Welcome to the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), Hamburg

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:

The Atmosphere in the Earth System

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


MPI-M and the Opens external link in current windowUniversity of Hamburg jointly run an international Ph.D program:


Four 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

Cloud research in the Hans-Ertel Centre Group

Shallow or deep, isolated or in groups, randomly distributed or organized, those are just many of the appearances cumulus clouds like to take in our summer skies. But why do clouds sometimes organize? Why do they deepen? Is a shallow cloud just lucky to deepen into a towering cumulus, or is there something more to it? Are external factors, e.g. the characteristics of the underlying land surface, important for the development and organization of such clouds? Do small-scale perturbations triggered by the presence of clouds actually matter for the future evolution of the atmospheric state on larger scales? And how could we better represent such phenomena in weather and climate models? The numerical mesh over which climate models represent atmospheric circulations is often too coarse to resolve clouds.  This means that those clouds cannot be explicitly represented but their effects on the larger scales need to be represented in some statistical fashion, using a priori rules (parameterizations).


The Hans Ertel Centre (HErZ) research group in the department “The Atmosphere in the Earth System” at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) works with its group leaders Dr. Cathy Hohenegger (MPI-M) and Dr. Axel Seifert (DWD – German Meteorological Service) on these questions. The HErZ group is supported by MPI-M as well as by DWD. The Hans Ertel Centre as a whole, which entails five research groups spread throughout Germany, is an initiative by DWD [6].


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