Scientific challenge

Interactions between the land surface and atmosphere play an important role in weather and climate on multiple space and time scales. Inherent limitations in representing the complexity of the land surface, along with a lack of direct observations of land-atmosphere fluxes at appropriate scales, mean that atmospheric simulations can be adversely affected by their representation of the land surface. This is particularly true in regions such as China, with strong seasonal and sub-seasonal fluctuations in soil moisture.

Project overview

The PORCELAIN project (2018-20) will use a combination of innovative observation-based analyses, and detailed diagnosis of existing and new atmospheric simulations using multiple climate models, to gain new understanding of land-atmosphere interactions and their influence on the East Asian monsoon. The project will test new process representations of plant physiology, soil hydrology and irrigation within the Met Office model and quantify their impacts on coupled simulations on weather prediction and climate change time scales. We will create new tools for evaluating land-atmosphere interactions in models, and bolster UK collaboration with Chinese partners on land-atmosphere interaction.

Led by Chris Taylor, PORCELAIN is a collaboration between CEH (Co-investigators Chris Huntingford and Phil Harris) and the University of Reading (Co-Investigators Pier Luigi Vidale and Andy Turner), within the Newton Fund Climate Science for Service Partnership China run by the Met Office.

Principal Investigator

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