Max Planck Gesellschaft

Jasper Denissen

PhD Student in Hydrology-Biosphere-Climate Interactions in the Biogeochemical Integration Department
Room: C1.014 (tower)
Phone: +49 3641 576224
Email: jdenis@bgc-jena.mpg.de


PhD topic

Water- versus energy-controlled vegetation modulates climate and related extremes
Terrestrial ecosystems are essential for human life, as they provide several key services, such as food and water security, the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 and evaporative cooling. Healthy ecosystems perform photosynthesis, during which the plants’ stomatal apertures are open to take up CO2 and evaporate water, thereby cooling the atmosphere. This way, ecosystems connect the energy and water balances through transpiring, therefore directly affecting the partitioning of surface heat fluxes: All the energy available at the land surface that is not used to evaporate water, is used to heat the air directly above the land surface. How much of the available energy is used to evaporate water, the evaporative fraction (EF), can theoretically be divided into water- and energy-limited evaporative regimes, which are characterized by different sensitivities to its main drivers (soil moisture, air temperature and incoming radiation, Budyko, 1974, Seneviratne et al., 2010). In water-limited conditions, when soil moisture exceeds the wilting point, plant transpiration typically is sensitive to soil moisture; any additional increases in soil moisture will further increase plant transpiration and the EF. Energy-limited conditions are reached when soils are so wet that the so-called critical soil moisture (CSM) is exceeded and any additional increases in soil moisture no longer affect plant transpiration, rendering it dependent on whether energy is available or not. This transition matters, as it separates water-limited conditions, where soil moisture can impact the near-surface temperature, from energy-limited conditions, where near-surface temperature and incoming radiation impact the evaporation of water. This way, the evaporative regime at hand modulates heat waves and other weather extremes. Therefore, understanding this transition and the related change of causality between the land surface and near-surface weather and representing them well in Climate Models is vital for projections of ecosystem water and/or energy limitations and related climate/weather extremes.

Within this context, we answer the overarching question “How does water versus energy limited vegetation modulate climate and related extremes?” by answering three underlying research questions (RQ’s) with five research articles

  1. What is the role of soil moisture for evaporative regimes?
  2. How do evaporative regimes vary in space and time?
  3. How do evaporative regimes affect climate extremes?

Research interests

  • Land-atmosphere interactions: Distinguishing water- and energy-limited conditions of the biosphere and related transitions
  • Multi-variate analysis: Using data from various sources (satellite, weather balloons, reanalysis, Climate Models)
  • Boundary Layer Processes How the land surface state influences boundary layer characteristics

Academic background

  • 02/2018 - present: PhD in the Biogeochemical Integration, Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany. Affiliated with Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands.
  • 01/2015 - 08/2017: MSc Earth & Environment at the Wageningen University
  • 09/2016 - 02/2017: MSc thesis at MPI-C, Mainz: The effect of cloud-core area fraction on convective transport by cumulus convection in EMAC
  • 09/2010 - 12/2014: BSc Soil, Water, Atmosphere at the Wageningen University

Publications

  • Denissen, J. M. C., Teuling, A. J., Balsamo, G., Yu, X. and Orth, R.: Future ecosystem drying fuels hot temperature extremes. In preparation.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Teuling, A. J., Pitman, A. J., Koirala, S., Migliavacca, M., Li, W., Reichstein, M., Winkler, A. J., Zhan, C. and Orth, R.: Widespread shift from ecosystem energy to water limitation with climate change. Nature Climate Change, under review.
  • Kroll, J.*, Denissen, J. M. C.*, Migliavacca, M., Li, W., Hildebrandt, A., and Orth, R.: Spatially varying relevance of hydrometeorological hazards for vegetation productivity extremes, Biogeosciences, 19, 477–489, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-19-477-2022, 2022.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Orth, R., Wouters, H., Miralles, D. G., van Heerwaarden, C. C., Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J. and Teuling, A. J.: Soil moisture signature in global weather balloon soundings. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, 4(1):1–8, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41612-021-00167-w, 2021.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Teuling, A. J., Reichstein, M. and Orth, R.. Critical soil moisture derived from satellite observations over Europe. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125(6):e2019JD031672, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JD031672, 2020.

*: equally contributing authors


Conference abstracts

  • Denissen, J. M. C., Teuling, A. J., Balsamo, G. and Orth, R.: Shift towards ecosystem water limitation exacerbates hot temperature extremes, EGU General Assembly 2022, online, 23-27 May 2022, EGU-22-5787, 2022. (Submitted)
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Teuling, A. J., Pitman, A. J., Koirala, S., Migliavacca, M., Li, W., Reichstein, M., Winkler, A. J., Zhan, C. and Orth, R.: Increase in global ecosystem water limitation with warming temperatures, AGU Fall Meeting 2021, hybrid, 13-17 Dec 2021, H25L-1176, 2021.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Teuling, A.J., Li, W., Reichstein, M., Pitman, A.J. and Orth, R.: Future trends in global water vs. energy-controlled evaporative regimes, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19-30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3166, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-3166, 2021.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Orth, R., Wouters, H., Miralles, D. G., van Heerwaarden, C. C., Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J. and Teuling, A. J.: Soil moisture signature in global weather balloon soundings, Land-Atmosphere Interactions workshop, online, 10-11 June 2021, 2021.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Orth, R., Wouters, H., Miralles, D. G., van Heerwaarden, C. C., Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, J. and Teuling, A. J.: Soil moisture control on the atmospheric boundary layer, Nederlands Aardwetenschappelijk Congres (NACGEO) 2021, online, 8-9 April 2021, 2021.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Wouters, H., Orth, R., Miralles, D., and Teuling, A.J..: What balloon soundings can tell about surface flux partitioning, EGU General Assembly 2020, online, 4-8 May 2020, EGU2020-15661, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-15661, 2020.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Orth, R., Reichstein, M. and Teuling, R.: Characteristic soil moisture range transitioning between energy and water limitation of the biosphere, EGU General Assembly 2019, Vienna, Austria, 7-12 Apr, EGU2019-9884, https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2019/EGU2019-9884-1.pdf, 2019.
  • Denissen, J. M. C., Orth, R., Reichstein, M. and Teuling, R.: Characteristic soil moisture range transitioning between energy and water limitation of the biosphere, Earth System PhD Conference 2019, Jena, Germany, 13-15 March 2019, http://www.imprs-gbgc.de/espc2019/Session1.html, 2019.
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