IMPRS course 'Biogeochemical cycles in the Earth system - an overview'

  • Start: Mar 4, 2024
  • End: Mar 28, 2024

1.  General information

Date: March 4-6, March 13, and March 28, 2024
Location: B0.002, MPI-BGC
Teacher: Sönke Zaehle
Category: Courses related to BGC cycles - Overview course
1.0 CP for the whole course

Goal of the module is an overview over the global Earth System, its major components (Atmosphere, ocean, land surfaces and cryosphere), their interactions through exchanges of energy, momentum and materials, and the major physical, chemical and biological processes controlling these exchanges. A special emphasis is given to the role of the global cycles of biogeochemical elements and their modifications in the context of global change.

2.  Prerequisites

Please indicate in the registration form if you can bring a laptop to the course (for the practical part). You will need the Wolfram Mathematica CDF Player and a web browser. Alternatively, you need on your laptop a working version of Python 3 accessible through Jupyter notebooks.

3.  Preliminary outline

L = Lecture, D = Demonstration, G = Group work

Date & Time

March 4

09:00-12:00 L

  • Introduction - Overview of Earth System
  • Components and processes in the Earth System (atmosphere, ocean, land surfaces, water cycle)
  • Fundamental scientific questions
  • Energy balance
13:00-15:00 L + G
  • Exercises with simple energy balance model
  • Feedback calculus
  • Daisy-world
  • Bifurcations and chaos
  • Introduction to BGC modeling
March 5

09:00-12:00 L

  • Carbon cycle
  • Ocean carbon cycle
  • Land carbon cycle
13:00-15:00 L + G
  • Modeling biogeochemical cycles - simple box models
  • Exercises with simple carbon cycle model
March 6

09:00-12:00 L

  • Oxygen cycle
  • Isotopes of carbon and oxygen (13C, radiocarbon, 18O, 17O)
  • Comprehensive carbon cycle modelling
  • Feedbacks between carbon cycle and climate
14:00-16:00 L + G
  • Exercises with simple coupled global carbon cycle - climate model
March 13

09:00-12:00 L

  • Cycle of methane
  • Elementary atmospheric chemistry
13:00-15:00 L
  • Earth System History
  • How do we know what climate was like in the past?
  • Co-evolution of climate and atmosphere — Faint young sun paradox
  • Snowball earth and the C-rock cycle
  • Last 50 million years (descent into ice age)
  • Glacial-interglacial cycles
  • Holocene climate variations
March 28

09:00-12:00 L + G

  • Cycles of essential nutrients: N, S, P
  • Comprehensive Earth System models
  • Global change
  • Climate Engineering

13:00-15:00 D

  • presentation and discussion of the Earth System science questions1

1 During the course a few Earth System science questions will be posed, which the participants are asked to work on in groups during the the course. Each group will present the context of the question, the approach in trying to answer it and the results during the session on a separate day (tba). More details will be announced in the course.

5.  Registration

Please register here.

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