 and H2O concentrations and gradients over a US forest.
    • Baker et al. 2003, on simulating CO2 and H20 exchanges over a US forest.
    • Mihailovic et al. 2000, on intercomparing land surface models of different complexity
    • Walko et al. 2000, on the development of the LEAF land surface model
  • Land surface heterogeneity: how are the fluxes of heat, moisture, momentum and carbon organised by atmospheric circulation ? How do they affect the atmosphere and large-scale circulation

Organisational responsibilities

  • PhD supervisor for:
    • Ray Bell (with J. Strachan and K. Hodges), on Tropical Cyclones in future climates.
    • Marie-Estelle Demory, who began her project in October 2007 on the role of the land surface in the hydrological cycle.
    • Catherine van Den Hoof, who completed in 2010, on developing a crop model coupled to JULES.
    • See my CV for students I advised while at ETH Zurich.
  • Participation in boards, committees etc.
    • Senior Academic in Climate System Research for the Willis Research Network.
    • Member of the NERC-Met Office JWCRP Joint Facilities Group.
    • Member of the Project Assurance Team of the HadGEM2 model development project at the Met Office Hadley Centre; Olivier Boucher is the project manager.
    • Member of the Project Assurance Team of the HadGEM3 model development project at the Met Office Hadley Centre; Helene Banks is the project manager.
    • Member of the JULES Science Steering Committee and Management Board.
    • Member of NERC’s Peer Review College.


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