David Nielsen

Department Climate Variability
Group Ocean Biogeochemistry
Position Postdoc
phone +49
Email david.nielsen@mpimet.mpg.de
Room G 344

I am broadly interested in climate variability and change. I work with models of varying complexity, from simple empirical models, to global ocean and Earth system models, form daily to centennial time scales. Topic-wise, I have worked on the ocean carbon cycle and its physical boundaries, especially in polar and coastal regions, and previously on the predictability of the South American monsoon. Currently, I am working on assessing the impact of increasing resolution (up to a couple of kilometers horizontally) in global models. 

I have a background in Environmental (BSc) and Biosystems Engineering (MSc), and Earth System Science (PhD). Thesis: "An Earth system modelling perspective on Arctic coastal erosion under climate change" [Thesis PDF]

ORCIDGoogle Scholar, LinkedIn

Postdoc, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Ocean Biogeochemistry group, Hamburg, Germany (2022 - present)

PhD Earth System Sciences (summa cum laude), Universität Hamburg and International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling, Hamburg, Germany (2018 - 2021)

Lena Delta Expedition to Samoylov and Mustakh Islands, Russia (summer 2019). 

MSc Biosystems EngineeringUniversidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil (2016 - 2018)

Internship, LOCEAN, Sorbonne Universités, Paris, France (summer 2018)

Environmental Engineering, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, Brazil (2010 - 2016)

Exchange year and thesis in BSc Earth Science, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands (2013 - 2014)

Visagio Management Consulting, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Internship 2012 - 2013, Trainee 2014 - 2015)

CLICCS A5: The Land-Ocean Transition Zone

CLICCS A1: Carbon Dynamics in the Arctic

CLICCS A6: Earth System Variability and Predictability

EU Horizon 2020 Nunataryuk: Coastal permafrost research, combining modelling and socio-economic analysis, from local communities to the pan-Arctic scale.

Submitted and in review

Nielsen DM, Chegini F, Maerz J, Brune S, Mathis M, Brovkin V, Baehr J, Dobrynin M and Ilyina T. Reduced Arctic Ocean's CO2 uptake due to coastal permafrost erosion (accepted, Nature Climate Change). Preprint: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3451819/v1

Gartler S, Scheer J, Meyer A et al. (incl. Nielsen DM). Local risks from Arctic permafrost thaw – A transdisciplinary, comparative analysis (in review)

Burn C et al. (incl. Nielsen DM). Developments in permafrost science and engineering in response to climate warming in circumpolar and high mountain regions, 2019–2024 (submitted). 

Creel R, Guimond J, Jones B,  Nielsen DM, Bristol EM, Tweedie CE and Overduin PP. Permafrost thaw subsidence, sea-level rise and erosion are reshaping Arctic Alaska's coastal zone (submitted). Preprint: https://doi.org/10.31223/X5KD8V


Mathis M, Lacroix F, Hagemann S, Nielsen DM, Ilyina T, Schrum C. (2024) Increasing atmospheric CO2 enhances the carbon uptake of coastal ocean. Nature Climate Change, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-024-01956-w

Barkhordarian A, Nielsen DM, Olonscheck D. and Baehr J. (2024) Greenhouse gas-induced Arctic marine heatwaves triggered by abrupt sea ice melt. Communications Earth & Environment, https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-024-01215-y

Nielsen DM, Pieper P, Barkhordarian A, Overduin PP, Ilyina T, Brovkin V, Baehr J and Dobrynin M. (2022) Increase in Arctic coastal erosion and its sensitivity to warming in the twenty-first century, Nature Climate Change, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-022-01281-0

Barkhordarian A, Nielsen DM, and Baehr J. (2022) Recent marine heatwaves in the North Pacific warming pool can be attributed to rising atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases. Communications Earth & Environment, https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-022-00461-2

Brune S, Espejo MC, Nielsen DM, Hongmei L, Ilyina T and Baehr J. (2021) Oceanic Rossby waves drive inter-annual predictability of net primary production in the central tropical Pacific. Environmental Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac43e1

Nielsen DM, Dobrynin M, Baehr J, Razumov S and Grigoriev M. (2020) Coastal erosion variability at the southern Laptev Sea linked to winter sea ice and the Arctic Oscillation, Geophysical Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL086876

Nielsen DM, Belém AL, Marton E. and Cataldi, M. (2019) Dynamics-based regression models for the South Atlantic Convergence Zone. Climate Dynamics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-018-4460-4

Nielsen DM, Cataldi M, Belém AL and Albuquerque ALS. (2016) Local indices for the South American monsoon system and its impacts on Southeast Brazilian precipitation pattern, Natural Hazards, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-016-2355-4


Non-peer reviewed

Nielsen DM (2022) An Earth system modelling perspective on Arctic coastal erosion under climate change. PhD Thesis, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg. [PhD Thesis PDF]

Nielsen DM et al. (2022) Arctic coastal erosion accelerates permafrost carbon loss - uncertainties and impacts. Behind the Paper, Springer-Nature Sustainability Community. https://go.nature.com/34fl2p5

Nielsen DM (2018) Objective identification of the South Atlantic Convergence Zone in variables of the atmospheric dynamics. Master's Thesis (in Portuguese), Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói. [Master's thesis PDF]


Reviewer for Geophysical Research Letters, Communications Earth & Environment, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Frontiers in Earth Science, Geology. 


High-resolution Earth system modelling

In ongoing work, we investigate how tropical cyclones change air-sea CO2 fluxes in unprecedented high-resolution global coupled simulations including ocean biogeochemistry with ICON. 

See video

Preprint: Reduced Arctic Ocean CO2 uptake due to coastal permafrost erosion

Arctic coastal permafrost erosion is projected to increase by a factor of 2-3 by 2100. However, organic matter (OM) fluxes from the coastal permafrost into the ocean have not been considered in Earth system models (ESMs) so far. Here, we represent coastal permafrost erosion in an ESM...

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Modelling future Arctic coastal erosion

The Arctic coast consists of permafrost – perennially frozen ground – very rich in organic carbon and ground ice. During winter, coastal permafrost is well protected, surrounded by sea ice...

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