Max Planck Gesellschaft

--- Former member ---

Christian Beer

Scientist, Leader of the group Terrestrial Ecosystem Modelling
room: C1.016 (tower)
phone: +49 3641 576281
fax: +49 3641 577200
email: cbeer(at)

I recently moved to
Stockholm University
Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM)
phone: +4686747387

Research Interests:

  1. Environmental controls of the terrestrial carbon balance.
    • Ecosystem's response to a changing climate variability and extreme events.
    • High-latitude land-atmosphere interactions, in particular soil carbon vulnerability
  2. Integration of process-based simulated and observed spatial details of vegetation functioning and structure such as land cover or above-ground biomass.
  3. Interactions between terrestrial carbon and water cycles
    • Impact of soil thermal dynamics on vegetation function and structure in permafrost regions.
    • Diagnostics of current carbon assimilation on land by utilising the terrestrial water cycle (inherent water-use efficiency concept).
  4. Soil carbon pathways
    • Kinetics and environmental controls of soil carbon decomposition
    • Interactions between and importance of biotic and abiotic factors


Duration Name
2009-2013 EU FP7 CP CARBO-Extreme
2009-2011 ESA Data-User Element Permafrost
2010-2014 Marie-Curie Training Network GREENCYCLES-II
2011-2015 EU FP7 IP PAGE21
2011-2012 BMBF International Research Infrastructure Sib-Lab
2013-2016 BMBF Verbund "CARBO-Perm"

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

Climate-ecosystem relations in the boreal zone and Arctic: thermal dynamics, permafrost hydrology, and impact on the vegetation

Beer, C., W. Lucht, D. Gerten, K. Thonicke, and C. Schmullius (2007), Effects of soil freezing and thawing on vegetation carbon density in Siberia - A modeling analysis with the LPJ-DGVM, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, VOL. 21, GB1012, doi:10.1029/2006GB002760.

Beer, C., W. Lucht, C. Schmullius, and A. Shvidenko (2006), Small net carbon dioxide uptake by Russian forests during 1981-1999, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L15403, doi:10.1029/2006GL026919.

Quegan, S., Beer, C., Shvidenko, A., McCallum, I., Handoh, I.C., Peylin, P., Rödenbeck, C., Lucht, W., Nilsson, S. and Schmullius, C. (2011), Estimating the carbon balance of central Siberia using a landscape-ecosystem approach, atmospheric inversion and Dynamic Global Vegetation Models. Global Change Biology, 17, 351-365.

Forkel, M., Thonicke, K., Beer, C., Cramer, W., Bartalev, S., Schmullius, C. (2012) Extreme fire events are related to previous-year surface moisture conditions in permafrost-underlain larch forests of Siberia Environmental Research Letters, 044021, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044021

Soil organic carbon dynamics concepts and modeling; mechanistic vertical carbon transport modelling

Reichstein, M. and Beer, C. (2008) Soil respiration across scales: the importance of a model-data integration framework for data interpretation. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 171, 344-354.

Braakhekke, M.C., Beer, C., Hoosbeek, M.R., Reichstein, M., Kruijt, B., Schrumpf, M., Kabat, P. (2011) SOMPROF: a vertically explicit soil organic matter model. Ecological Modelling, 222, 1712-1730.

Braakhekke, M.C., T. Wutzler, C. Beer, J. Kattge, M. Schrumpf, B. Ahrens, I. Schöning, M. R. Hoosbeek, B. Kruijt, P. Kabat, and M. Reichstein (2013) Modeling the vertical soil organic matter profile using Bayesian parameter estimation. Biogeosciences, 10, 399-420.

Concept of inherent water use efficiency and scaling gross primary production from flux tower sites to the globe

Beer, C., M. Reichstein, P. Ciais, G. D. Farquhar, and D. Papale (2007), Mean annual GPP of Europe derived from its water balance, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L05401, doi:10.1029/2006GL029006.
(For download: Code 86320119 both for login ID and password)

Beer, C., P. Ciais, M. Reichstein, D. Baldocchi, B. E. Law, D. Papale, J.-F. Soussana, C. Ammann, N. Buchmann, D. Frank, D. Gianelle, I. A. Janssens, A. Knohl, B. Köstner, E. Moors, O. Roupsard, H. Verbeeck, T. Vesala, C. A. Williams, and G. Wohlfahrt (2009), Temporal and among-site variability of inherent water-use efficiency at the ecosystem level, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, GB2018, doi:10.1029/2008GB003233.

Beer, C., Reichstein, M. , Tomelleri, E., Ciais, P., Jung, M., Carvalhais, N., Rodenbeck, C., Arain, M.A., Baldocchi, D., Bonan, G.B., Bondeau, A., Cescatti, A., Lasslop, G., Lindroth, A., Lomas, M., Luyssaert, S., Margolis, H., Oleson, K.W., Roupsard, O., Veenendaal, E., Viovy, N., Williams, C., Woodward, F.I. and Papale, D. (2010) Terrestrial Gross Carbon Dioxide Uptake: Global Distribution and Covariation with Climate. Science, 329, 834-838.

Spatial pattern of above-ground biomass for parameter constraint in process-oriented models

Santoro, M., Beer, C., Cartus, O., Schmullius, C., Shvidenko, A., McCallum, I., Wegmüller, U., Wiesmann, A. (2011) Retrieval of growing stock volume in boreal forest using hyper-temporal series of Envisat ASAR ScanSAR backscatter measurements, Remote Sensing of Environment, 115, 490-507.

Other publications

Beer, C. (2008) Soil science: The Arctic carbon count. Nature Geoscience, 1(9), 569-570, doi:10.1038/ngeo292.

Selected conference contributions

  • European Geosciences Union, General Assembly 2009, Vienna, Austria: Session BG1.8, Interactions between the carbon and hydrological cycle and the climate system.
  • European Geosciences Union, General Assembly 2008, Vienna, Austria: Session BG2.2, Interactions between the carbon and hydrological cycle and the climate system.

  • Beer, C., Terrestrial Carbon Budgets and Vulnerability of Carbon Pools, Invited to the International Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, San Antonio, TX, USA, 16-19 Oct 2011.
  • Beer, C., N. Carvalhais, P. Oliveira, T. Koelen, G. Alberti, S. Zaehle, M. Reichstein, Effects of climate variability and extreme events on European ecosystem state and function: A CARBO-Extreme modelling study, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 13, EGU2011-10676, 2011.
  • Santoro, M., C. Beer, O. Cartus, C. Schmullius, A. Shvidenko, I. McCallum, U. Wegmüller, A. Wiesmann, The BIOMASAR algorithm: An approach for retrieval of forest growing stock volume using stacks of multi-temporal SAR data, ESA Living Planet Symposium, Oslo, 28 Jun - 2 Jul 2010.
  • Beer, C., M. Reichstein, P. Ciais, E.L. Davin, P.J.C. Oliveira, S. Piao, T. Raddatz, E. Tomelleri, N. Viovy, Spatial pattern of terrestrial carbon dioxide and water vapor coupling, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 14–18 December 2009.
  • Santoro, M., C. Beer, O. Cartus, C. Schmullius, U. Wegmüller, A. Wiesmann, Large-scale retrieval of forest growing stock volume using hyper-temporal ENVISAT ASAR ScanSAR data stacks, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 14–18 December 2009.
  • M. Reichstein, P. Cais, C. Beer, C. Beier, A. Ibrom, I. Janssens, M. Jung, L. Misson, S. Seneviratne, P. Smith, C. Williams and C. Wirth, The role of climate variability and extremes for global terrestrial carbon dynamics: Lessons learnt from multiple observations and experiments, IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 6 042006, doi: 10.1088/1755-1307/6/4/042006, 2009.
  • C. Beer, M. Reichstein, Y. Chen, M. Zhao, Q. Mu, S. Running, Large-scale evapotranspiration derived from MODIS GPP compared to MODIS evapotranspiration and observations. Invited to the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 10-14 December 2007.
  • Beer, C., Schmullius, C., and Lucht, W., Estimating the current carbon balance of Northern Eurasia by incorporating satellite-derived land cover information into a Dynamic Global Vegetation Model, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 7, 10271, 2005.
  • Beer, C., Gerten, D., Thonicke, K., Lucht, W., Schmullius, C., Schaphoff, S., Impact of freeze/thaw processes on the carbon balance in Siberian permafrost regions, Second European Conference on Permafrost, 2nd European Conference on Permafrost, Potsdam, 12-16 March 2005.
  • Beer, C., Skinner, L., Lucht, W., and Schmullius, C., Assimilation of satellite-derived land cover into a process-based terrestrial biosphere model, Proceedings of 2003 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), Toulouse, 21-25 July 2003, ISBN: 0-7803-7930-6

Reviewer for:

  • Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Climate Change, Global Change Biology, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Geophysical Research Letters, Oecologia, New Phytologist, Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, Tellus B, Biogeosciences, International Journal of Climatology, Remote Sensing of Environment, Environmental Research Letters, Forest Ecology and Management, Carbon Balance and Management, Global and Planetary Change
  • European Research Council (ERC), National Science Foundation (NSF), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)


  • WS2009/2010 & WS2011/2012: Skript-basierte Extrapolation von Ökosysteminformationen mit MATLAB in Beispielen, University Jena, School of Chemical and Earth Siences



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