Land-atmosphere interactions

The role of vegetation in the climate system is one of my biggest research interests. Forest can influence climate through both physical and chemical ways, we called them biogeophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks, respectively. For example, forests can alter the energy balance of the land surface through changes in energy fluxes (latent, sensible, and momentum fluxes). It can also change the chemical cycle (fire emission, forest mortality, soil carbon) in the Earth system. The quantify the vegetation feedback effects, we take advantage of a fully coupled vegetation-climate Earth system model called RCA-GUESS (Smith et al., 2011). The land-atmosphere interaction represented in the coupling scheme is shown below:

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the coupling scheme between LPJ-GUESS and RCA4. Figure of LSS is adapted from Samuelsson et al. (2006), and the description of model revision for land use can be found in Wu et al., 2017.

The simulated vegetation structure by LPJ-GUESS affects the land surface properties (albedo and roughness length, as well as the water vapour exchanges with the atmosphere) by returning updated forest and open land tile fractions (yearly) and leaf area index (LAI, daily) for each of the tiles to the LSS in RCA4. My work related to land-atmosphere interaction includes:

  • Vegetation feedbacks on tropical climate (Wu et al., 2016; 2017; 2021)

  • Sensitivity of simulated precipitation to changes in the planetary boundary layer parameters (Wu et al., 2020; Tamoffo et al., 2021)


Wu et al., 2021. Vegetation‐climate feedbacks enhance spatial heterogeneity of pan‐amazonian ecosystem states under climate change. GRL: doi/10.1029/2020GL092001

Wu, M., et al., 2020. The impact of regional climate model formulation and resolution on simulated precipitation in Africa, ESD, 11, 377–394, 2020, 10.5194/esd-11-377-2020

Tamoffo, T. A.; Nikulin, G., Vondou, D. A. ; Dosio, A.; Nouayou, R.; Wu, M. 2020. Igri, P.M. Process-based assessment of the impact of reduced turbulent mixing on Congo Basin precipitation in the RCA4 Regional Climate Model, Climate Dynamics, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-020-05571-1

Wu, M. et al., 2017. Impacts of land use on climate and ecosystem productivity over the Amazon and the South American continent. ERL:

Wu, M. et al., 2016. Vegetation–climate feedbacks modulate rainfall patterns in Africa under future climate change' ESD, 7, 627-647. doi:10.5194/esd-7-627-2016

Smith, B. et al., 2011. A model of the coupled dynamics of climate, vegetation and terrestrial ecosystem biogeochemistry for regional applications. Tellus. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0870.2010.00477.x

Samuelsson, P., Gollvik, S. & Ullerstig, A., 2006. The land-surface scheme of the Rossby Centre regional atmospheric climate model (RCA3). Available at: