Dr. Nico Wunderling

Scientist, Postdoctoral Researcher
Wunderling

Nico Wunderling is a PostDoctoral Researcher in the FutureLab on Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene and the Center for Critical Computational Studies. He is also a guest researcher at the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton University in the lab of Simon Levin. His research focuses on interacting tipping elements in the Earth system, ranging from elements in the physical climate system to global ecosystems.

Contact

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 20876
nico.wunderling[at]pik-potsdam.de
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam

ORCID

Since April 2024, I am a shared Post-Doctoral Researcher between the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Center for Critical Computational Studies. Here, my research focuses on interacting tipping elements in the Earth system, ranging from elements in the physical climate system to global ecosystems. I investigate how the stability of these particularly vulnerable components are affected by human activity and might endanger the overall stability of the Earth system. I am also interested in the effects of social sustainability transformations on the risk for dangerous climate tipping events.

For that purpose, I am working with models informed by complex dynamical systems and network science, as well as Earth system models of intermediate complexity (EMICs).

Positions

Education

  • 2017 - 2021: PhD with Prof. Dr. Ricarda Winkelmann and Dr. Jonathan Donges in climate physics at the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Potsdam and the Humboldt University of Berlin
    Topic: Nonlinear dynamics and interactions of tipping elements in the Earth System
  • 2017: Masters in Physics at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • 2014: Bachelors in Physics at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Research stays:

  • February - March 2024: Santa Fe Institute & Princeton University (Lab of S. Levin)
  • March - April & November 2022, March 2023: Lab of S. Levin (Princeton University, United States)
  • January - March 2020: Lab of H. Barbosa (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
  • August - October 2018: Lab of H. Barbosa (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
  • September 2015 - March 2016: Semester and Research Internship abroad at the University of York, United Kingdom

 

Research interests

Topics:

  • Tipping elements in the climate system and the biosphere
  • Interactions between tipping elements
  • Cascading transitions
  • Social/Social-ecological transformations towards sustainability
  • Climate feedbacks and Earth resilience

Methods:

  • Complex systems and network science
  • Nonlinear dynamical systems
  • Ensemble methods
  • Risk assessments
  • Earth System Models of Intermediate Complexity

Accepted/In Review

  • J. Rosser, R. Winkelmann, N. Wunderling, Cryosphere tipping elements decisive for tipping risks and cascading effects in the Earth system, in review (2024).
  • T. Möller*, A. (Ernest) Högner*, C.-F. Schleussner, S. Bien, N.H. Kitzmann, R.D. Lamboll, J. Rogelj, J.F. Donges, J. Rockström, N. Wunderling, Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions critical to limit climate tipping risks, accepted (Nature Communications, 2024). *These authors share the first authorship.
  • S. Loriani*, A. Bartsch*, E. Calamita, J.F. Donges, S. Hebden, M. Hirota, A. Landolfi, T. Nagler, B. Sakschewski, A. Staal, J. Verbesselt, R. Winkelmann, R. Wood, N. Wunderling, Do the GCOS Essential Climate Variables meet the needs?, in review (2024). *These authors share the first authorship.
  • E. Enache, O. Kozak, N. Wunderling, J. Vollmer, Constraining safe and unsafe overshoots in saddle-node bifurcations, in review (2024).
  • N. Wunderling, S. Perri, J. Rockström, M. Oppenheimer, A. Porporato, J.F. Donges, S.A. Levin, W. Barfuss, Concerted efforts of politics, society and science mitigate climate tipping risks in a coupled human-Earth system model, in review (2023).
  • E.K. Smith*, N. Kitzmann*, M. Milkoreit*, R. Winkelmann*, A.-S. Crépin, C. Eder, N. Harring, J. Heitzig, A. Katsanidou, T.M. Lenton, F. Mauelshagen, K. Minor, I.M. Otto, A. Rezai, J. Scheffran, I. Stadelmann-Steffen, R. van der Ploeg, N. Wunderling, J.F. Donges*, Criticality and critical agency in societal tipping processes towards sustainability, in review (2023). *These authors share the first authorship.
  • V. Junquera, M. Schlüter, J. Rocha, S. Levin, D. Rubenstein, N. Wunderling, J.-C. Castella, P. Meyfroidt, Crop booms as regime shifts, accepted (Royal Society Open Science, 2024).

Publications

2024:
2023:
2022:
2021:
2020:

Open Source Software

Reports

2023:

Current funding

  • Center for Critical Computational Studies (Goethe University Frankfurt) and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Planetary Boundaries and Tipping Point Science Initiatives)

Former funding

Lectures and courses

 
  • WS 2023/2024: Co-Speaker in the lecture on "Global sustainability in the Anthropocene", Institute for environmental sciences and geography, University of Potsdam
  • SS 2023: Co-Speaker in the lecture on "Earth System Science & Anthropocene" for the Master's program CLEWS, University of Potsdam
  • WS 2022/2023: Co-Speaker in the lecture on "Global sustainability in the Anthropocene", Institute for environmental sciences and geography, University of Potsdam
  • SS 2022: Co-Speaker in the lecture on "Earth System Science & Anthropocene" for the Master's program CLEWS, University of Potsdam
  • WS 2021/2022: Co-Speaker in the lecture on "Global sustainability in the Anthropocene", Institute for environmental sciences and geography, University of Potsdam
  • 2017-2019: Co-Tutor for the school on "The Earth as a complex dynamical system: from climate change to sustainability transformation", for the German Academic Scholarship Foundation
  • WS 2018/2019: Tutor in the lecture series on "Introduction to Climate Physics", Department of Physics, Potsdam University with Prof. Dr. Ricarda Winkelmann

Supervised students

2024:
  • Tessa Möller (Master student, University of Potsdam, 2023/2024; together with IIASA)
  • Jakob Harteg (Master student, University of Copenhagen, 2023/2024)
  • David Strahl (Master student, University of Potsdam, 2023/2024)
  • Ernest Högner (Master student, University of Potsdam, 2023/2024)
  • Michelle Grunwald (Master student, University of Potsdam, 2023/2024)
2023:
  • Jonathan Rosser (PhD student, Cambridge University, 2023, ERA fellow and summer intern): Cryosphere tipping elements decisive for uncertainties in tipping risk assessments
2022:
  • Astrid Gjelsvik (Intern, University of Oslo, 2022): Tipping fast and slow - quantifying early warning signals for systems of different time scales
  • Laeo Crnkovic-Rubsamen and Jasmine Zhang (HMEI summer internship program, Princeton University, 2022): Coupling social and climate tipping dynamics
  • Vitus Benson (Master student, University of Leipzig, 2021/2022): Studying α-stable Lévy noise in coupled double-well potentials with applications in climate science
  • Lena Schmidt (Master student, Free University Berlin, 2021/2022): Spatial early warning signal detection in a complex network of the Amazon rainforest
2021:
  • Nora Fahrenbach (Bachelor-Internship, The University of Edinburgh, 2021): Early warning signals of interacting tipping elements in the Amazon rainforest
2020:
  • Valentin Wohlfarth (Master student, Humboldt University of Berlin, 2019/2020): Tipping cascades on the International Trade Network and the effects of meso- and macroscopic structure on tipping dynamics
  • Hannah Meevenkamp (Bachelor student, University of Göttingen, 2020): Causal loop network analysis of Arctic permafrost feedbacks
  • Jan Kohler (Bachelor student, University of Leipzig, 2019/2020): Dynamics of tipping on stochastic complex networks
2019:
  • Jonathan Kroenke (Master student, University of Potsdam, 2018/2019): Dynamics of tipping cascades on complex networks
  • Benedikt Stumpf (Master student, Free University Berlin, 2018/2019): The role of motifs in complex networks of tipping elements

2024:
2023:
2022:
  • Radio Interview on "Wann kippt das Klima?" for detektor.fm (in german, November 2022)
  • Panel discussion, "News from the near future - Handlungsoptionen für eine aus der Balance geratene Welt", Volkswagen Art4All, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (September 2022)
  • Selected media echo on the article "Recurrent droughts increase risk of  cascading tipping events by outpacing adaptive capacities in the Amazon rainforest" (September 2022): Mongabay, EOS AGU
  • Entry in the journal Klima und Recht on "Warum jedes zehntel Grad zählt: Der Einfluss von Kippelementen" together with Frederik Wolf (in german, July 2022)
2021:
2020: