PD Dr. rer. nat. habil. Norbert Marwan

Deputy Head of Research Department

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Complex systems, nonlinear data analysis (recurrence plots, complex networks, 3D image analysis), time series analysis of irregularly sampled time series, interdisciplinary applications with focus on Earth science, paleoclimatology, speleology.

Group leader of working group Development of advanced time series analysis techniques.

PIK-wide seminar series

Paleoclimate and Long-term Climate Evolution SeminarA cross-departmental quasi-monthly meeting to bring together early career and senior scientists that work on extremes research at PIK.
Climate and Weather Extremes SeminarA cross-departmental quasi-monthly meeting to bring together early career and senior scientists working on paleoclimate and long-term climate evolution at PIK.



Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2614
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


Additional affiliation

Institute of Geosciences
University of Potsdam

Institute of Physics and Astronomy
University of Potsdam


For contacting me by email, please encrypt your messages using my » public pgp key.

  • 1999 Physics: Univ of Technology Dresden
  • 2003 PhD Physics: Univ of Potsdam
  • 2019 Habil Geoscience: Univ of Potsdam

Research highlights

  1. Development of the new time series analysis framework of recurrence networks, their use for detection of regime transitions and applications in physiology and climate.
  2. Development of recurrence based coupling analysis, significance assessment of recurrence based data analysis, and recurrence analysis for high-dimensional systems with applications in cardio-respiratory systems, global warming, and monsoon systems.
  3. Complex network analysis of climate data, in particular of extreme states. Identification of characteristic spatio-temporal patterns and teleconnections in monsoon systems as well as development of a prediction scheme for extreme rainfall using the network approach.
  4. Multiscale approach for complex network analysis.
  5. Theoretical justification of complex networks as representatives of atmospheric and ocean circulation. Boundary corrections for spatially embedded networks.
  6. Framework for age-depth modelling of palaeoclimate proxy records and introduction of an “absolute time scale” by transferring dating uncertainties into the proxy domain.
  7. Introduction of the "Transfer cost time series" (TACTS) approach for analysing time series with irregular sampling.
  8. Development of the concept of basin stability for complex networks and application in power grid stability.

Selected publications

(full list: https://www.pik-potsdam.de/~marwan/publications.php)

  1. N. Marwan, M. C. Romano, M. Thiel, J. Kurths: Recurrence Plots for the Analysis of Complex Systems, Physics Reports, 438(5–6), 237–329 (2007).
  2. N. Marwan, J. F. Donges, Y. Zou, R. V. Donner, J. Kurths: Complex network approach for recurrence analysis of time series, Physics Letters A, 373(46), 4246–4254 (2009).
  3. J. F. Donges, R. V. Donner, M. H. Trauth, N. Marwan, H. J. Schellnhuber, J. Kurths: Nonlinear detection of paleoclimate-variability transitions possibly related to human evolution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(51), 20422–20427 (2011).
  4. D. J. Kennett, S. F. M. Breitenbach, V. V. Aquino, Y. Asmerom, J. Awe, J. U. L. Baldini, P. Bartlein, B. J. Culleton, C. Ebert, C. Jazwa, M. J. Macri, N. Marwan, V. Polyak, K. M. Prufer, H. E. Ridley, H. Sodemann, B. Winterhalder, G. H. Haug: Development and Disintegration of Maya Political Systems in Response to Climate Change, Science, 338(6108), 788–791 (2012).
  5. N. Boers, B. Bookhagen, H. M. J. Barbosa, N. Marwan, J. Kurths, J. A. Marengo: Prediction of extreme floods in the eastern Central Andes based on a complex networks approach, Nature Communications, 5, 5199 (2014).
  6. N. Molkenthin, K. Rehfeld, N. Marwan, J. Kurths: Networks from Flows – From Dynamics to Topology, Scientific Reports, 4(4119), 1–5 (2014).
  7. H. E. Ridley, Y. Asmerom, J. U. L. Baldini, S. F. M. Breitenbach, V. V. Aquino, K. M. Prufer, B. J. Culleton, V. Polyak, F. A. Lechleitner, D. J. Kennett, M. Zhang, N. Marwan, C. G. Macpherson, L. M. Baldini, T. Xiao, J. L. Peterkin, J. Awe, G. H. Haug: Aerosol forcing of the position of the intertropical convergence zone since ad 1550, Nature Geoscience, 8, 195–200 (2015).
  8. J. Runge, V. Petoukhov, J. F. Donges, J. Hlinka, N. Jajcay, M. Vejmelka, D. Hartman, N. Marwan, M. Paluš, J. Kurths: Identifying causal gateways and mediators in complex spatio-temporal systems, Nature Communications, 6, 8502 (2015)
  9. D. Eroglu, F. H. McRobie, I. Ozken, T. Stemler, K.-H. Wyrwoll, S. F. M. Breitenbach, N. Marwan, J. Kurths: See-saw relationship of the Holocene East Asian-Australian summer monsoon, Nature Communications, 7, 12929 (2016).
  10. B. Goswami, N. Boers, A. Rheinwalt, N. Marwan, J. Heitzig, S. F. M. Breitenbach, J. Kurths: Abrupt transitions in time series with uncertainties, Nature Communications, 9, 48 (2018).
  11. Y. Zou, R. V. Donner, N. Marwan, J. F. Donges, J. Kurths: Complex network approaches to nonlinear time series analysis, Physics Reports, 787, 1–97 (2019).
  12. T. Westerhold, N. Marwan, A. J. Drury, D. Liebrand, C. Agnini, E. Anagnostou, J. S. K. Barnet, S. M. Bohaty, D. De Vleeschouwer, F. Florindo, T. Frederichs, D. A. Hodell, A. E. Holbourn, D. Kroon, V. Lauretano, K. Littler, L. J. Lourens, M. Lyle, H. Pälike, U. Röhl, J. Tian, R. H. Wilkens, P. A. Wilson, J. C. Zachos: An astronomically dated record of Earth's climate and its predictability over the last 66 million years, Science, 369(6509), 1383–1387 (2020).
  13. M. Singh, R. Krishnan, B. Goswami, A. D. Choudhury, P. Swapna, R. Vellore, A. G. Prajeesh, N. Sandeep, C. Venkataraman, R. V. Donner, N. Marwan, J. Kurths: Fingerprint of volcanic forcing on the ENSO–Indian monsoon coupling, Science Advances, 6, eaba8164 (2020).

University of Potsdam, Institute of Geoscience

  • GEW-DAP02 Nonlinear Data Analysis Concepts
  • Data Management in the Geosciences

Past and current

International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, Frontiers in Physics (Interdisciplinary Physics), Frontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics (Dynamical Systems), Journal of Chaos, Entropy

Guest editor

Chaos, The European Physical Journal ST, Springer Series in Complexity, Springer Proceedings in Mathematics and Statistics, Quaternary Science Reviews

Cave research

Regular cave research camps in the Sägistal in the Swiss Alps (International Research Group Alpine Karst – ISAAK).

Research activities around the world.

Water Sampling in the Bleßberg Cave.
Water sampling in Bleßberg cave, Thuringia
(Photo: N. Marwan)
(Author: Christian Luethi)
Rigging of a cave pit in the Swiss
Alps (Photo: Christian Luethi)
Descend in the Eispalast, Sagistal, Bernese Oberland (2010).
Research in an ice cave in Swiss Alps
(Photo: Sebastian Breitenbach)
(Author: Nicole Wächter)
Ascent in cave Oberländer in Swiss
Alps (Photo: Nicole Wächter)
Collecting water samples and measuring water parameters in the Waipuna cave, New Zealand, during fieldwork. The monitoring of recent cave environment parameters helps in understanding the variation of palaeoclimate proxies derived from stalagmites.
Sampling tour in Waipuna cave, New Zealand
(Photo: N. Marwan)
Cave "Krem Mawmluh" in the Meghalaya district of India.  (Photo: Norbert Marwan, 2007)
Krem Mawmluh, Cherrapunji, India (Photo: N. Marwan)
(Author: Nicole Wächter)
Descent in cave Oberländer
(Photo: Nicole Wächter)