New working group on modelling human-environmental interactions in the Anthropocene (HERMITIAN)

At the end of October 2020, the German Committee Future Earth (DKN) approved Prof. Julia Pongratz and Prof. Victor Brovkin to establish a working group for modeling human-environmental interactions in the Anthropocene (HERMITIAN).

The capabilities of modeling the biogeochemical and physical Earth system as well as socioeconomic dynamics have advanced substantially over the last decades. However, the two modeling realms remain largely separated and feedbacks between humans and the Earth system are largely absent in Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) used in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. The HERMITIAN working group with nine partners will identify promising ways forward to address the gap of societal feedbacks within the SSPs. Two foci will initially be addressed: (1) land management, land-use and land cover changes, which in the form of carbon dioxide removal methods are a key component of many low-emission scenarios; (2) non-linearities in the coupled climate-social-ecological system, including abrupt changes and cascading effects.

Research questions to be addressed by the working group include:

  • Which human responses to climate change are most effective in defining future sustainable pathways?
  • What are promising land-use and carbon emission trajectories compatible with the Paris Agreement, which follow sustainable development paths and provide beneficial co-benefits for climate change adaptation?
  • What are design principles and best practices for developing more integrated Earth system – society models?
  • What unexpected surprises could emerge in the future from the tipping elements in the Earth system and how can they be foreseen and managed?

The HERMITIAN working group will organize meetings and workshops in the coming two years. The group will work in close cooperation with the Future Earth AIMES Global Research Project (Analysis, Integration, and Modelling of the Earth System).

More information:

German Committee Future Earth


Prof Dr Victor Brovkin
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Phone: +49 (0) 40 41173 339
Email: victor.brovkin@we dont want

Prof Dr Julia Pongratz
Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität Munich (LMU)
Department for Geography
Email: julia.pongratz@we dont want