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Research group Hydrology-Biosphere-Climate Interactions

Mission | Team | Key Publications | Current Research | Masterarbeits- und Praktikums-Themen | Lecture

This group is funded by the German Research Foundation’s Emmy Noether program. Follow us on Twitter for regular updates!

=== We have open positions! [--> PhD] [--> PostDoc] ===


The understanding of the exchange of energy, water and carbon between land and atmosphere is the keystone to many of the fundamental challenges facing humanity.

The group’s research focuses on the interface of soils, vegetation, and atmosphere. The exchange and feedback processes acting there can affect food production, water availability, and hence economy and society.
In particular, our research is directed to contribute to
(1) a better management of extremes such as droughts and heat waves
(2) improved hydro-meteorological forecasts
(3) more reliable climate change projections

We strive to improve the physical understanding of the Hydrology-Biosphere-Climate system through land surface and climate modelling in combination with observation(-based) data analysis.

Left to right: Xin Yu, Chunhui Zhan, Sungmin O, Rene Orth, Jasper Denissen, Melissa Ruiz-Vasquez, Albrecht Schall Josephin Kroll, Sinikka Paulus, Carla May, Wantong Li, Ekaterina Bogdanovich


Name Position E-mail ( Room
René Orth Group leader rorth C2.022
Sungmin O PostDoc sungmino C1.016
Ekaterina Bogdanovich PhD student emanakh C3.002b
Jasper Denissen PhD student jdenis C1.014
Wantong Li PhD student* wantong C1.008
Sinikka Paulus PhD student* spaulus C1.008
Melissa Ruiz Vasquez PhD student mruiz C2.004
Albrecht Schall PhD student* aschall C3.007
Xin Yu PhD student* xyu C2.004
Chunhui Zhan PhD student* czhan C1.014
Carla May Master student cmay C1.010
Josephin Kroll Bachelor student jkroll C1.024

Group members marked with * are equally members of other research groups

List of former group members

Key Publications

O, S. and R. Orth (2021)
Global soil moisture data derived through machine learning trained with in-situ measurements
Sci. Data, 8, 170, doi: 10.1038/s41597-021-00964-1 [Download Dataset]

Li, W., M. Migliavacca, M. Forkel, S. Walther, M. Reichstein, and R. Orth (2021)
Revisiting global vegetation controls using multi-layer soil moisture
Geophys. Res. Lett., 48(11), e2021GL092856, doi: 10.1029/2021GL092856

Denissen, J.M.C., R. Orth, H. Wouters, D.G. Miralles, C.C. van Heerwaarden, J.-V.-G. de Arellano, and A.J. Teuling (2021)
Soil moisture signature in global weather balloon soundings
npj Clim Atmos Sci, 4, 13, doi: 10.1038/s41612-021-00167-w

O, S., E. Dutra, and R. Orth (2020)
Robustness of process-based versus data-driven modelling in changing climatic conditions
J. Hydrometeorol., 21(9), 1929–1944, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-20-0072.1

Orth, R., and G. Destouni (2018)
Drought reduces blue-water fluxes more strongly than green-water fluxes in Europe
Nature Communications, 9, 3602, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06013-7

Orth, R., E. Dutra, and F. Pappenberger (2016)
Improving weather predictability by including land-surface model parameter uncertainty
Mon. Weather Rev., 144(4), 1551-1569, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0283.1

FULL LIST of Publications

Current Research


Bastos, A., R. Orth, M. Reichstein, P. Ciais, N. Viovy, S. Zaehle, P. Anthoni, A. Arneth, P. Gentine, E. Joetzjer, S. Lienert, T. Loughran, P.C. McGuire, S. O, J. Pongratz, and S. Sitch
Increased vulnerability of European ecosystems to two consecutive extreme summers
Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., doi: 10.5194/esd-2021-19

Kroll, J.*, J.M.C. Denissen*, M. Migliavacca, W. Li, A. Hildebrandt, and R. Orth
Spatially varying relevance of hydrometeorological hazards for vegetation productivity extremes
Biogeosciences Discuss., doi: 10.5194/bg-2021-206


Bogdanovich, E., L. Guenther, M. Reichstein, G. Ruhrmann, and R. Orth
Characterizing hydro-meteorological extremes from a societal perspective

Denissen, J.M.C., A.J. Teuling, W. Li, M. Reichstein, A. Pitman, and R. Orth
Future trends in global water vs. energy-controlled evaporative regimes

Li, W., M. Forkel, M. Migliavacca, M. Reichstein, S. Walther, J. Denissen, and R. Orth
Changing sensitivity of global vegetation productivity to hydro-climate drivers

O, S., A. Bastos, M. Reichstein, W. Li, J.M.C. Denissen, H. Graefen, and R. Orth
Hottest drought temperature anomalies in sub-humid regions

Paulus, S., T.S. El-Madany, R. Orth, J.A. Nelson, A. Hildebrandt, M. Reichstein, A. Carrara, G. Moreno, and M. Migliavacca
Adsorption of water vapor by soil in semi arid ecosystems: reconciling estimates from Lysimeters and Eddy Covariance

Ruiz-Vasquez, M., S. O, G. Balsamo, and R. Orth
Exploring the potential of vegetation information for improving weather forecast performance

Yu, X., R. Orth, M. Reichstein, and A. Bastos
Legacy effects of drought on gross primary productivity from eddy-covariance measurements

Zhan, C., R. Orth, M. Reichstein, M. Migliavacca, S. Zaehle, and A. Winkler
How does increasing CO2 influence the land-atmosphere exchange of carbon and water in response to soil and air dryness?

Masterarbeits- und Praktikums-Themen
(Master-Thesis and Internship topics)

  • Wie nachhaltig ist landwirtschaftliche Bewässerung in Europa? Vergleich von Wasserverbrauch und Angebot
    (How sustainable is irrigation in Europe? Comparing water usage versus water supply)
  • Trockenheiten treffen die Hydrosphäre vor der Biosphäre - spiegeln Klimamodelle das wider?
    (Droughts affect hydrosphere before the biosphere - is this captured by climate models?)
  • Wichtigkeit von Bodenfeuchte im Vergleich zur atmosphärischen Zirkulation for unser(e) Sommerwetter(extreme)
    (Importance of soil moisture versus large-scale circulation in shaping our summer weather (extremes))
  • Wie wichtig war die anfängliche Bodenfeuchte für Überschwemmungen der letzten Jahre in Deutschland und Europa?
    (How important was the initial soil water content for recent floods in Germany and Europe?)

Bei Interesse an einer Masterarbeit oder einem Praktikum in unserer Gruppe bitte einfach eine email mit Lebenslauf an schicken!


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