Humboldt Research Awardee Pierre Friedlingstein at MPI-M

© David Mansell-Moullin

Prof Pierre Friedlingstein, a world-leading scientist from the University of Exeter, UK, with outstanding achievements in the field of biospheric research and climate-carbon cycle feedback analysis, has received the prestigious Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation. During the years 2019 – 2020 he will stay for 6 months at “The Land in the Earth System” (LES) department of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), hosted by the research group led by Prof Victor Brovkin.  

Friedlingstein’s pioneering study on the feedback between the carbon cycle and the climate had a strong impact on the climate and carbon cycle research. Using Earth system models, he was able to convincingly show for the first time, that the response of land and ocean biogeochemistry to global warming leads to an amplification of the climate change. He has also been able to attribute the main uncertainty in carbon feedback to land response to climate change. This ground-breaking paper led to a prompt acceptance of the carbon cycle as a crucial component of Earth system models to be used for future climate projections.

The Humboldt Research Award will provide a unique opportunity to advance the understanding of the land carbon cycle, to put a better constraint on global carbon cycle-climate feedback, in order to explore vulnerable to climate change regions, such as permafrost areas in high latitudes, and to advance on interannual to decadal predictability of land and ocean carbon uptakes. Detailed analysis of the most recent carbon observations will be combined with the carbon cycle modelling done using the MPI Earth System Model (MPI-ESM), the flagship model of the German climate research community used for climate and carbon cycle projections. The research will be fully integrated into the international projects such as the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Grand Challenge on “Carbon cycle feedbacks in the climate system” led by Prof Pierre Friedlingstein and Dr Tatiana Ilyina (MPI-M), as well as the Analysis, Integration and Modelling of the Earth System (AIMES) project of Future Earth Programme, and serve as a background for the upcoming 6th IPCC Assessment Report.  
More information:

Homepage Pierre Friedlingstein:

MPI-M Research Group:
Humboldt Foundation:


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

Dr Tatiana Ilyina
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Phone: +49 (0) 40 41173 164
Email: tatiana.ilyina@we dont want