Past Changes, Modern Processes and Future Perspectives of the Climate System are the pillars of research and teaching within the cluster Earth and Climate. We strive for multi-disciplinarity, crossing the traditional boundaries of disciplines and combine our experimental knowledge of terrestrial, oceanic and biogeochemical processes with modelling of System Earth. We collaborate in the Amsterdam Global Change Institute.
Our main research themes are:
- The evolution and variability of the Earth’s Climate in terms of forcings, processes, controlling factors and feedbacks in oceanic, terrestrial and atmospheric transport of heat, water and sediments.
- The changes and evolution of terrestrial, coastal and ocean environments and its key biogeochemical cycles (Carbon, Nitrogen) and water. We study the internal dynamics and the response of these systems to natural and anthropogenic forcings.
We use proxies to understand past climates, field experiments to understand today’s climate and advanced and intermediate complexity models to explore key sensitivities of the Earth’s climate. In our work on modern climate forcing we focus on the role of terrestrial biogeochemistry, in particular the water, carbon and nitrogen cycle, where we combine observations from in situ and from space to better understand the impact humans have on the Earth System. We combine numerical models with various proxies to study the causes and impacts of natural climate variability on centennial-to-millennial time scales. We study modern marine biogeological processes to arrive at a mechanistic understanding of oceanic processes in relation to ecology. We further explore the use of proxies to determine past behaviour of the Earth’s ocean and its impact on climate.
Our group consists of about 50 permanent and temporary staff members who regularly publish in Nature, Science, PNAS, and PLOS. Group members play an active role in international organisations (AGU, EGU). In conference organisation, as editors and reviewers for nearly all climate oriented journals. ERC and VIDI laureates belong to our staff.and (inter-)national recognition is expressed in prizes and medals: Vening Meinesz, Boussinesq, Esscher, Vernadsky.
The group plays an active role in the teaching of the BSc programmes Earth Sciences and Earth Sciences & Economics, and in the MSc programme Earth Sciences, especially in the specialisation Earth and Climate and in the teaching at Amsterdam University College (AUC).
Contact: Head of Department Prof. dr. R.T. (Ronald) van Balen / Cluster Head Earth and Climate Prof. dr. G.R. (Guido) van der Werf