The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) is an internationally renowned institute for climate research. Its mission is to understand Earth's changing climate.


The MPI-M comprises three departments and, together with the Opens external link in current windowUniversity of Hamburg, an international PhD program:

The Atmosphere in the Earth System

The Land in the Earth System
The Ocean in the Earth System


In addition the institute hosts independent research groups focused on the following topics:


Scientists at the MPI-M investigate what determines the sensitivity of the Earth system to perturbations such as the changing composition of its atmosphere, and work toward establishing the sources and limits of predictability within the Earth system. MPI-M develops and analyses sophisticated models of the Earth system, which simulate the processes within atmosphere, land and ocean. Such models have developed into important tools for understanding the behaviour of our climate, and they form the basis for international assessments of climate change. Targeted in-situ measurements and satellite observations complement the model simulations.


Together with several other non-university research institutions the MPI-M and the University of Hamburg constitute Opens external link in current windowCliSAP, a centre of excellence for climate research and education in Hamburg, Germany.

Focus on

Forest Management in the Earth System

The scientists working in the Emmy Noether Group "Forest Management in the Earth System" at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), led by Dr. Julia Pongratz, aim at a better understanding and a better quantification of the overall impact of land use change on climate. A key focus lies on forest management.

The vegetation covering the continents has decisive influence on climate, exchanging heat, moisture, momentum, and a variety of chemical materials with the atmosphere. Humans are substantially interfering with this exchange by altering the vegetation cover: about one third of the natural vegetation on Earth's ice-free land surface has been transformed to agricultural areas ("anthropogenic land cover change"). On an even larger area the original vegetation type is kept, but is now managed to some extent by humans ("land management", for example forest management). Only the rest, a mere quarter of the land surface, remains untouched by direct human influence, although via global climate change also these regions are indirectly altered by human activity. Read more