This map shows the changes in sea surface temperature during the 1997-98 El Nino (credit: NASA)

Before I got the writing bug, I studied for a PhD at Reading University’s Meteorology department and at LOCEAN in Paris. I researched El Niño – the ocean warming that takes place in the tropical Pacific Ocean once every 2-7 years, affecting weather patterns around the globe.

My focus was on the role of the atmosphere in El Niño. During an El Niño, the atmosphere can either strengthen or dampen the ocean temperatures via positive and negative feedbacks.

I calculated these feedbacks in observations and climate models, in order to understand the feedback mechanisms and try to explain why climate models struggle to simulate realistic El Niños.

There’s a lot of work going into improving these climate models, and my research was just a tiny piece of the jigsaw. Ultimately, better climate models will help scientists to make more accurate predictions of how the Earth’s climate will change in the decades to come.

Publications:

  • Lloyd, J. et al., 2012. The Role of Atmosphere Feedbacks during ENSO in the CMIP3 Models. Part III: The Shortwave Flux Feedback. Journal of Climate, 25 (12), 4275-4293 [pdf].
  • Lloyd, J. et al., 2011. The Role of Atmosphere Feedbacks during ENSO in the CMIP3 Models. Part II: Using AMIP Runs to Understand the Heat Flux Feedback Mechanisms. Climate Dynamics, 37 (7-8), 1271-1292 [pdf].
  • Lloyd, J. et al., 2009. The Role of Atmosphere Feedbacks during ENSO in the CMIP3 Models. Atmospheric Science Letters, 10, 3, 170-176 [pdf].