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Helmholtz Research School
Mechanisms and Interactions of Climate Change in Mountain Regions

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Research Forum Archives

9th MICMoR Research Forum | November 9, 2016
KIT/IMK-IFU, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Keynote Talk
Dr. Christian Zang (TU München, Land Surface-Atmosphere Interactions)
"Tree growth and climate: what tree-rings tell us about drought tolerance"

Special Presentation by former MICMoR Scientist
Dr. Michael Leuchner (Springer Verlag, Dordrecht):
Publishing scientific books with Springer Nature

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Cornelius Hald:
Large Eddy Simulation with WRF: Model setup, results and evaluation

Mohsen Soltani:
Spatiotemporal varability of water and energy fluxes: TERENO-prealpine hydrometeorological data analysis and inverse modeling with GEOtop and PEST

Ye Yuan:
Data selection and data filtering techniques for GAW mountain stations in Europe

Anudari Batsaikhan:
Estimation of grassland phenology along altitudinal gradient using remote sensing

Kayla Stan:
Projecting tropical dry forest changes in Costa Rica using LCC, climate, and ecosystem services modelling

Lingxiao Wang:
Characterizing permafrost landscape features using object-based classification of TerraSAR-X imagery

Stephan Jung:
Differences in group 5 allergen content between pollen from major grass species and -sorts

Chante' Vines:
Using footprint analysis to determine microsite patch contribution to methane flux from a heterogeneous wetland


8th MICMoR Research Forum | June 8, 2016
KIT/IMK-IFU, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Keynote Talk by MICMoR Visiting Scientist 2016
Gretchen Gettel, PhD (UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, NL)
"Climate change science needs to get wet: The role of freshwater ecosystems
in understanding greenhouse gas exchange"

It is increasingly appreciated that aquatic ecosystems modulate carbon and nitrogen export to downstream ecosystems through biogeochemical transformations, including those that contribute to nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide fluxes. Different types of aquatic ecosystems along the terrestrial-aquatic continuum (riparian zones – wetlands – rivers – lakes) each affect these processes differently as a function of residence time, oxygen conditions, and substrate availability. Whereas aquatic biogeochemists tend to focus on these controls with respect to export, terrestrial biogeochemists tend to ignore the contribution of aquatic ecosystems to gaseous losses. In this talk, Gretchen Gettel will review the potential impact of aquatic ecosystems on catchment-scale understanding of carbon and nitrogen budgets and argue that these two approaches need to be merged for a more complete understanding of landscape-scale understanding of greenhouse gas emissions.

Report on Fellows' Retreat 2015 'Ethics in Climate Science'
Birgitta Putzenlechner (MICMoR Graduate Representative)

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Sofía Calvo-Rodríguez:
Spatio-temporal variability of greenhouse gas emissions in a pre-alpine Bavarian grassland and a Tropical Dry Forest.

Michael Weber:
HRU-based modelling of a high alpine catchment.

Birgitta Putzenlechner:
Assessing the spatial and temporal variability of fAPAR 2-flux estimates in a temperate mixed coniferous forest.

Eleonore Schenk:
Monitoring and Analysis of Topo- and Microclimatic Conditions at the Treeline Ecotone in Rolwaling Himal (Nepal).

Javier Tejedor:
Effects of climate change on European beech forests sustainability.

Felix Wiß:
Potential impacts of bioenergy plants on air qulity and climate.

Steven Hill:
Assessing forest development after natural disturbance using remote sensing.


7th MICMoR Research Forum | November 6, 2015
University of Würzburg

Keynote Talk
Prof. Dr. Michael E. Schaepman (University of Zurich)
"From photons to policy: measuring functional diversity using remote sensing"

Remotely sensing vegetation is supported by one of the longest time series available from spaceborne satellite data. Known as the NASA GIMMS NDVI3g data set, we are able to track fortnightly changes in Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) over the past 31 years. However, NDVI - though powerful in its measure - does not allow to attribute cause-effect relationships of vegetation change. By using physical models, we can couple soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions caused by absorption, transmission and reflectance and model 3D behavior of vegetation canopies in forward and inverse modes. In this talk, I will present methods to model and measure vegetation properties using models, using different spatial, temporal and spectral scales. I will demonstrate the successful retrieval of the plant pigment and non-pigment systems and their use in remote sensing. Further, I will discuss how these measurements are used in a broader context, namely by measuring biodiversity in the context of ecosystem services mapping and finally using those measurements and services for policy validation.

Talk by MICMoR Visiting Scientist 2015
Prof. Gil Bohrer, PhD (The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA):
The upcoming revolution of plant hydrodynamics and a tale of navigation
in the interdisciplinary maze

Alumni report
Dr. Sarah Asam (EURAC, Bozen)

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Lenka Macálková:
LES footprint modelling on complex terrain

David Gampe:
Development of a gridded meteorological reference data set over an alpine catchment

Urszula Mikolajczyk:
The impact of future emission changes on air pollution concentrations

Florian Heinlein:
Determination of the water balance of maize plants by means of sap flow measurements and plant growth models

Philipp Koal:
The influence of nitrate fertilisation and simulated rainfall events on nitrous oxide release of different agricultural topsoils demonstrated by a laboratory experiment

Anne-Lena Wahl:
Effects of climate change simulation and arbuscular mycorrhial fungi on plant competition and biomass

Jamie Smidt:
Land-Atmosphere Exchange of Carbon and Nitrogen in Bavarian Grasslands


6th MICMoR Research Forum | May 05, 2015
KIT/IMK-IFU, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Keynote Talk
Prof. Christoph K. Thomas, PhD (University of Bayreuth)
"Complex terrain produces simple airflows, and flat terrain induces complex motions - a contradiction?"

Mountainous terrain is often termed 'complex' to highlight the significant elevational differences and often steep slopes, changing aspects and strong directionality of valleys, and the height-dependent distribution of water and temperature. The interplay of these characteristics gives rise to spatially and temporally heterogeneous ecological niches often resulting in an equally heterogeneous plant distribution and valued biodiversity. Along with this apparent richness and diversity often goes the assumption that airflows in this terrain must be equally 'complex', and that common assumptions for micrometeorological mass and energy mass balance concepts developed for flat terrain are invalidated. As a consequence, very few researchers have investigated atmospheric transport and biogeochemical fluxes of water, carbon, and energy in mountainous terrain discouraged by the belief that 'it simply cannot be done', which has led to a significant delay in understanding climate change in the mountains.
We will argue that complex terrain is your friend - and not your enemy, since the well-defined slopes may induce equally well-defined airflows. In the absence of strong mesoscale synoptic forcing, mountainous airflows often exhibit very regularly occurring patterns driven by well-understood processes such as differential heating, sheltering, and gravity-driven density currents. Once patterns are observed and identified, it may require some thinking to disentangle cause and effect, but eventually most airflows may turn out to be complicated only, and far away from being 'complex'. Seemingly 'simple' and flat terrain, however, may lack strong directionally-dependent forcings and channeling of airflows, may also suffer from systematically weak winds, and feature an equally heterogenous land cover through human land use. Counterintuitively, this may result in much more complicated, unpredictable, and complex air movements that can indeed invalidate mass and energy balance approaches - a fact often overlooked.
We will present a melange of observations and interpretations from atmospheric surface networks across a gradient from mountainous over moderately complex to flat terrain, featuring from a minimum of two to tens of stations, and covering scales from tens of meters to kilometers to answer the question. The presentation will send a clear message that it is both possible and timely to study airflows in complex terrain with the goal of investigating the carbon, water, and energy budgets and thus climate change responses in mountainous environments.

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Birgitta Putzenlechner:
Measuring photosynthetic active radiation in prealpine forests

Ladislav Sigut:
Temperature acclimation of plants under elevated CO2

Christoph Thieme:
TERENO Site Scheyern – Flux measurements and model simulations

Barbara Bejer:
Greenhouse gas exchange in prealpine peat forests

Lingxiao Wang:
Climate change, permafrost decline and its hydrological impact in Northern Québec, Canada

Felix Wiss:
Simulating and Observing volatile carbon emissions from plants (BVOC)


5th MICMoR Research Forum | November 13, 2014
Kardinal-Döpfner-Haus, Freising

Keynote Talk
Prof. Dr. Mojib Latif (GEOMAR)
"The challenge of long-term climate change"

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the heat-trapping greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. The global average surface temperature rose by just less than 1°C, and the rate of temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. However, given all the warnings about and plans to forestall global warming, people are surprised to find that the global surface temperature of the Earth did hardly rise during the last one and a half decades. This hiatus in global warming is because the climate is going through a period of temporary cooling in several regions; it’s nothing unusual, just natural fluctuations. It does not mean that global warming is not still at work, or that we no longer need to worry about global temperatures rising by as much as 4°C by the end of the century - an unprecedented warming in the history of mankind, if no measures are taken to cut the emissions greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2). Yet the global CO2 emissions are increasing year by year. One reason is the strong rise in world coal consumption, which is much faster compared with oil. International policies concerning climate protection are at a dead end.

Talk by MICMoR Cooperation Partner
Prof. Dr. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa (University of Alberta, Canada)
"Wireless Sensor Networks"

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Anne-Lena Wahl:
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reveal individual species responses to current and future climate condition

Javier Tejedor:
Silvicultural thinning does not alter soil C and N stocks of a mountainous beech forest in Southern Germany under present and future climate

Verena Huber García:
Driving forces of land use change in mountainous catchments: The Ebro basin

Urszula Mikolaiczyk:
Air quality modeling in urban areas: Evaluation of the WRF/Chem modeling system

Claudia Weitnauer:
Impact of seasonal synoptic weather types on local PM10 concentrations: recent conditions and future projections

Davis Gampe:
A short analysis of the CMIP% precipitation projections over the Adige catchment

Eleonore Schenk:
Multiple scales of climate and vegetation - Land cover feedback in High Mountain Areas of the Tibetan Plateau

4th MICMoR Research Forum | May 27, 2014
IMK-IFU, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Keynote Talk
Prof. Dr. Harald Kunstmann (KIT/IMK-IFU & University of Augsburg, Institute for Geography)
"How well do we know the water cycle? - The crux of precipitation quantification"

Climate, water and human wealth are directly interlinked in most regions worldwide, as longterm sustainable development depends on sufficient water availability and the ability to respond to the specific regional climatic boundary conditions. While water availability per capita is decreasing continuously due to population growth and increasing water demands, further stress on water availability is expected being put on societies by potential climate change impacts on the regional water cycle. The joint societal and scientific challenge is to support decision makers by scientifically sound information on current and future expected climate- and regional water cycle variability, in a distributed and high resolution manner. But how well do we know the water cycle, its fluxes, and its variability in space and time? 
Crucial input for all terrestrial water availability analyses of course is precipitation. The presentation shows the limits of gridded global precipitation data sets and global reanalysis products. It also shows how precipitation observation network densities have decreased worldwide in the last years. But also high resolution regional climate models show significant biases in reproducing observed precipitation statistics. The presentation explains the necessity and the techniques for statistical correction techniques that have to be applied before raw climate model output for precipitation can be applied in subsequent hydrological or agricultural impact models. 
Recent developments in improved regional climate models will be shown and explained: currently regional climate models are extended towards fully coupled regional earth system type models that allow for example to model the water cycle in a closed manner, i.e. from the upper troposphere, via the boundary layer, the land surface, to the unsaturated zone and the aquifers. This is of particular importance when feedbacks between land surface and land surface changes on the regional climate and precipitation behavior are of interest. Finally, also new precipitation observation techniques will be presented, like line integrated estimates form the attenuation of microwave links signals, as obtained from commercial cellphone network providers worldwide. The potential of this new technique is discussed, particularly for mountain regions and regions with weak infrastructure like e.g. West Africa.

Panel discussion
From measurements to processes - how do we know what we know in science?

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Ladislav Sigut: 
New tool for CO2 flux partitioning with soil chamber flux implementation as a solution for site in topographically complex terrain

Marvin Lüpke: 
Effect of drought stress on BVOC emissions from Scots pine provenances

Stefan Härer:
Zug3D: Monitoring and modeling the hydrology of Zugspitze massif

Philipp Koal: 
Effect of different agronomic practises on greenhouse gas emissions, especially N2O and nutrient cycling

Florian Heinlein:
Measurement and modelling of water flow in maize plants

Christoph Thieme: 
Development of a model to simulate the impact of atmospheric stability on N2O-fluxes from soil

3rd MICMoR Research Forum | November 14, 2013
GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), Feldafing

Keynote Talk
Prof. Dr. Christian Körner (University of Basel, Switzerland, Institute of Botany)
"Mountains under change: realism versus alarmism"

Mountains are often considered hostile places where organisms suffer from all sorts of constraints and are expected to be particularly vulnerable to environmental changes. In this presentation Christian Körner will in large disprove that assertion that reflects an anthropocentric view and a rather basic misunderstanding of how the living world works. Mountains were in the past and still are cradles of life, beating most lowland ecosystems in terms of biodiversity. Nowhere else is it possible to protect and conserve more biological richness per unit of land area than in mountains, tropical ones in particular. In this presentation Christian Körner will first recall the causes and the functional significance of mountain biodiversity. He will then explore the consequences of climatic warming, based on data about the actual high elevation life conditions and with reference to the global treeline phenomenon. Other aspects of global change such as the enrichment of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide (CO2), the loading of biota with soluble nitrogen, and finally, the consequences of land use change for hydrology in high mountains will be discussed.

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Urszula Mikolajczyk:
Application of the WRF/Chem for regional air quality modeling: Preliminary studies for the future Health Impact Assessment

Sarah Asam:
Potential of high resolution remote sensing data for Leaf Area Index derivation using a radiation transfer model

Philipp Koal:
Automated system for measurements of greenhouse gas emissions from soils

Pablo Zuazo:
Effects of drying-wetting events on NO, N2O, CH4 and CO2 emissions from soils

Liangxiao Wang:
Using remote sensing for the monitoring and modeling of permafrost decline in Northern Quebec

Lenin Campozano:
Seasonality of clouds and rain in the Paute river catchment of the Ecuadorian Andes – is it properly captured by climate model simulations? 

Florian Ewald:
Volumetric reconstruction of convective clouds from ground-based measurements: Lessons learned and applications to real-world scenarios

Katja Heidbach:
Experimental Validation of Flux Footprint Models – Preliminary Results


2nd MICMoR Research Forum | May 15, 2013
IMK-IFU, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU) served as setting for the second MICMoR Research Forum, which was held on May 15, 2013. Guest speaker Prof. Dr. Mark Wenig from the LMU Munich gave a talk on the topic "More than meets the eye – The role of hyperspectral remote sensing in observing our changing planet". Following this keynote, the MICMoR Fellows presented their progress reports and discussed several aspects of their PhD work with the MICMoR Community.

Keynote Talk

Prof. Dr. Mark Wenig (LMU Munich, Meteorological Institute)
"More than meets the eye – The role of hyperspectral remote sensing 
in observing our changing planet"

Planet Earth has undergone a tremendous transformation in the last 100 years. Especially changes in the atmospheric composition have led to a variety of problems including global climate change, the ozone hole, acid rain and negative effects on public health. Hyperspectral remote sensing is a key technology for monitoring environmental problems. This talk will give an overview of different spectral satellite measurements and how relevant information can be extracted from the large amount of measurement data. 
Prof. Wenig's research focuses on remote sensing of air pollutants and other atmospheric parameters with the aim to further the understanding of the anthropogenic impact on the environment, and the talk will cover some of his current results as well.

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Florian Heinlein: 
Modelling climate change impacts on crop growth and yield quality based on explicit simulations of plant internal transport processes

Claudia Weitnauer:
Objective Circulation type classifications for the estimation of local PM10 concentrations in Bavarian cities (Germany)

Javier Tejedor:
Gross N fluxes in intact beech-soil-microbe systems under simulated climate change

Christoph Thieme:
Innovative N2O measurements at the TERENO research farm Scheyern

Stefan Härer:
Zug3D: Climate change effects on the hydrology of Zugspitze massif. Improving model predictions by using innovative monitoring and model concepts

Marvin Lüpke:
Measurement of BVOC from Scots pine under stress conditions ‐ sample system realization and system testing

1st MICMoR Research Forum | November 16, 2012
LMU Munich

The Palaentological Museum in Munich served as setting for the first MICMoR Research Forum, which was held on November 16, 2012. Guest speaker Prof. Dr. Heinz Rennenberg from the University of Freiburg gave a talk on the topic "When friends turn to enemies – the hard and dangerous life under nitrogen limitation". Following this keynote, the MICMoR Fellows presented their progress reports and discussed several aspects of their PhD work with the MICMoR Community.

Keynote Talk
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rennenberg (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Forstbotanik und Baumphysiologie, Professur für Baumphysiologie)

"When friends turn to enemies – the hard and dangerous life under nitrogen limitation"

Increase in influence and resources are main drivers of aggressive interactions in human societies. In a similar way, resource limitation is the main driver of competitive interactions of plants in their ecosystems. In this context nitrogen availability plays a dominant role because it is among the most important factors that determine growth and development of plants.
The most extreme aggressive interaction of plants under nitrogen limitation is plant carnivory. However, this approach was not successful in evolution to deal with nitrogen limitation. Rather perennial lifestyle developed as a successful alternative. This lecture will address the processes in ecosystems that make perennial lifestyle a successful approach to deal with nitrogen limitation. It will further characterize plant-microbial interactions that mediate plant control over nitrogen distribution under nitrogen limitation in a changing environment. The significance of these processes in the context of global climate change will be discussed.

Progress reports by MICMoR Fellows

Sarah Asam:
Radiation transfer modeling in plant canopies and inversion techniques

Florian Ewald:
Hyperspectral measurements of reflected and transmitted solar radiation within the ACRIDICON campaign

Stefan Härer:
Monitoring of the snow cover distribution at the Zugspitze area using time-lapse photography

Katja Heidbach:
Experimental Validation of Flux Footprint Models – Experiment Design

Marvin Lüpke:
Measurement of BVOC from Scots pine under stress conditions - overview on sample system and experimental setup

Ladislav Šigut:
Analysis of daily courses of GPP and NPP estimated by eddy covariance method in mountain forest ecosystems in the Czech Republic

Claudia Weitnauer:
PM10 concentrations in Bavarian cities and their relation to large-scale circulation types