Research groups


Research Groups in Department Earth System Analysis

Earth as a planet is currently in an unusually long and stable interglacial period. The dominant force for change in the present anthropocene is human activity, which is altering the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces. This activity consists not only of the emission of greenhouse gases but also of direct large-scale impacts on the land and marine biosphere.

Working Groups

Research conducted in Research Department “Earth System Analysis”  (RD1) comprises six working groups and a joint model development group, each headed by experienced scientists. These working groups are grouped in two thematic research areas. The objective of ‘Interactions in the Earth system’, coordinated by Stefan Rahmstorf, is to improve our understanding of the Earth system in the light of the planetary boundaries. The ‘Human Habitat and Integrity of the Biosphere’ research area is coordinated by Wolfgang Lucht and aims at coherently investigating the central role of the ecosphere for Earth’s biogeochemical and hydrological cycles and its integrity in the light of planetary boundaries.

The working groups are not completely independent research units but coordinated in some of their work across the department, especially to jointly provide the foundations for POEM.


The FutureLab Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene (ERA-lab), which is hosted in RD1, also drives this research forward with the goal of outlining the properties of, and pathways towards, a stabilized Earth system in the Anthropocene. It  is dedicated to assessing the risk of cascading interactions of tipping elements in the Earth System and providing a framework for conceptualising, monitoring and modelling of Earth system resilience.