Dr Leonie Wenz



Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2568
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


Leonie Wenz leads the working group Data-based analysis of climate decisions at PIK and acts as deputy head of Research Department IV Complexity Science. She is affiliated with UC Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC).

Leonie conducts research on the socioeconomic impacts of climate change by use of various mathematical data-analysis methods and models. In particular, she studies how we - individually and as societies - respond to weather extremes and a changing climatic environment with the aim of deriving sustainable adaptation strategies and development pathways. She has contributed to the development of the agent-based numerical model acclimate that can be used to investigate global economic response dynamics to local shocks.

A mathematician by training, Leonie earned her Ph.D. from University of Potsdam and PIK with a dissertation at the intersection of Climate Physics and Economics (summa cum laude). She completed a Postdoc at UC Berkeley as part of the prestigious Ciriacy-Wantrup programme in Natural Resource Economics and Public Policy.

Leonie has won several prizes and awards for her work (e.g. Leibniz dissertation award). Her research has appeared in, among others, PNAS, Science Advances and Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and has informed e.g. the German parliament.

Research Interests
  • Societal and economic impacts of weather extremes
  • Climate decisions
  • Climate change & sustainable economic development
  • Climate impacts in a globally connected world
  • Econometrics, agent-based modeling, mathematical data analysis

K. Barton-Henry*, L. Wenz, A. Levermann
Decay radius of climate decision for solar panels in the city of Fresno, USA
Nature Scientific Reports 11, 8571 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-87714-w

M. Kotz*, L. Wenz, A. Stechemesser*, M. Kalkuhl, A. Levermann
Day-to-day temperature variability reduces economic growth.
Nature Climate Change (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-00985-5/
L. Wenz, A. Levermann, S.N. Willner, C. Otto, K. Kuhla
Brexit no-trade-deal scenario: short-term consumer benefit at the expense of long-term economic development

M. Kalkuhl & L. Wenz
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 102360 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2020.102360

L. Wenz, U. Weddige, M. Jakob, J.C. Steckel
Environmental Research Letters 15 (2020). https://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab858d

A. Stechemesser*, L. Wenz, A. Levermann
The Lancet - EClinicalMedicine (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100372

F. Ueckerdt, K. Frieler, S. Lange, L. Wenz, G. Luderer, A. Levermann
Earth System Dynamics 10 (2019). https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-10-741-2019

H. Ward, L. Wenz, J.C. Steckel, J.C. Minx
Journal of Industrial Ecology 22 (2018). DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12655.

C. Otto, S. N. Willner, L. Wenz , K. Frieler, A. Levermann
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 83 (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2017.08.001
>> Open source code of acclimate model

L. Wenz, A. Levermann, M. Auffhammer
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1704339114.
>> Press release
>> Selected media coverage: Carbon Brief The Guardian Spiegel Online (german) | Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (german) | El País (spanish) | NRC Handesblad (dutch)
L. Wenz
University of Potsdam (2016)
** Dissertation

L. Wenz
World Economic Forum (2016)
*** Popular writing

L. Wenz & A. Levermann
Science Advances 2 (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501026.
>> Selected media coverage: Washington Post | Bloomberg | The Times of India | Spiegel Online (german)
>> Radio interview discussing the study in Deutschlandfunk (german)
>> Motivated parliamentary enquiry on the resilience of the German economy
>> Response by German government
>> Informed stakeholder dialogue on the indirect effects of global climate change on the German economy organized by the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA)

C. Bren d'Amour, L. Wenz, M. Kalkuhl, J.C. Steckel, F. Creutzig
Environmental Research Letters 11 (2016). DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/035007.
>> Press release
>> Selected media coverage: Phys.org Energie Zukunft (german)

L. Wenz, S.N. Willner, A. Radebach, R. Bierkandt, J.C. Steckel, A. Levermann
Economic Systems Research 27 (2015), DOI: 10.1080/09535314.2014.987731.
>> C++ implementation by S. Willner

L. Wenz, S.N. Willner, R. Bierkandt, A. Levermann
Environment Systems and Decisions 34 (2014). DOI: 10.1007/s10669-014-9521-6.

R. Bierkandt, L. Wenz, S.N. Willner, A. Levermann
Environment Systems and Decisions 34 (2014). DOI: 10.1007/s10669-014-9523-4.

* PhD students in my lab group

ImpactEE (principal investigator)
  • Impact of intensified weather extremes on Europe's economy
  • Funded by Volkswagen Foundation  as part of the Europe & global challenges initiative (2017-2023)
  • Joint with Columbia University (A. Sobel), UC Berkeley (M. Auffhammer) and University of Sydney (M. Lenzen)
  • More information: http://portal.volkswagenstiftung.de/search/projectDetails.do?ref=93350
  • Additional module: What can we learn from the Corona crisis to enhance our societies' resilience to intensified weather extremes?

UC Berkeley Postdoc Fellowship (2018-2019)
  • Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellowship in Natural Resource Economics and Political Economy
  • Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (mentor: Prof. Max Auffhammer)
Leibniz Dissertation Award (2017)
6th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Economic Sciences (2017)
  • selected for participation as young economist
  • sponsored by Mars Inc. and Leibniz Association
PIK Dissertation Prize (2017)
  • prize for best Ph.D. thesis 2016
  • awarded by Society of Friends & Promoters of PIK
Graduate Scholarship (2013-2016)
  • scholarship for dissertation project
  • awarded by German Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU)
Research Scholarship (2015)
  • scholarship for research stay at UC Berkeley
  • awarded by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)