Max Planck Gesellschaft

Research group Hydrology-Biosphere-Climate Interactions

Mission | Team | Key Publications | Current Research | Masterarbeits- und Praktikums-Themen | Lecture

This group is funded by the German Research Foundation’s Emmy Noether program


The understanding of the exchange of energy, water and carbon between land and atmosphere is the keystone to many of the fundamental challenges facing humanity.

The group’s research focuses on the interface of soils, vegetation, and atmosphere. The exchange and feedback processes acting there can affect food production, water availability, and hence economy and society.
In particular, our research is directed to contribute to
(1) a better management of extremes such as droughts and heat waves
(2) improved hydro-meteorological forecasts
(3) more reliable climate change projections

We strive to improve the physical understanding of the Hydrology-Biosphere-Climate system through land surface and climate modelling in combination with observation(-based) data analysis.

Corona-compatible picture of the HydroBioClim group
Top row, left to right: Sinikka Paulus, Rene Orth, Chunhui Zhan
Middle row, left to right: Wantong Li, Melissa Ruiz Vasquez, Sungmin O
Bottom row, left to right: Jasper Denissen, Josephin Kroll, Ekaterina Bogdanovich


Name Position E-mail Room
René Orth Group leader C2.022
Sungmin O PostDoc C1.016
Ekaterina Bogdanovich PhD student C3.002b
Jasper Denissen PhD student C1.014
Wantong Li PhD student* C1.008
Sinikka Paulus PhD student* C1.008
Melissa Ruiz Vasquez PhD student C2.004
Albrecht Schall PhD student* C3.007
Xin Yu PhD student* C2.004
Chunhui Zhan PhD student* C1.014
Alexander Chuvstvin Master student C3.009b
Josephin Kroll Bachelor student C1.024

Group members marked with * are equally members of other research groups

List of former group members

Key Publications

O, S., E. Dutra, and R. Orth (2020)
Robustness of process-based versus data-driven modelling in changing climatic conditions
J. Hydrometeorol., 21(9), 1929–1944, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-20-0072.1

O, S., X. Hou, and R. Orth (2020)
Observational evidence of wild fire‐promoting soil moisture anomalies
Sci. Rep., 10, 11008, doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-67530-4

Denissen, J., A.J. Teuling, M. Reichstein, and R. Orth (2020)
Critical soil moisture derived from satellite observations over Europe
J. Geophys. Res. - Atmospheres, 125(6), e2019JD031672, doi: 10.1029/2019JD031672

Orth, R., G. Destouni, M. Jung, and M. Reichstein (2020)
Large-scale biospheric drought response intensifies linearly with drought duration
Biogeosciences, 17, 2647–2656, doi: 10.5194/bg-2019-442

Orth, R., and G. Destouni (2018)
Drought reduces blue-water fluxes more strongly than green-water fluxes in Europe
Nature Communications, 9, 3602, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06013-7

Orth, R., E. Dutra, and F. Pappenberger (2016)
Improving weather predictability by including land-surface model parameter uncertainty
Mon. Weather Rev., 144(4), 1551-1569, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0283.1

FULL LIST of Publications

Current Research

Denissen, J., H. Wouters, R. Orth, D. Miralles, and A.J. Teuling
What balloon soundings can tell about surface heat flux partitioning

Li, W., M. Migliavacca, Y. Luo, and R. Orth
Which hydro-meteorological variables control large-scale photosynthesis?

Paulus, S., T. El-Madany, T. Wutzler, R. Orth, O. Perez-Priego, M. Reichstein, A. Carrara, G. Moreno, and M. Migliavacca
Hidden water fluxes in a Mediterranean ecosystem: new insights into seasonal dynamics from lysimeter data

O, S. and R. Orth
Global soil moisture from in-situ measurements using machine learning -

Orth, R., M. Mahecha, S. O, M. Reichstein, and J. Zscheischler
Contrasting impacts of meteorological extremes across domains

Masterarbeits- und Praktikums-Themen
(Master-Thesis and Internship topics)

  • Wie nachhaltig ist landwirtschaftliche Bewässerung in Europa? Vergleich von Wasserverbrauch und Angebot
    (How sustainable is irrigation in Europe? Comparing water usage versus water supply)
  • Trockenheiten treffen die Hydrosphäre vor der Biosphäre - spiegeln Klimamodelle das wider?
    (Droughts affect hydrosphere before the biosphere - is this captured by climate models?)
  • Wichtigkeit von Bodenfeuchte im Vergleich zur atmosphärischen Zirkulation for unser(e) Sommerwetter(extreme)
    (Importance of soil moisture versus large-scale circulation in shaping our summer weather (extremes))
  • Wie wichtig war die anfängliche Bodenfeuchte für Überschwemmungen der letzten Jahre in Deutschland und Europa?
    (How important was the initial soil water content for recent floods in Germany and Europe?)

Bei Interesse an einer Masterarbeit oder einem Praktikum in unserer Gruppe bitte einfach eine email mit Lebenslauf an schicken!


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