Julia Pongratz takes on professorship in Munich

Dr. Julia Pongratz, Photo: Nina Hüttmann

Dr. Julia Pongratz, Photo: Nina Hüttmann

Dr Julia Pongratz, group leader in the department “Land in the Earth System” at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), has accepted a professorship at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich. She will be Full Professor for Physical Geography and Land Use Systems as of April 2018. She accepted the call in August 2017. Pongratz will not leave the MPI-M completely, she will continue to supervise her group “Forest in the Earth System” at MPI-M until mid-2019.

Dr Julia Pongratz studied at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and at the University of Maryland. She received her PhD with “summa cum laude” from MPI-M and was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society and the Wladimir Peter Köppen Award from the University of Hamburg. Afterwards, Dr Pongratz worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California.

She has led the Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group “Forest Management in the Earth System” at MPI-M since July 2013, investigating the interactions of land use and climate. “We now know from satellite and forest inventory data that about three-quarters of the ice free land surface is used by humans in one way or another.” says Pongratz. “But many aspects of how humans influence climate by this are still poorly understood.” What begins as an effect at the location of land use can have far-reaching – and opposite – consequences for other regions in the global climate system. What might look like a subtle change in vegetation, such as forest management, can have a similarly large effect on greenhouse gas, heat and water fluxes as the drastic changes caused by deforestation, which have usually been the focus of scientific research up to now. With the help of Earth system models, Pongratz´s group revealed such effects of land use.

In the Department of Geography at LMU, Dr Julia Pongratz will complement this type of basic research by applied aspects. “Understanding the fundamental interactions of land use and climate is important. However, individual aspects can be directly included in societal and political considerations.” Specifically, Pongratz future work will include projects such as the verification of national carbon budgets and cooperation with the Earth observation community to represent land management in strongly data-driven biosphere models. She will maintain her commitment to major international projects such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Global Carbon Project.

Dr Julia Pongratz
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Email: julia.pongratz@we dont want spammpimet.mpg.de