Department of Biogeochemical Systems                                                 

Sönke Zaehle
Research Scientist
Leader of the Research Group Terrestrial Biosphere Modelling and Data Assimilation

Phone: + 49 3641 576325
Fax: + 49 3641 577300
email: szaehle #

Research Focus:

Use of ecophysiological knowledge to improve key land surface processes in large-scale process-based modelling for a better quantification of land-atmosphere interactions.

Research Interests/Activities:

My research focuses on the use of large-scale process-based ecosystem modelling to understand the complex interactions between land-surface and atmosphere. Such models are powerful tools to quantify biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks mechanisms. However, these models are subject to large uncertainties resulting from incomplete understanding about the controls of key processes. My main interests lie in the quantification of the effects of nutrient availability (mainly nitrogen) on spatio-temporal dynamics of terrestrial carbon cycling, and the use of observational data streams (including plant trait information, in situ measurements, atmospheric concentration measurements, and remote sensing data) to assess and improve these models.

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Current Projects:

- Eclaire (2011-2014)
- GREENCYCLES MC-ITN (2010-2013)
- ENIGMA (2006- )
- Development of a Carbon-Cycle Data Assimilation System around JSBACH

Completed Projects:

- JULIA (2008-2011)
- N-TWO-O (2007-2010)
- CarboEurope-IP (2004-2008): Integration Component
- GREENCYCLES MC-RTN (2005-2008)
- ATEAM (2001-2004)

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since 08/2008Research Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, DE
08/2005-07/2008Experienced Researcher (PostDoc) at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement in Gif sur Yvette, FR, within the GREENCYCLES MC-RTN
04/2005-07/2005Researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam DE
09/2001-04/2005PhD-student at the University of Potsdam / Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam DE
06/2005Doktor rer. nat. (Geoökologie), University of Potsdam, Potsdam, DE.
09/2000 - 08/2001MSc-Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
10/1997 - 09/2000Study of Geoecology at the Institute of Geoecology, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, DE.

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Selected Presentations

Zaehle, S., Friedlingstein, P., Friend, A.D., Thornton P.E., Hickler T. (2010): Using FACE observations to constrain regional to global responses to elevated CO2,95th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Abstract OOS 13-8

Zaehle S., Friedlingstein, P. Friend A.D., (2010): How robust are responses of carbon-nitrogen cycle models to increasing atmospheric [CO2] and climatic changes, Geophysical Research Abstracts, 12: 9150

Zaehle S., Friedlingstein, P. Friend A.D., Prieur V., Schulz, M. (2010) : Effect of historical changes in land-use, N fertiliser application and atmospheric N deposition on terrestrial carbon and nitrogen fluxes, Open Science Conference “Nitrogen and the European greenhouse gas balance”, Solothurn, Switzerland, 3-4 February 2010

Zaehle S., Thornton, P.E. (2009) Impacts of terrestrial N dynamics on the evolution of atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the 21st century, 8th International Carbon Dioxide Conference, Jena, Germany, September 13-19, 2009

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Selected Publications

A. Arneth, S. P. Harrison, S. Zaehle, K. Tsigaridis, S. Menon, P. J. Bartlein, J. Feichter, A. Korhola, M. Kulmala, D. O'Donnell, G. Schurgers, S. Sorvari & T. Vesala (2010). Terrestrial biogeochemical feedbacks in the climate system. Nature Geoscience 3, 525-532, doi:10.1038/ngeo905

Zaehle, S., Friedlingstein, P. and Friend, A.D. (2010): Terrestrial nitrogen feedbacks may accelerate future climate change. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L01401: doi:10.1029/2009GL041345. Editor's highlight

Zaehle, S., Friend, A.D., Friedlingstein, P., Dentener, F., Peylin, P., Schulz M. (2010): Carbon and nitrogen cycle dynamics in the O-CN land surface model: 2. The role of the nitrogen cycle in the historical terrestrial C balance, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 24, GB 1006, doi:10.1029/2009GB003522.

Zaehle, S., Sitch, S., Prentice, C., Liski, J., Cramer, W., Erhard, M., Hickler, T., Smith, B. (2006): The importance of age-related decline in forest NPP for modeling regional carbon balances, Ecological Applications 16(4) 1555-1574.

Zaehle, S., Sitch, S., Smith, B., Hattermann, F. (2005): Effects of parameter uncertainties on the modeling of terrestrial biosphere dynamics, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 19 GB3020, doi:10.1029/2004GB002395.

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"Outside world":

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