Dr Matteo Willeit

Senior Scientist


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2569
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


Since 2021 Postdoctoral Researcher
on modelling the last glacial cycle with the CLIMBER-X Earth system model of intermediate complexity as as part of the German Climate Modeling Initiative PalMod Phase II.

2017-2020 Postdoctoral Researcher
on modelling the last glacial cycle with the CLIMBER-X Earth system model of intermediate complexity as part of the German Climate Modeling Initiative PalMod Phase I.

2014-2016 Postdoctoral Researcher
on the major transitions in Quaternary climate, including the intensification of northern Hemisphere glaciation (Pliocene-Pleistocene transition at around 2.7 Million years ago) and the transition from 40 kyr (1kyr = 1000 years) to 100 kyr dominated glacial cycles (mid-Pleistocene revolution, around 1 Million year ago). The project was funded by the DFG.

2011-2014 Ph.D. in Physics (Dr. rer. nat.)
at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and at the University of Potsdam focused on the analysis and quantification of vegetation-climate and carbon-cycle feedbacks using the CLIMBER Earth System Model of Intermediate Complexity (EMIC). My PhD work was part of the GREENCYCLES II Initial Training Network on global biosphere-climate interactions funded by the Marie Curie 7th Framework Programme.

2005-2010 Graduation in Physics
at the University of Bologna with a focus climate physics and meteorology.


Willeit, M., Ilyina, T., Liu, B., Heinze, C., Perrette, M., Heinemann, M., Dalmonech, D., Brovkin, V., Munhoven, G., Börker, J., Hartmann, J., Romero-Mujalli, G., and Ganopolski, A.: The Earth system model CLIMBER-X v1.0 – Part 2: The global carbon cycle, Geosci. Model Dev., 16, 3501–3534, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-16-3501-2023, 2023.

Höning, D., Willeit, M., Calov, R., Klemann, V., Bagge, M., & Ganopolski, A. (2023). Multistability and Transient Response of the Greenland Ice Sheet to Anthropogenic CO 2 Emissions. Geophysical Research Letters, 50(6), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GL101827


Timmermann, A., Yun, K.-S., Raia, P., Ruan, J., Mondanaro, A., Zeller, E., Zollikofer, C., Ponce de León, M., Lemmon, D., Willeit, M., & Ganopolski, A. (2022). Climate effects on archaic human habitats and species successions. Nature, 604(7906), 495–501. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04600-9

Landwehrs, J., Feulner, G., Willeit, M., Petri, S., Sames, B., Wagreich, M., Whiteside, J. H., & Olsen, P. E. (2022). Modes of Pangean lake level cyclicity driven by astronomical climate pacing modulated by continental position and p CO2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(46), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2203818119

Willeit, M., Ganopolski, A., Robinson, A., and Edwards, N. R.: The Earth system model CLIMBER-X v1.0 – Part 1: Climate model description and validation, Geosci. Model Dev., 15, 5905–5948, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-15-5905-2022, 2022.


Wunderling, N., Willeit, M., Donges, J. F., & Winkelmann, R. (2020). Global warming due to loss of large ice masses and Arctic summer sea ice. Nature Communications, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18934-3


Willeit, M., Ganopolski, A., Calov, R. and Brovkin, V., 2019: Mid-Pleistocene transition in glacial cycles explained by declining CO2 and regolith removal, Science Advances, 5(4), https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aav7337.

Beckmann, J., Perrette, M., Beyer, S., Calov, R., Willeit, M., & Ganopolski, A. (2019). Modeling the response of Greenland outlet glaciers to global warming using a coupled flow line–plume model. The Cryosphere, 13(9), 2281–2301. https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-13-2281-2019


Calov, R., Beyer, S., Greve, R., Beckmann, J., Willeit, M., Kleiner, T., Rückamp, M., Humbert, A., and Ganopolski, A., 2018: Simulation of the future sea level contribution of Greenland with a new glacial system model, The Cryosphere, 12, 3097-3121, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-3097-2018.

Willeit, M. and Ganopolski, A., 2018: The importance of snow albedo for ice sheet evolution over the last glacial cycle, Clim. Past, 14, 697-707, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-697-2018.


Willeit, M. and Ganopolski, A., 2016: PALADYN v1.0, a comprehensive land surface–vegetation–carbon cycle model of intermediate complexity, Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 3817-3857, doi:10.5194/gmd-9-3817-2016.


Willeit, M. and Ganopolski, A., 2015: Coupled Northern Hemisphere permafrost-ice-sheet evolution over the last glacial cycle, Clim. Past, 11(9), 1165–1180, doi:10.5194/cp-11-1165-2015.

Willeit, M., Ganopolski, A., Calov, R., Robinson, A. and Maslin, M., 2015: The role of CO2 decline for the onset of Northern Hemisphere glaciation, Quat. Sci. Rev., 119, 22–34, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.04.015.

Willeit, M., Amorati, R., Montani, A., Pavan, V. and Tesini, M. S., 2015: Comparison of spectral characteristics of precipitation from radar estimates and COSMO-model predicted fields, Meteorol. Atmos. Phys., 127(2), 191–203, doi:10.1007/s00703-014-0359-8.


Willeit M., Ganopolski A., Dalmonech D., Foley A. M., Feulner G., 2014: Time-scale and state dependence of the carbon-cycle feedback to climate, Climate Dynamics, published online. doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2102-z

Foley A. M., Willeit M., Brovkin V., Feulner G., Friend, A. D., 2014: Quantifying the global carbon cycle response to volcanic stratospheric aerosol radiative forcing using Earth System Models, Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 119 (Issue 1, 16 January 2014), 101-111. doi:10.1002/2013JD019724

Willeit M., Ganopolski A., Feulner G., 2014: Asymmetry and uncertainties in biogeophysical climate–vegetation feedback over a range of CO2 forcings, Biogeosciences, 11 (Issue 1, 3 January 2014), 17-32. doi:10.5194/bg-11-17-2014


Willeit M., Ganopolski A., Feulner G., 2013: On the effect of orbital forcing on mid-Pliocene climate, vegetation and ice sheets, Climate of the Past, 9 (Issue 4, 1 August 2013), 1749-1759. doi:10.5194/cp-9-1749-2013


Lucarini V., Faranda D., and Willeit M., 2012: Bistable systems with stochastic noise: virtues and limits of effective one-dimensional Langevin equations, Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 19, 9-22, doi:10.5194/npg-19-9-2012