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Max Planck director Markus Reichstein receives US award for research on environmental change
July 30, 2018



Awardee Prof. Markus Reichstein (Photo: V. Jähnert, (c) MPI-BGC)
Prof. Markus Reichstein of Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, will receive the 2018 Piers J. Sellers award of the American Geophysical Union. The award recognizes mid-career scientist for outstanding contributions in the area of global environmental change. Reichstein is honoured with this award for his innovative approaches to quantifying and understanding the exchanges of energy, water and carbon between land and atmosphere at the global scale. Reichstein especially tackles the questions on how these exchanges are affected by climate variability and human activity, by using novel methods that combine computer science and ecology.

Prof. Markus Reichstein, Max Planck director and head of the department Biogeochemical Integration at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, has been selected as the 2018 Piers J. Sellers Mid-Career Award recipient by the American Geophysical Union and its Global Environmental Change Section.

Markus Reichstein is one of the world leaders in quantifying and understanding the exchanges of energy, water and carbon between land and atmosphere on a global scale, especially how these are affected by climate variability and human activity. In this area, Reichstein made breakthrough contributions by creating a global synthesis of data from flux towers, and integrating these data together with information from a range of other data streams such as remote sensing into models that extrapolate land-atmosphere exchange from local to global scales. Using these methods, his group published the first empirical global estimates of plant productivity, identified recent temporal trends in the global evapotranspiration record, and demonstrated how extreme weather events influence overall patterns in net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide, latent and sensible heat.

In 2013, Markus Reichstein received the prestigious Max Planck Research Award for his achievements that are documented in numerous highly cited publications. A recent hot topic of Reichstein’s research is the identification and impacts of extreme events, where he also served as Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Special Report on Extreme Events published in 2011.

The award Reichstein will receive is dedicated to the memory of Piers J. Sellers, a highly decorated British-American meteorologist, NASA astronaut and Director of the Earth Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). As a meteorologist, Sellers worked at NASA /GSFC on research into how the Earth's biosphere and atmosphere interact. This work involved climate system computer modelling and field work utilising aircraft, satellites and ground support input. He later joined the astronaut corps and was a veteran of three space shuttle missions. Sellers died in December 2016 at the age of 61.

Webpage AGU Piers J. Sellers Award
Publication of AGU awardees




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