Chris leads research into vegetation and carbon cycle modelling and their interactions with climate
Areas of expertise:
vegetation and ecosystem modelling;
coupled climate-carbon cycle modelling;
coupled climate-carbon cycle feedback analysis;
assessing the relevance and implications of carbon cycle feedbacks for climate mitigation policy.
Chris leads the work to perform HadGEM2-ES simulations for CMIP5 in preparation for the IPCC Fifth Assessment report (AR5) in 2013. This involves coordinating the experimental design and set-up, liasing with IT experts to ensure efficient data delivery and planning assessment and analysis of the scientific results. Chris's main focus will be on analysing feedbacks between climate and the carbon cycle and looking at the long term commitments of ecosystem changes to climate change.
Chris co-leads a work package of the EU funded project, COMBINE,to implement new carbon and nitrogen components within Earth System models. Particular focus in this project is on the nitrogen cycle which may strongly modulate the terrestrial carbon cycle's response to both elevated CO2 and climate, and also permafrost which represent a major potential feedback in the earth system which is missing from all current models. We will also improve our representation of land-use change and begin to implement human land management practices such as agriculture and forestry.
Chris is also strongly involved in analysis and evaluation of ecosystem and carbon cycle response to climate change using results from existing model simulations as well as new results from HadGEM2-ES. In particular work is focusing on:
developing frameworks to quantify biogeochemical feedbacks in earth-system models such as from the C4MIP intercomparison
looking at committed changes to ecosystems which continue to respond for decades after climate stabilisation, and the climate drivers responsible for them
developing techniques to analyse large ensembles and constrain results using available observations. As part of the EU funded project, CARBONES, we will be assessing the best way to make use of existing observational data on vegetation and the carbon cycle to constrain future projections. Work within the forthcoming EU project GreenCycles2 will also contribute to model evaluation and constraint.
Chris joined the Met Office in 1993 after completing a physics degree at the University of Cambridge. For 3 years he worked in numerical weather prediction developing techniques to assimilate radar rainfall data into mesoscale weather prediction models. During that time he also undertook an MSc in Weather, Climate and Modelling at the University of Reading.
In 1997 Chris joined the land-surface processes group in the Met Office Hadley Centre to develop the first coupled climate-carbon cycle GCM. He was instrumental in enabling these first simulations which identified the potential large, positive feedback between climate and the carbon cycle. He has subsequently been involved in analysing the mechanisms behind this feedback by comparing the model with both observations and other models in the C4MIP intercomparison project.
Since 2006 Chris has led the Terrestrial Carbon Cycle group and has been involved in development and testing of the HadGEM2-ES Earth System model.