Max Planck Gesellschaft

--- Former member ---

I recently joined ETH Zurich as a PostDoc in Data Science and Climate Phyiscs (Contact:
Please see here:
Up-to-date information on publication list (Google Scholar):
--- frozen 03/2018 ---

Sebastian Sippel

PostDoc, Member of the research group: Empirical Inference of the Earth System
room: C3.017 (tower)
phone: +49 3641 576233
email: ssippel(at)

professional background | my work at BGI | Research interests | Publications | Other

Professional background

03/2018-ongoing PostDoc at ETH Zurich, Climate Physics and Seminar for Statistics
09/2017-ongoing Research scientist at Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research
04/2014-05/2017 PhD Student @ BGI
2014 M. Sc. in Geoecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany
2013 M. Sc. in Environmental Change and Management, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Research Interests:

  • Climatic Extreme events and associated impacts in the biosphere
  • Detection and attribution of extreme events and anomalies in climate and impacts.
  • Data diagnostics and model evaluation using statistical complexity measures

I'm involved in the following ongoing research projects at MPI-BGC

Extreme events in climate and society have worldwide strong impacts on coupled socio-ecological systems. Researchers and societies are challenged by unresolved questions. E3S Extreme Events and Environments from climate to Society is a Future Earth initiative to support global sustainable development .... more about Future Earth´s E3S initiative….

Past Workshop (February 2016): Cross community workshop on Extreme Events and Environments from Climate to Society (E3S)
Session 1: Towards impact-relevant climate extremes metrics
Follow this link for a full description:
Please contact me in case you have questions or interest in the workshop session.


Journal publications


· Mahecha, M. D., Gans, F., Sippel, S., Donges, J. F., Kaminski, T., Metzger, S., Migliavacca, M., Papale, D., Rammig, A., and Zscheischler, J. (2017) Detecting impacts of extreme events with ecological in-situ monitoring networks. Biogeosciences, 14, 4255-4277. doi:10.5194/bg-14-4255-2017.

· Flach, M., Gans, F., Brenning, A., Denzler, J., Reichstein, M., Rodner, E., Bathiany, S., Bodesheim, P., Guanche, Y., Sippel, S., and Mahecha, M. D. (2016) Multivariate Anomaly Detection for Earth Observations: A Comparison of Algorithms and Feature Extraction Techniques. Earth System Dynamics Discussions, 8, 677-696. 10.5194/esd-8-677-2017.

· Sippel, S., Forkel, M., Rammig, A., Thonicke, K., Flach, M., Heimann, M., Otto, F. E. L., Reichstein, M., and Mahecha, M. D. (2017) Contrasting and interacting changes in spring and summer carbon cycle extremes in European ecosystems. Environmental Research Letters, 12(7), 075006. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa7398.

· Ilie, I., Dittrich, P., Carvalhais, N., Jung, M., Heinemeyer, A., Migliavacca, M., Morison, J. I. L., Sippel, S., Subke, J.-A., Wilkinson, M., and Mahecha, M. D. (2017) Reverse engineering model structures for soil and ecosystem respiration: the potential of gene expression programming. Geoscientific Model Development, 10, 3519-3545. doi:10.5194/gmd-10-3519-2017.

· Sippel, S., Zscheischler, J., Mahecha, M. D., Orth, R., Reichstein, M., Vogel, M., and Seneviratne, S. I. (2017) Refining multi-model projections of temperature extremes by evaluation against land–atmosphere coupling diagnostics. Earth System Dynamics, 8, 387-403. doi:10.5194/esd-8-387-2017.

· Sippel, S, Zscheischler, J., Heimann, M., Lange, H., Mahecha, M. D., van Oldenborgh, G. J., Otto, F. E. L., and Reichstein, M. (2016) Have precipitation extremes and annual totals been increasing in the world's dry regions over the last 60 years? Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21, 441-458. doi:10.5194/hess-2016-452.


· Sippel, S., Lange, H., Mahecha, M. D., Hauhs, M., Bodesheim, P., Kaminski, T., Gans, F., and Rosso, O. A. (2016) Diagnosing the Dynamics of Observed and Simulated Ecosystem Gross Primary Productivity with Time Causal Information Theory Quantifiers. PLoS ONE, 11(10), e0164960. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164960.

· Sippel, S., Otto, F. E. L., Flach, M., and van Oldenborgh, G. J. (2016). The Role of Anthropogenic Warming in 2015 Central European Heat Waves. In Herring, S. C., Hoell, A., Hoerling, M. P., Kossin, J. P., Schreck III, C. J., and Stott, P. A. (Eds.), Explaining Extremes of 2015 from a Climate Perspective. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 97(12), S51–S56. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0149.

· Sippel, S., Zscheischler, J., and Reichstein, M. (2016) Ecosystem impacts of climate extremes crucially depend on the timing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(21), 5768-5770. doi:10.1073/pnas.1605667113.

· Sippel, S., Otto, F. E. L., Forkel, M., Allen, M. R., Guillod, B. P., Heimann, M., Reichstein, M., Seneviratne, S. I., Thonicke, K., and Mahecha, M. D. (2016) A novel bias correction methodology for climate impact simulations. Earth System Dynamics, 7, 71-88. doi:10.5194/esd-7-71-2016.


· Sippel, S., Zscheischler, J., Heimann, M., Otto, F. E. L., Peters, J., and Mahecha, M. D. (2015), Quantifying changes in climate variability and extremes: Pitfalls and their overcoming, Geophysical Research Letters, 42(22), 9990–9998. doi:10.1002/2015GL066307.

· Sippel, S., Mitchell, D., Black, M. T., Dittus, A. J., Harrington, L., Schaller, N., and Otto, F. E. L. (2015) Combining large model ensembles with extreme value statistics to improve attribution statements of rare events. Weather and Climate Extremes 9, 25-35. doi:10.1016/j.wace.2015.06.004.

· Sippel, S., Walton, P., and Otto, F. E. L. (2015) Stakeholder perspectives on the attribution of extreme weather events: An explorative enquiry. Weather, Climate and Society 7(3), 224-237. doi:10.1175/WCAS-D-14-00045.1.

· Liu, M., Dannenmann, M., Lin, S., Saiz, G., Yan, G., Yao, Z., Pelster, D., Tao, H., Sippel, S., Tao, Y., Zhang, Y, Zheng, X., Zuo, Q., and Butterbach-Bahl, K. (2015). Ground cover rice production systems increase soil carbon and nitrogen stocks at regional scale. Biogeosciences 12(15), 4831-4840.  doi:10.5194/bg-12-4831-2015.


· Sippel, S. & Otto, F. E. L. (2014) Beyond climatological extremes - assessing how the odds of hydrometeorological extreme events in South-East Europe change in a warming climate. Climatic Change 125, 381-398.  doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1153-9.


· Liu, M., Lin, S., Dannenmann, M., Tao, Y., Saiz, G., Zuo, Q., Sippel, S., Wei, J., Cao, J., Cai, X., and Butterbach-Bahl, K. (2013) Do water-saving ground cover rice production systems increase grain yields at regional scales? Field Crops Research 150, 19–28.  doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2013.06.005.

· Dannenmann, M., Willibald, G., Sippel, S. & Butterbach-Bahl, K. (2011) Nitrogen dynamics at undisturbed and burned Mediterranean shrublands of Salento Peninsula, Southern Italy. Plant and Soil 343(1-2), 5–15. doi:10.1007/s11104-010-0541-9.

Conference Contributions

· Sippel, S.*, Otto, F. E. L., Rammig, A., Reichstein, M., and Mahecha, M. D. (2016) A spring-summer dichotomy in temperate ecosystem productivity extremes in response to changing climate drivers. Oral presentation at 2016 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, 12-16 Dec. link to Abstract.

· Sippel, S.*, Otto, F. E. L., Forkel, M., Allen, M. R., Guillod, B. P., Heimann, M., Reichstein, M., Seneviratne, S. I., Thonicke, K., and Mahecha, M. D. (2016) Evaluation of a physics-preserving bias correction methodology designed for climate impact simulations. Invited oral presentation at 2016 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, 12-16 Dec. link to Abstract.

· Hauhs, M.*, Sippel, S., and Lange, H. (2016) Information Theory Quantifiers as Indicators for Monitoring and Modelling of the Environment. Oral Presentation at XIX Conference Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics and Nonlinear Physics, p. 35, Valdivia, Chile, 5-9 Oct. link to Abstract.

· Sippel, S.* (2016) Towards an "End-to-End" Attribution Framework for Biosphere Variability and Change. Invited Oral Presentation at 13th International Meeting on Statistical Climatology, p. 38, Canmore, Canada. 6-10 Jun. link to Abstract and Slides.

· Guanche Garcia, Y.*, Rodner, E., Flach, M., Sippel, S., Mahecha, M. D., and Denzler, J. (2016) Detecting multivariate biosphere extremes. In A. Banerjee, W. Ding, V. Dy (Eds.), Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Climate Informatics: CI2016. NCAR Technical Note NCAR/TN-529+PROC (pp. 9-12). Boulder: National Center for Atmospheric Research. doi:0.5065/D6K072N6.

· Sippel, S.*, Otto, F. E. L., Forkel, M., Allen, M. R., Guillod, B. P., Heimann, M., Reichstein, M., Seneviratne, S. I., Thonicke, K., and Mahecha, M. D. (2015) A novel bias correction for climate impact simulations. Poster presentation at 2015 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, 14-18 Dec. link to Abstract.

· Lange, H.*, Sippel, S., Mahecha, M., Rosso, O. Thonicke, K., Rolinski, S., Rammig, A. and Beer, C. (2015) The complexity of gross primary productivity in European forests. Natural resources and bioeconomy studies 29/2015, p. 83, Rovaniemi, Finland. May 24–29. ISBN 978-952-326-032-0.

· Sippel, S.*, Zscheischler, J., Heimann, M., Otto, F. E. L. & Mahecha M. (2014) Changes in Large Spatiotemporal Climatic Extreme Events Beyond the Mean Warming Signal, Abstract GC54A-03, Oral presentation at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, 15-19 Dec. link to Abstract.

· Lange, H.*, and Sippel, S. (2014) Chaos, Noise, and an analytical understanding of the Fisher Information. Invited Oral Presentation at XVIII Conference Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics and Nonlinear Physics, p. 29, Maceio, Brasil, 13-17 Oct. link to Abstract.

· Lange, H.* & Sippel, S. (2014) The complexity of carbon flux time series in Europe. EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts 16, 2645. link to Abstract.

Presenting author indicated with an asterisk (*).


statcomp An R-package to calculate statistical complexity and information. Maintained on CRAN and R-Forge: CRAN R-Forge

normalization A collection of R-functions and tutorial to normalize spatio-temporal data.

ensbiascoR Bias correction of large initial condition ensembles through constraint-based resampling. R-Forge


Schülerakademie / Nachhaltigkeitsakademie

2014 Klima und Modelle.

2017 Mit Daten und Modellen das Erdsystem erforschen. Details will follow soon.


I acknowledge PhD-funding by the German National Academic Foundation and MPI-BGC/IMPRS.


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