Land Surface Processes @ University of Reading

The Earth’s land surface, which comprises of rocks, soil , vegetation, water (as surface water bodies and stored in soil and rocks), snow, ice, and urban fabrics interacts with the overlying atmosphere in a number of complex ways. It is the land surface where we live, grow our crops, and let our cattle graze.

The land surface exchanges heat, momentum, water and carbon-dioxide with the atmosphere and hence plays a role in our microclimate, crop productivity, and can even affect extreme weather phenomena such as heat waves or floods. The land surface-atmosphere interactions can be summarised via the land surface energy-, water- and carbon balance, and related key processes, variables and parameters; it is these that are studied by members of the Land Surface Processes Cluster.


Fluxes in the Surface Energy-, Water- and Carbon balance. Figure source: Bonan, G.B. Science, 320,1444-1449 (2008)

The purpose of the Land Surface Processes Cluster is to better exploit existing expertise, data and tools within the University of Reading and its collaborator Institutions to study land surface processes spanning a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, using both observations (in-situ and remote sensing) and modelling. For the latter, we help develop, test, and exploit both off-line Land Surface Models (LSMs), such as JULES and CTessel, and LSMs coupled to Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) or Global Climate Models (GCMs). We also work with specialised models that facilitate research into the relationships between optical and thermal remote sensing and land surface processes (photosynthesis and energy balance fluxes), such as the SCOPE model, and with water balance-crop productivity models such as SWAP (Soil Water Atmosphere Plant ).

Spectrometry measurements on Remote Sensing ground calibration targets at Yarnton Mead, Oxford, UK.

Who 1: Academic staff and PDRAs

The cross-School interdisciplinary Land Surface Processes cluster combines research carried out at the University of Reading within the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, the Department of Meteorology, and NCAS-Climate together with external collaborators, in particular the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), British Geological survey (BGS), the Met Office Hadley Centre and the European Centre for Medium range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Within SAGES

Muhammad Afzal
Beena Balan Sarojini
Hannah Cloke
Sandy Harrison
Ania Mueller
Shovonlal Roy
Maria Shahgedanova
Anne Verhoef

Within Meteorology/NCAS Climate

Emily Black
Peter Cook
Marie-Estelle Demory
Sue Grimmond
Gerardo López Saldaña
Reinhard Schiemann
Elena Tarnavsky
Tristan Quaife
Pier Luigi Vidale
Helen Ward
Duick Young

Who 2: PhD Students

Ahmed Al-Arazah Monitoring and modelling of drought in Iraq (current)
Renato Braghiere Improving short wave radiative transfer for vegetation in land surface models. (current)
Azin Howells The effect of land surface hydrological process representation on drought prediction (current)
Andrea Manrique Suñén Representation of vegetation processes in land surface models (current)
Helen Johnson Impact of black carbon impurities in snow on medium range weather forecasts (current, based at Met Office).
Jennifer Price Remote sensing data to test and constrain a dynamic global vegetation model (awarded 2015)
Suvarna Punalekar Use of hyperspectral remote sensing data and SVAT modelling to advance ecosystem research (current)

Impacts and Research

The cluster aims to generate impactful knowledge on the Critical Zone in the context of a range of research (predominantly NERC funded) and PhD projects, ranging from studies on climate extremes (flooding, droughts, heatwaves), to renewable energy (ground source heat pumps, biofuels). More widely, we participate in (inter)national research efforts on monitoring and modelling (e.g. CMIP ) of the global water-, energy and carbon balance (WRCP , GEWEX ).

The Met-land mailing list is set up to share information among the land surface processes group members and to arrange the group meetings. To subscribe, follow: met- land mailing list





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