Earth System Modes of Operation (ESMO)


Earth System Modes of Operation (ESMO)

About the working group

We investigate the state of the coupled Earth system in the past and in the future. We explore a wide range of research topics, including past climate change and biodiversity loss, the co-evolution of the climate and Earth's biosphere, the stability of Earth-system components, trajectories of the Earth system in the Anthropocene, shifts in oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns, and the increase of extreme events in a warming world.

Key questions

  • What can we learn from past hothouse periods and biodiversity crises about the future of the Earth system in the Anthropocene?
  • How has the Atlantic ocean circulation evolved in the past and how will it change in the future?
  • What are the causes and impacts of more frequent weather extremes in a warming world?
  • What are the potential future trajectories of the Earth system under continued human forcing?

Related Projects

Team members

Julia Brugger
Mona Bukenberger
Dr. Levke Caesar

Prof. Dim Coumou

Giorgia Di Capua

Dr. habil. Georg Feulner
Dr. Matthias Hofmann

Dr. Willem Huiskamp

Dr. Kai Kornhuber

Dr. Marlene Kretschmer

Jan Landwehrs
Dr. Eftychia Rousi

Selected publications

  • Hofmann M., Mathesius S., Kriegler E., van Vuuren D. P., Schellnhuber H. J., 2019, Strong time dependence of ocean acidification mitigation by atmospheric carbon dioxide removal, Nature Communications, 10, 5592, doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13586-4
  • Caesar L., Rahmstorf S., Robinson A., Feulner G., Saba V., 2018, Observed fingerprint of a weakening Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation, Nature, 556, 191-196. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0006-5
  • Petoukhov V., Petri S., Kornhuber K., Thonicke K., Coumou D., Schellnhuber H. J., 2018, Alberta wildfire 2016: Apt contribution from anomalous planetary wave dynamics, Scientific Reports, 8, 12375. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-30812-z
  • Feulner G., 2017, Formation of most of our coal brought Earth close to global glaciation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, 11333-11337. doi:10.1073/pnas.1712062114
  • Brugger J., Feulner G., Petri S., 2017, Baby, it's cold outside: Climate model simulations of the effects of the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous, Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 419-427. doi:10.1002/2016GL072241
  • Feulner G., Hallmann C., Kienert H., 2015: Snowball cooling after algal rise, Nature Geoscience, 8, 659-662. doi:10.1038/ngeo2523
  • Rahmstorf S., Box J.E., Feulner G., Mann M.E., Robinson A., Rutherford S., Schaffernicht E.J., 2015: Exceptional twentieth-century slowdown in Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation, Nature Climate Change, 5, 475-480. doi:10.1038/nclimate2554