Max Planck Society
Max Planck Institut for Biogeochemistry

Biospheric Theory and Modelling

Dr. Axel Kleidon
Research Group Leader

Phone: +49 (0)3641 57 - 6217

Group webpage

Theoretical approaches and numerical simulation models for investigating biogeochemical cycles within the Earth system

Our Biospheric Theory and Modelling Group develops and uses theoretical approaches and numerical simulation models to investigate the role of biota in driving global geochemical cycles within the Earth system. We use these models to reproduce and explain observed geographic variation in terrestrial vegetation and in fluxes of energy, water, carbon, and other elements in both the present-day and Earth’s past evolution, and to evaluate the consequences of human actions.

Easy-to-understand fact sheet of the group (pdf)


  • Thermodynamics of the Earth System
  • Land Surface Dynamics
  • The Diverse Biosphere

Selected publications

L.M. Miller, F. Gans, A. Kleidon (2011) Estimating maximum global land surface wind power extractability and associated climatic consequences, Earth Syst. Dynam. 2. 1-12, doi:10.5194/esd-2-1-2011.

A Kleidon, 2010. Life, hierarchy, and the thermodynamic machinery of planet Earth, Physics of Life Reviews, 7, 424-460.

B. Reu, R. Proulx, K. Bohn, J. Dyke, A. Kleidon, R. Pavlick, S. Schmidtlein (2010) The role of climate and plant functional trade-offs in shaping global biome and biodiversity patterns. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 20: 570–581. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00621.x

Porada, P., Kleidon, A., Schymanski, S. J., (2011) Entropy production of soil hydrological processes and its maximisation, Earth Syst. Dynam., 2, 179-190, doi:10.5194/esd-2-179-2011

S. Arens, A. Kleidon (2011) Eco-hydrological versus supply-limited weathering regimes and the potential for biotic enhancement of weathering at the global scale, Applied Geochemistry, 26, S274-S278. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2011.03.079

Wind mills in Coppanz, Thuringia (photo: Axel Kleidon) River delta, New Zealand (photo: A.Kriewel, Colza field, Naumburg, Saxonia-Anhalt (photo: Susanne Hermsmeier) Hurricane Isabel approaching America' East Coast seen by NOAA satellite (photo: NASA, Amazon rain forest (photo: Tara Massad)
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