Our research aims to understand how the whole Earth functions as one complex system that is strongly shaped by interactions, what the role of life is within this system, and how humans alter it. We approach our research from a perspective by which we view the Earth as a power plant that generates energy out of the incident solar radiation. This energy maintains the winds in the atmosphere, the currents within the world’s oceans, and the global biogeochemical cycles, such as the hydrological cycle. We use thermodynamics in our research to determine the limits on energy conversion rates of Earth system processes. We apply this approach to a range of different topics within Earth system science, for instance to better understand the role of life in the evolution of the Earth system, to describe changes in biogeochemical cycles with simple approaches, or to quantify the natural limits of renewable energy.
Energy conversions within the Earth system are central to a range of topics, ranging from basic questions regarding the drivers of geochemical cycles, the role of life to the limits of renewable energy.
More information on our research is found here.