Global Change

Our environment is changing rapidly. Change has been particularly pronounced over the last 60 years, associated with rapid population growth and development. Our global footprint exceeds sustainability; we currently demand 1.4 times what the planet can safely provide.  Rising temperatures, sea level, ocean acidification, eutrophication, waste and pollution, deceasing fertility of soils, quantity and quality of freshwater resources, land use / land cover changes are among the environmental issues requiring immediate attention. Recent experience with sulphur deposition (acid rain problem) and CFCs (stratospheric ozone depletion) do suggest that improvements are possible where there is a united political will.

In a collaboration between TUM and international researchers and scientists at the IAS we intend to extend current knowledge on the impacts of a changing environment on managed and natural systems. This will help to inform policy of the necessary steps to minimize adverse consequences in an uncertain future. Our initial focus is on the consequences of a changing climate on terrestrial ecosystems, especially patterns of growth and development. We seek to expand this focus to a broader range of activity.

Prof. Annette Menzel is a Carl von Linde Senior Fellow and a world expert in climate impact studies. She is Professor of Ecoclimatology at TUM and has authored very high impact papers in leading journals. As a Lead Author for the most recent IPCC report she has unparalleled knowledge on impact studies. She leads a group of PhD students and PostDoc researchers working on different topics in the field of climate change impact studies, including wildfires, alpine ecosystems, manipulation experiments in trees, interdisciplinary phenological studies in grassland systems, extreme event ecology to human health aspects. This group was expanded by two further PhD students working specifically on the aims of this focus group.

Prof. Tim Sparks is a leading authority on the impact of a changing climate on the phenology of plants and animals. His research interests include climate impact studies in general and a wide range of other topics. He is a prolific author and has already co-authored several papers with his TUM hosts. He is a visiting professor with the Poznań University of Life Sciences and with the University of Liverpool. In connection with his Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship he visits TUM regularly.

Dr. Nicole Estrella (TUM) has intensively studied the spatial and temporal variability of observed changes, such as phenological events, as well as trends and variability of recent and future climate. She is especially interested in analyses of the magnitude and timing of climate extremes and their impact on the environment. Her favourite subjects are innovative techniques in environmental data processing.

TUM-IAS funded doctoral candidates:
Anna Bock (PhD in 2014)
Julia Laube (PhD in 2015)

Postdoc:
Dr. Susanne Jochner (2012-2015)