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Adrian Chappell

Professor Adrian Chappell

Professor in Climate Change Impacts

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

+44 29208 70642
Main Building, Room Room 1.16A, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Available for postgraduate supervision


  • Land surface processes
  • Soil erosion
  • Geomorphology
  • Geostatistics
  • Remote sensing
  • Dust emission modelling
  • Canopy modelling / aerodynamic roughness





















Book sections


My current research is on wind erosion and dust emission and particularly representing these processes in land surface models (LSMs) to improve regional and global carbon (C), dust (D), energy (E) and water (W) cycles for CO2 emission and human impact on global climate change.


I am a geographer specialising in geomorphology and particularly drylands. In the existing programmes of Environmental Geography and Physical Geography I currently support the modules of

Year 1 - GIS and Field Skills

Year 2 - Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis (with Niels Andela)

Year 3 - Environmental Case Studies (with Pan He) and contribute to Dissertation supervision

and I am preparing for the new programme BSc Environmental Sustainability Science due to commence Sep 2021, the UK's first predominantly problem-based learning programme in Geography Earth and Environmental Science (GEES).


  • Professor in Climate Change Impacts – School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University (2020-present)
  • Reader in Climate Change Impacts – School of Earth, Cardiff University (2017- 2020)
  • Principal Research Scientist in Land Surface Processes – Land & Water, CSIRO, Canberra Australia (2009-2017)
  • Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography – School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford (1998-2007)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow 'Wind Erosion on European Light Soils (WEELS)' – Department of Geography, University College London (1996-1998)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow 'West African Sahelian fluxes'  – Department of Physical Geography, University of Lund, Sweden (1995-1996)
  • PhD – Department of Geography, University College London (1995)
  • BSc Geography – University of Coventry (1991)

Honours and awards

  • Fellowship, The Leverhulme Trust, Modelling-space-time variation in wind erosion

Professional memberships

  • Editor-in-chief Elsevier journal Aeolian Research
  • President of the International Society of Aeolian Research

Academic positions

  • Principal Scientist CSIRO, Canberra Australia
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Salford, Manchester, UK

Committees and reviewing

Sep 2019 - present: UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) Advisory Network member contributing to guidance on strategy and policy of interdisciplinary and cross-sector research.

Sep 2019 - present: UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) reviewer of research outputs for School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University


Land surface dynamics of global dust emission schemes to improve climate change projections
Project Background 
Terrestrial mineral dust emission has a profound and pervasive impact on Earth’s systems and future climate projections. However, its net global impact (cooling or warming) is still debated and dust load ranges from 10-60% of dust emissions. The uncertainty in net global impact is caused by the sensitivity of global dust emission schemes (GDESs) to land surface dynamics of natural variation and anthropogenic disturbance. The GDESs unrealistically assume: i) the land surface is homogeneous over cover types and static over time; ii) soil surfaces have an infinite supply of loose erodible material. The reality is that land use, land cover and land management has changed considerably since e.g., the onset of agriculture and that the supply of erodible material at the soil surface is limited by physical, chemical or biological crusts and seals. The existing GDEs are coupled to global climate models but paradoxically dust emission and the feedback and interactions in the terrestrial ecosystem are omitted from Earth System Models (ESM). Consequently, ESM outcomes are very likely to be more uncertain than currently recognised, particularly in drylands highly susceptible to wind erosion and dust emission. 

Project Aims and Methods 
A recently developed global dust emission scheme (GDEs) has introduced land surface dynamics and the new approach offers considerable potential for developing a first approximation for the supply-limitation of dust emission. The first stage of the project is to develop that supply-limited parameterisation and to demonstrate the impact that this new approach has on GDEs. The second stage of the project will be to introduce the GDEs in to an Earth System Model and to progressively develop the feedback and interactions of wind erosion and dust emission on the terrestrial ecosystem. For example, we expect that the loss of soil by wind erosion and dust emission will remove preferentially soil nutrients and soil organic carbon, change the soil fertility, lower the soil surface and change the soil profile, change the soil surface albedo, the infiltration rate and moisture holding capacity and influence vegetation and crop productivity. With the implementation in the ESM of these feedbacks and interactions we then intend to investigate the impact of change in land cover / use / management and subsequently understand the significance of feedback and interactions in fully-coupled climate change projections. 

Candidate Requirements 
We are looking for someone with an interest in cutting across traditional discipline boundaries of remote sensing, soil geomorphology and climate change and who has a demonstrated ability to develop computer code. 

The student will work closely with the lead supervisor to develop the supply-limited parameterisation. This stage will be used to train in computer code and algorithm development and to balance the fidelity of process representation with the necessary parsimony for the large-scale modelling. We anticipate that the student will work with our existing overseas collaborators for model development and verification using field measurements and dust source verification from satellite remote sensing.

Chappell, A. et al. (2017) Improving ground cover monitoring for wind erosion assessment using lateral cover derived from MODIS BRDF parameters. Rem. Sens. Environment, 204: 756-768. 
Chappell, A. and Webb, N (2016) Using albedo to reform wind erosion modelling, mapping and monitoring. Aeolian Research 23, 63–78. 
Darmenova, K. et al. (2009) Development of a physically based dust emission module within the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model: Assessment of dust emission parameterizations and input parameters for source regions in Central and East Asia. J. Geoph. Res. 114(D14201). 
Webb NP et al. (2017) Enhancing Wind Erosion Monitoring and Assessment for U.S. Rangelands. Rangelands, 39: 85-96.


Supporting the reduction of road traffic accidents due to dust storm reduced visibility with the implementation of a new dust emission model

Supporting air quality (particulate matter < 10 microns; PM10) modelling across the USA and New South Wales, Australia with the implementation of a new dust emission model.