Leibniz PhD Award for Catrin Ciemer

02.12.2019 - Physicist Catrin Ciemer has been awarded the Leibniz Doctoral Prize for her outstanding doctoral thesis. The prize is awarded annually for the best doctoral theses from Leibniz Institutes in the categories humanities and social sciences as well as natural and technical sciences. The award-winning theses must be distinguished not only by an outstanding evaluation but also by their interdisciplinary significance, application relevance and publication in scientific journals or presentations at scientific conferences. This year's prizewinners were selected from almost 900 doctoral theses completed at Leibniz Institutes in 2018.
Leibniz PhD Award for Catrin Ciemer
Catrin Ciemer at the award ceremony at the annual meeting of the Leibniz Association. Photo: David Ausserhofer

In her doctoral thesis "Complex systems analysis of changing rainfall regimes in South America and their implications for the Amazon rainforest", Catrin Ciemer dealt with the effects of changes in the amount and frequency of precipitation in the Amazon and the future development of the rainforest under the conditions of climate change. By applying the concept of complex networks, she succeeded for the first time in accurately predicting droughts in the Amazon region up to one year in advance. Catrin Ciemer also investigated the resilience of vegetation in tropical South America. She was able to prove that, contrary to previous assessments, this is not constant, but can increase substantially in corresponding areas due to a long-term training effect of the annual differences in precipitation.

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