Research group "marine climate research"

Welcome to the working group Marine Climate Research

Team der Arbeitsgruppe Marine Klimaforschung
Team of the working group Marine Climate Research (klick to enlarge)

International and interdisciplinary research

The research group "Marine Climate Research" consists of an international team with sophisticated technical equipment. In the two working groups "Paleoceangraphy and Paleoclimate" and "Paleoclimate Modelling" the groups' members unite expertise in the fields of geology, biogeochemistry, geography, oceanography, physics, paleontology, and numerical modelling to form an interdisciplinary oriented research team.

The team investigates climate processes employing marine proxy data (environmental indicators) and climate model simulations, and also works on the further development of methods.

This research is performed in close collaboration with renowned institutions and attracts funding from national and international programmes like the excelllence initiative of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Sonderforschungsbereich (collaborative research centre) programme of the DFG (German Science Foundation), the Verbundprogramm of the german Ministry for Research and Eductaion (BMBF), and the framework for research and development of the European Comission.

A systematic view on the global environment

The research area of the working group encompasses in particular the investigation of

  • biogenic and mineral matter cycles in the ocean
  • exchange fluxes between continents, ocean, and atmosphere under changing climatic conditions
  • feedbacks between changing matter cycles and changing climate

Thinking from the past into the future

The group's work is focussed on the past, while at the same time keeping in mind the role of the investigated processes in present day climate and their relevance for the future. Using selected periods during the last four million years it is investigated how the climate system operates and which conditions and feedbacks prevailed in the past. E.g. the investigation of earlier warm periods  permits comparisons with the present warm period, and the expected future evolution of climate. Processes on the time scale of a few months (e.g., phytoplankton blooms) over time scales of years (e.g., El Niño/La Niña cycles) up to time scales of centuries (e.g., atmospheric CO2 concentration) and millennia (climatic trends) are investigated.

Combining proxy data and model simulations

The group combines quantititative analyses for organic and inorganic proxies (environmental indicators) from marine sediments with results from coupled atmosphere-ocean-biogeochemistry model (AOBGCM) simulations.

The work on climate proxies is focussed on:

  • molecular organic compounds (e.g. alkenones)
  • isotopic chemical characteristics of skeletons of marine organisms (e.g. foraminifera)
  • elemental ratios of minerals (e.g. Mg/Ca ratio)

These are analysed mainly in the two laboratories of the working group, namely the  biomarker lab and the ICP-mass spectrometry lab.

The climate model simulates (amongst others) the following components:

  • oceanic and atmospheric circulation
  • sea ice
  • marine carbon and nutrient cycles

The focus of the research is on the simultanious investigation of empirical proxies and model simulation results. Employing this approach, knowledge gaps in the individual areas can be closed, with the goal of optimizing reconstruction methods as well as the climate models.