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
GCRF African-SWIFT: This is a major international project led by NCAS Leeds with partners from Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Niger as well as the UK. Its focus is on building capacity in African weather forecasting and communication, from hourly to seasonal timescales, to protect the lives and livelihoods of African people while improving the economies of their countries.
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 provided an Afro-centric development of aspects of the Met Office Unified Model. Our role was 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, focused on land-atmosphere interactions in China, and includes both modelling and observational components.
VERA: I led 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 examined how characteristics of the Indian monsoon are affected by land-atmosphere feedbacks.
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.
A complete list of my publications can be found at my ORCID ID page . For publications since 2006, links to open-access versions of my papers (where available) can be found at the bottom of this page. Below are some of my key papers.
Taylor, Christopher M., Cornelia Klein, Cheikh Dione, Douglas J. Parker, John H. Marsham, Cheikh Abdoulahat Diop, Jennifer Fletcher, et al. "Nowcasting Tracks of Severe Convective Storms in West Africa from Observations of Land Surface State." Environmental Research Letters (2022).
Taylor, Christopher M., Cornelia Klein, Douglas J. Parker, France Gerard, Valiyaveetil Shamsudheen Semeena, Emma J. Barton, and Bethan L. Harris. "“Late-Stage” Deforestation Enhances Storm Trends in Coastal West Africa." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119, no. 2 (2022): e2109285119.
Klein, Cornelia, Lawrence S. Jackson, Douglas J. Parker, John H. Marsham, Christopher M. Taylor, David P. Rowell, Françoise Guichard, et al. "Combining CMIP Data with a Regional Convection-Permitting Model and Observations to Project Extreme Rainfall under Climate Change." Environmental Research Letters 16, no. 10 (2021/09/29 2021): 104023.
Klein, Cornelia, and Christopher M. Taylor. "Dry Soils Can Intensify Mesoscale Convective Systems." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, no. 35 (2020): 21132-37.
Gallego-Elvira, Belen, Christopher M. Taylor, Phil P. Harris, and Darren Ghent. "Evaluation of Regional-Scale Soil Moisture-Surface Flux Dynamics in Earth System Models Based on Satellite Observations of Land Surface Temperature." Geophysical Research Letters 46, no. 10 (2019): 5480-88.
Taylor, C. M., A. H. Fink, C. Klein, D. J. Parker, F. Guichard, P. P. Harris, and K. R. Knapp (2018). Earlier seasonal onset of intense Mesoscale Convective Systems in the Congo Basin since 1999, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2018GL080516.
Taylor, C. M., Prigent, C., and Dadson, S. (2018), Mesoscale Rainfall Patterns Observed around Wetlands in Sub-Saharan Africa, Q J R Meteorol Soc. 2018;144:2118–2132. doi:10.1002/qj.3311
Klein, C., Belušić, D., & Taylor, C. M. (2018). Wavelet scale analysis of mesoscale convective systems for detecting deep convection from infrared imagery. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123, 3035–3050.
Taylor, Christopher M.; Belusic, Danijel; Guichard, Francoise; Parker, Douglas J.; Vischel, Theo; Bock, Olivier; Harris, Phil P.; Janicot, Serge; Klein, Cornelia; Panthou, Geremy (2017) Frequency of extreme Sahelian storms tripled since 1982 in satellite observations. Nature, 544 (7651). 475-478. 10.1038/nature22069
Teuling, Adriaan J.; Taylor, Christopher M.; Meirink, Jan Fokke; Melsen, Lieke A.; Miralles, Diego G.; van Heerwaarden, Chiel C.; Vautard, Robert; Stegehuis, Annemiek I.; Nabuurs, Gert-Jan; de Arellano, Jordi Vilà-Guerau (2017) Observational evidence for cloud cover enhancement over western European forests. Nature Communications, 8, 14065. 7, pp. 10.1038/ncomms14065
Gallego-Elvira, B., C. M. Taylor, P. P. Harris, D. Ghent, K. L. Veal, and S. S. Folwell (2016), Global observational diagnosis of soil moisture control on the land surface energy balance, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43(6), 2623-2631.
Folwell, S. S., P. P. Harris, and C. M. Taylor (2016), Large-Scale Surface Responses during European Dry Spells Diagnosed from Land Surface Temperature, J. Hydromet., 17(3), 975-993.
Taylor, C. M. (2015), Detecting soil moisture impacts on convective initiation in Europe, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42(11), 4631-4638.
Taylor, C. M., C. E. Birch, D. J. Parker, N. Dixon, F. Guichard, G. Nikulin, and G. M. S. Lister (2013), Modeling soil moisture-precipitation feedback in the Sahel: Importance of spatial scale versus convective parameterization, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40(23), 2013GL058511.
Taylor, Christopher M., de Jeu, Richard A. M., Guichard, Francoise, Harris, Phil P. and Dorigo, Wouter A. 2012. Afternoon rain more likely over drier soils. Nature 489. 423-426. 10.1038/nature11377
Spracklen, D.V., Arnold, S.R. and Taylor, C.M. 2012. Observations of increased tropical rainfall preceded by air passage over forests. Nature 489. 282-285. 10.1038/nature11390
Taylor, C.M., A. Gounou, F. Guichard, P.P. Harris, R.J. Ellis, F. Couvreux and M. De Kauwe 2011. Frequency of Sahelian storm initiation enhanced over mesoscale soil-moisture patterns, Nature Geosci. 4 (7), 430-433.
Taylor, C. M., et al. (2011), New perspectives on land–atmosphere feedbacks from the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis, Atmospheric Science Letters, 12(1), 38-44.
Taylor, C.M. 2010. Feedbacks on convection from an African wetland, Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L05406.
Taylor, C.M., P.P. Harris and D.J. Parker, 2010. Impact of Soil Moisture on the Development of a Sahelian Mesoscale Convective System: A Case Study from the AMMA Special Observing Period, Quart J Roy Meteorol Soc 136, 456-470.
Taylor, C.M. 2008. Intraseasonal land-atmosphere coupling in the West African monsoon, J. Climate 21 (24), 6636-6648.
Taylor, C.M., D.J. Parker and P.P. Harris, 2007. An observational case study of mesoscale atmospheric circulations induced by soil moisture, Geophys. Res. Lett. 34 (doi:10.1029/2007GL030572), L15801.
Taylor, C.M. and R.J. Ellis, 2006. Satellite detection of soil moisture impacts on convection at the mesoscale, Geophys. Res. Lett. 33 (doi:10.1029/2005GL025252), L03404.
Taylor, C.M., E. F. Lambin, N. Stephenne, R. J. Harding and R. L. H. Essery, 2002. The influence of land use change on climate in the Sahel, J. Climate 15 (24), 3615-3629.
Taylor, C.M., and T. Lebel, 1998. Observational evidence of persistent convective-scale rainfall patterns, Mon. Weather Rev. 126 (6), 1597-1607.
Taylor, C.M., F. Saïd and T. Lebel, 1997. Interactions between the land surface and mesoscale rainfall variability during HAPEX-Sahel, Mon. Weather Rev. 125 (9), 2211-2227.
1992 – present: Researching land-atmosphere feedbacks at UKCEH (formerly the Institute of Hydrology) Wallingford
1992-1996: PhD, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading. I gained my PhD working on mesoscale modelling of land-atmosphere interactions as part of the HAPEX-Sahel experiment in West Africa.
1990-91: MSc Atmospheric Science, University of East Anglia, Norwich
1985-89: BSc Physics, University of Sussex, Brighton