You are here: Home Research Earth System Analysis Research


Earth as a planet is currently in an unusually long and stable interglacial period. The dominant force for change in the present anthropocene is human activity, which is altering the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces. This activity consists not only of the emission of greenhouse gases but also of direct large-scale impacts on the land and marine biosphere.

Our research is structured in Flagship Projects. Each Flagship incorporates a number of externally funded projects.

Research Areas and Flagship Projects in RD1

Please click on the map.


  • Leadership in paleoclimate and ice sheet modelling
  • Seminal work on sea-level rise, extreme events and tipping points
  • Pioneering role in biosphere modelling


Detailed research questions in the department answerd by the projects are:

  • Which feedback processes explain extent and timing of past glaciations?
  • What is the role of ice sheets in global climate?
  • How much and how fast will the world warm and sea level rise under given greenhouse gas emission scenarios?
  • How will the ocean circulation respond in a changing climate?
  • Which are the tipping points in the Earth system under human forcing and what are their thresholds?
  • How will climate change alter the spatial patterns of the biosphere?
  • How will global food production and freshwater use change in view of climate change, population growth, life style changes and economic globalisation?
  • What are potential future patterns of land use?
  • What is the world potential for sustainable bioenergy production?

Document Actions