Science meets art

©Hauke Schulz: Shown are water vapor mixing profiles based on lidar measurements from the Barbados Cloud Observatory colored by integrated column water vapor (blue: wet; red: dry).

©Katherine Fodor: The field shown is the potential enstrophy in a convective atmospheric boundary layer, but rotated by 180 degrees. This gives it the appearance of plumes of dense water sinking into a dark ocean beneath.

©Kalle Wieners: This picture shows diagrams of the global mean state for different experiments conducted for the 2018 Earth System Modelling Summer School, each run as an ensemble of 2 x 1000 model years. The y-axis, CO2 concentration, ranges from 140 to 450 ppmV, the x-axis, 2m air temperature, ranges from -20°C to 28 °C.

©Lydia Keppler: Observed air-sea CO2 flux in mol/m2/yr (y-axis) as a function of temperature (x-axis) in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean between 2004 and 2016. The color indicates in which month the measurements were taken. E.g., dark blue = January, light blue = December. The x-values go from -2°C to 25°C, the y-values from -4.8 to 3.2 mol/m2/yr (negative is flux into the ocean).

“The greatest scientists are artists as well,” said Albert Einstein. In line with this motto scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) competed with scientific plots for the crown of “Clim*art“ at a side event of this year’s institutes retreat from 21-23 November 2018. During the retreat the entire scientific staff of MPI-M met to discuss current research topics, new science ideas and projects, and strategic issues. Along with the scientific program of presentations, breakout groups and plenary discussions, the “Clim*art” project has proven to be an unusual but effective and fun way to draw interest and to learn about the research conducted by colleagues.


Ten contributions by scientists from different departments and working on a variety of scientific questions were shown. The exhibition was realized with prints on canvas. The scientists interpreted their scientific plots in an artistic way, and colleagues voted for the favored ones. Shown here are the first three places.


First place: Water vapor rainbow (by Hauke Schulz, The Atmosphere in the Earth System)


Second place: Ocean in the sky (by Katherine Fodor, The Atmosphere in the Earth System)


Two third places: Rumpelstiltskin (by Kalle Wieners, CIMD) and Making Waves (by Lydia Keppler, The Ocean in the Earth System)



Clara Burgard
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Phone: +49 (0) 40 41173 205
Email: clara.burgard@we dont want

Bettina Diallo
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Phone: +49 (0) 40 41173 315
Email: bettina.diallo@we dont want