Dr. Sebastian Ostberg


Sebastian is a PostDoc in the working group "Adaptation in Agricultural Systems". His research background is in modelling the impacts of climate change and land use change on terrestrial biogeochemical cycles. In his current work, he focuses on impacts of climate change and weather on agricultural production. This includes developing a modelling pipeline for regularly updated global seasonal crop yield forecasts, but also looking at long-term climate change impacts on crop and livestock production.

Sebastian has also been active for more than 5 years in the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP), contributing impact simulations with the LPJmL model and, for a time, working in the ISIMIP coordination team.


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2661
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


Sebastian received a "Diplom" degree (comparable to MSc) in Geoecology from Potsdam University. He did his PhD at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and wrote his dissertation on the topic of "Joint impacts of climate and land use change on the terrestrial biosphere".

  • Short-term effects of weather and long-term effects of climate change on agricultural production
  • Impacts of climate change and land use change on the global terrestrial biosphere

PhD Thesis

Ostberg, S. (2018): Joint impacts of climate and land use change on the terrestrial biosphere. Thesis at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, DOI:10.18452/19319

Peer-reviewed articles


Pan, S., Yang, J., Tian., H., Shi, H., Chang, J., Ciais, P., Francois, L., Frieler, K., Fu, B., Hickler, T., Ito, A., Nishina, K., Ostberg, S., Reyer, C.P.O., Schaphoff, S., Steinkamp, J., and Zhao, F. (2020): Climate Extreme Versus Carbon Extreme: Responses of Terrestrial Carbon Fluxes to Temperature and Precipitation, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 125, e2019JG005252, doi: 10.1029/2019JG005252

Ito, A., Reyer, C.P.O., Gädeke, A., Ciais, P., Chang, J., Chen, M., Francois, L., Forrest, M., Hickler, T., Ostberg, S., Shi, H., Thiery, W., and Tian H. (2020): Pronounced and unavoidable impacts of low-end global warming on northern high-latitude land ecosystems, Environmental Research Letters, 15, 044006, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab702b


Shiogama, H., Hasegawa, T., Fujimori, S., Murakami, D., Takahashi, K., Tanaka, K., Emori, S., Kubota, I., Abe, M., Imada, Y., Watanabe, M., Mitchell, D., Schaller, N., Sillmann, J., Fischer, E., Scinocca, J., Bethke, I., Lierhammer, L., Takakura, J., Trautmann, T., Döll, P., Ostberg, S., Müller Schmied, H., Saeed, F., Schleussner, C.-F. (2019): Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC will lower increases in inequalities of four hazard indicators of climate change, Environmental Research Letters, 14, 124022, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab5256

Liu, X., Liu, W., Yang, H., Tang, Q., Flörke, M., Masaki, Y., Müller Schmied, H., Ostberg, S., Pokhrel, Y., Satoh, Y., and Wada, Y. (2019): Multimodel assessments of human and climate impacts on mean annual streamflow in China, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 23, 1245-1261, doi: 10.5194/hess-23-1245-2019

Schewe, J., Gosling, S. N., Reyer, C., Zhao, F., Ciais, P., Elliot, J., Francois, L., Huber, V., Lotze, H. K., Seneviratne, S. I., Van Vliet, M. T. H., Vautard, R., Wada, Y., Breuer, L., Büchner, M., Carozza, D. A., Chang, J., Coll, M., Deryng, D., De Wit, A., Eddy, T. D., Folberth, C., Frieler, K., Friend, A. D., Gerten, D., Gudmundsson, L., Hanasaki, N., Ito, A., Khabarov, N., Kim, H., Lawrence, P., Morfopoulos, C., Müller, C., Müller Schmied, H., Orth, R., Ostberg, S., Pokhrel, Y., Pugh, T. A. M., Sakurai, G., Satoh, Y., Schmid, E., Stacke, T., Steenbeek, J., Steinkamp, J., Tang, Q., Tian, H., Tittensor, D. P., Volkholz, J., Wang, X., Warszawski, L. (2019): State-of-the-art global models underestimate impacts from climate extremes, Nature Communications, 10, 1005, doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08745-6


, A., Frieler, K., Reyer, C.P.O., Ciais, P., Chang, J., Ito, A., Nishina, K., , L., Henrot, A.-J., Hickler, T., Steinkamp, J., Rafique, R., Zhao, F., Ostberg, S., Schaphoff, S., Tian, H., Pan, S., Yang, J., , C., Betts, R. (2018): Evaluating changes of biomass in global vegetation models: the role of turnover fluctuations and ENSO events, Environmental Research Letters, 13, 075002, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aac63c

Ostberg, S., Schewe, J., Childers, K., and Frieler, K. (2018): Changes in crop yields and their variability at different levels of global warming, Earth System Dynamics, 9, 479-496, doi: 10.5194/esd-9-479-2018

Döll, P., Trautmann, T., Gerten, D., Müller Schmied, H., Ostberg, S., Saeed, F., and Schleussner, C.-F. (2018): Risks for the global freshwater system at 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming, Environmental Research Letters, 13, 044038, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aab792

Ostberg, S., Boysen, L.R., Schaphoff, S., Lucht, W., Gerten, D. (2018): The Biosphere Under Potential Paris Outcomes, Earth’s Future, 6, 23-39, doi:10.1002/2017EF000628


Frieler, K., Lange, S., Piontek, F., Reyer, C.P.o:, Schewe, J., Warszawaski, L., Zhao, F., Chini, L., Denvil, S., Emanuel, K., Geiger, T., Halladay, K., Hurtt, G., Mengel, M., Murakami, D., Ostberg, S., Popp, A., Riva, R., Stevanovic, M., Suzuki, T., Volkholz, J., Burke, E., Ciais, P., Ebi, K., Eddy, T.D., Elliott, J., Galbraith, E., Gosling, S.N., Hattermann, F., Hickler, T., Hinkel, J., Hof, C., Huber, V., Jägermeyr, J., Krysanova, V., Marcé, R., Müller Schmied, H., Mouratiadou, I., Pierson, D., Tittensor, D.P., Vautard, R., van Vliet, M., Biber, M.F., Betts, R.A., Bodirsky, B.L., Deryng, D., Frolking, S., Jones, C.D., Lotze, H.K., Lotze-Campen, H., Sahajpal, R., Thonicke, K., Tian, H., and Yamagata, Y. (2017): Assessing the impacts of 1.5 °C global warming – simulation protocol of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP2b), Geoscientific Model Development, 10, 4321-4345, doi:10.5194/gmd-10-4321-2017

Chen, M., Rafique, R., Asrar, G.R., Bond-Lamberty, B., Ciais, P., Zhao, F., Reyer, C.P.O., Ostberg, S., Chang, J., Ito, A., Yang, J., Zeng, N., Kalnay, E., West, T., Leng, G., Francois, L., Munhoven, G., Henrot, A., Tian, H., Pan, S., Nishina, K., Viovy, N., Morfopoulos, C., Betts, R., Schaphoff, S., Steinkamp, J., Hickler, T. (2017): Regional contribution to variability and trends of global gross primary productivity, Environmental Research Letters, 12, 105005, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa8978

Ito, A., Nishina, K., Reyer, C.P.O., François, L., Henrot, A.-J., Munhoven, G., Jacquemin, I., Tian, H., Yang, J., Pan, S., Morfopoulos, C., Betts, R., Hickler, T., Steinkamp, J., Ostberg, S., Schaphoff, S., Ciais, P., Chang, J., Rafique, R., Zeng N., Zhao, F. (2017): Photosynthetic productivity and its efficiencies in ISIMIP2a biome models: benchmarking for impact assessment studies, Environmental Reseach Letters, 12, 085001, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa7a19

Zhao, F., Veldkamp, T.I.E., Frieler, K., Schewe, J., Ostberg, S., Willner, S., Schauberger, B., Gosling, S.N., Müller Schmied, H., Portmann, F.T., Leng, G., Huang, M., Liu, X., Tang, Q., Hanasaki, N., Biemans, H., Gerten, D., Satoh, Y., Pokhrel, Y., Stacke, T., Ciais, P., Chang, J., Ducharne, A., Guimberteau, M., Wada, Y., Kim, H. Yamazaki, D. (2017):  The critical role of the routing scheme in simulating peak river discharge in global hydrological models, Environmental Research Letters, 12, 075003, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa7250

Veldkamp, T.I.E., Wada, Y., Aerts, J.C.J.H., Doell, P., Gosling, S.N., Liu, J., Masaki, Y., Oki, T., Ostberg, S., Pokhrel, Y., Satoh, Y., Kim, H., Ward, P.J. (2017): Water scarcity hotspots travel downstream due to human interventions in the 20th and 21st century, Nature Communications, 8, 15697, doi:10.1038/ncomms15697

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and


Ostberg, S., Schaphoff, S., Lucht, W. and Gerten, D. (2015): Three centuries of dual pressure from land use and climate change on the biosphere, Environmental Research Letters, 10, 0440141, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/044011

Bonsch, M., Popp, A., Biewald, A., Rolinski, S., Schmitz, C., Weindl, I., Stevanovic, M., Högner, K., Heinke, J., Ostberg, S., Dietrich, J.p:, Bodirski, B., Lotze-Campen, H., Humpenöder, F. (2015): Environmental low provision: Implications for agricultural water and land-use at the global scale, Global Environmental Change, 30, 113-132, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.10.015


Friend, A.D., Lucht, W., Rademacher, T.T., Keribin, R., Betts, R., Cadule, P., Ciais, P., Clark, D.B., Dankers, R., Falloon, P.D., Ito, A., Kahana, R., Kleidon, A., Lomas, M.R., Nishina, K., Ostberg, S., Pavlick, R., Peylin, P., Schaphoff, S., Vuichard, N., Warszawski, L., Wiltshire, A. and Woodward, F.I. (2014): Carbon residence time dominates uncertainty in terrestrial vegetation responses to future climate and atmospheric CO2, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119, 3280-3285, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222477110

Piontek, F., Müller, C., Pugh, T.A.M., Clark, D.B., Deryng, D., Elliott, J., Colón González, F.J., Flörke, M., Folberth, C., Franssen, W., Frieler, K., Friend, A.D., Gosling, S.N., Hemming, D., Khabarov, N., Kim, H., Lomas, M.R., Masaki, Y., Mengel, M., Morse, A., Neumann, K., Nishina, K., Ostberg, S., Pavlick, R., Ruane, A.C., Schewe, J., Schmid, E., Stacke, T., Tang, Q., Tessler, Z.D., Tompkins, A.M., Warszawski, L., Wisser, D. and Schellnhuber, H.J. (2014): Multisectoral climate impact hotspots in a warming world,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119, 3233-3238, doi:10.1073/pnas.1222471110


Warszawski, L., Friend, A., Ostberg, S., Frieler, K., Lucht, W., Schaphoff, S., Beerling, D., Cadule, P., Ciais, P., Clark, D.B., Kahana, R., Ito, A., Keribin, R., Kleidon, A., Lomas, M.R. , Nishina, K., Pavlick, R., Rademacher, T. T., Piontek, F., Schewe, J., Serdeczny, O., Buechner, M., and Schellnhuber, H.J. (2013): A multi-model analysis of risk of ecosystem shift under climate change, Environmental Research Letters, 8, 044018, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044018

Heinke, J., Ostberg, S., Schaphoff, S., Frieler, K., Müller, C., Gerten, D., Meinshausen, M. and Lucht, W. (2013): A new climate dataset for systematic assessments of climate change impacts as a function of global warming, Geoscientific Model Development, 6, 1689-1703, doi:10.5194/gmd-6-1689-2013

Ostberg, S., Lucht, W., Schaphoff, S. and Gerten, D. (2013): Critical impacts of global warming on land ecosystems, Earth System Dynamics, 4, 347-357, doi:10.5194/esd-4-347-2013

Gerten, D., Lucht, W., Ostberg, S., Heinke, J., Kowarsch, M., Kreft, H., Kundzewicz, Z.W., Rastgooy, J., Warren, R. and Schellnhuber, H.J. (2013): Asynchronous exposure to global warming: freshwater resources and terrestrial ecosystems, Environmental Research Letters, 8, 034032, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034032

Schaphoff, S., Heyder, U., Ostberg, S., Gerten, D., Heinke, J. and Lucht, W. (2013): Contribution of permafrost soils to the global carbon budget, Environmental Research Letters, 8, 014026, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014026


Rammig, A., Jupp, T., Thonicke, K., Tietjen, B., Heinke, J., Ostberg, S., Lucht, W., Cramer, W. and Cox, P. (2010): Estimating the risk of Amazonian forest dieback, New Phytologist, 187, 694-706, doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03318.x

Current projects

  • Seasonal crop yield forecasting and options to increase yields for improved decision support systems for food security-related questions as part of the DARPA-funded C2P2 project
  • Climate risk analysis on livestock production in West Africa as part of the GIZ-funded AGRICA 2020 project
  • Climate risk analysis on agricultural sector in East Africa as part of the EU-funded H2020 Insurance project

Recent projects

  • Climate impact modelling to support SIDS and LDCs with science-based adaptation and mitigation planning as part of the BMU-funded International Climate Initiative (IKI) IMPACT project

Other work

  • Contribution to the Intersectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP)