I am interested in how properties of the land surface, such as soil moisture and vegetation cover, influence weather and climate. Whilst trained as a modeller, I have increasingly focused on using observations to identify how fluxes of moisture and sensible heat from the land affect the lower atmosphere and convective rainfall. Much of my work has been motivated by the need to better understand the climate of semi-arid regions, in particular in West Africa.
Current and recent projects:
AMMA-2050: I lead this 16-partner consortium funded by DfID/NERC. The aim of the project is to use state-of-the-art climate science within medium-term (5-40 years) decision-making in West Africa. In addition to managing the project, CEH work is focused on determining key processes driving trends in High Impact Weather events (such as extreme rain and dry spells), and understanding how projected changes in climate will impact on future flood frequency and water resources.
IMPALA: This project is driving an Afro-centric development of aspects of the Met Office Unified Model. Our role is to improve aspects of the land surface model JULES in its simulation of surface energy and water fluxes over typical African landscapes.
PORCELAIN: This project, working with the University of Reading, is focused on land-atmosphere interactions in China, and includes both modelling and observational components.
VERA: I lead this collaborative project with the University of Leeds looking at the impact that vegetation has on rainfall in West Africa.
INCOMPASS: In this major Anglo-Indian collaboration funded by NERC and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences, we are examining how characteristics of the Indian monsoon are affected by land-atmosphere feedbacks.
e-stress: I led this collaborative NERC-funded project with the University of Leicester which examined how soil water deficit limits evapotranspiration around the world. We developed novel techniques to use satellite-derive land surface temperature data to evaluate this key process in models of the earth system.
In addition to these projects, I am a member of the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation, which provides national capability in earth observation science. Within NCEO we work on evaluation of land-atmosphere processes in earth system models. I am also a Visiting Professor in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds.