Modelling land-atmosphere interactions: Impact of near future land use and climate change over Western Europe

Date: 22 March 2018

Venue: Stadscampus, Promotiezaal van de Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 10:00 AM

Organization / co-organization: Faculty of Science

PhD candidate: Julie Berckmans

Principal investigator: Reinhart Ceulemans

Short description: PhD defence Julie Berckmans - Faculty of Science


Regional climate models are relevant in studying the consequences of climate change on humans and their environment. These regional climate models usually capture the processes in the atmosphere and to a lesser extent the processes at the land surface. However, it is relevant to simulate the processes at the land surface to reduce the uncertainty of a regional climate simulation.

The objective of this phd research was to demonstrate the importance of modelling interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere in Western Europe. A coupled land-atmosphere model was applied that provided a detailed image of the land surface as a patchwork of natural, urban and water surfaces. This model demonstrated improvements for the regional climate of Western Europe with respect to standard models that lack details when representing the land surface.

Moreover, we were able to apply the model for climate change projections for the next few decades. Although only small changes were projected to occur in the near future, the extremes were likely to be more severe. This research was innovative because of the model setup and the presentation of climate changes for the next few decades caused by different drivers of the climate system.