Land surface processes

Developing our understanding of land surface processes and land atmosphere interactions.

The interactions between the atmosphere and the land surface are important across a wide variety of space and timescales. Energy from the Sun is converted at the land surface into sources of heat and moisture for the lowest part of the atmosphere, and the land acts to slow the wind down leading to atmospheric turbulence. These exchanges contribute to both the weather conditions that we encounter and changes in climatic conditions. Also, as we live on the land surface, it is important to ensure that we can have an accurate representation of the current and future state of the land, such as the impacts of flooding or droughts.

Key aims

  • Increase our understanding of the interactions between the land and the atmosphere.

  • Investigate the impact of the land surface towards the predictability of weather and climate.

  • Develop a physical representation of the land surface within the Joint UK Land Environment System (JULES), a community land surface numerical model.

Current projects

  • Development of an atmospheric dataset which can be used to drive land surface models globally for the whole of the 20th century.

  • Understanding the changes to the terrestrial water cycle throughout the 20th century.

  • Investigate possible changes to the terrestrial water cycle for the 21st century.

  • New developments for the JULES model in the representation of crops, irrigation, permafrost areas and urban environments.

  • Understanding the strength of coupling between the land surface and the atmosphere, and the mechanisms behind this coupling.

  • Development of a benchmarking system to verify the performance of JULES.

  • Co-ordinating the community development of JULES.

Last updated: 3 September 2013