Prof. Dr. Almut Arneth
© Gabi Zachmann, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Ecosystem Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe
Almut Arneth is awarded the Leibniz Prize 2022 for her outstanding research into the interaction and feedback between terrestrial ecosystems and climate change. Her work has contributed significantly to a better understanding of these mutual dependencies: climate change affects ecosystems, while changes in land use also impact on regional climate. Arneth was able to show that terrestrial biogeochemical climate feedback taken together have a similar magnitude as feedback within the physical climate system itself. She undertook the first global process-based assessment of the so-called isoprene emissions released by plants into the atmosphere and was able to demonstrate that these changed significantly as a result of global warming and the increase in carbon dioxide levels. More recently, Arneth has been looking into the role of fires and land-use change as global sources of carbon dioxide. Her research links the previously only loosely connected fields of biodiversity and climate science.
Arneth gained her PhD in environmental science at the University of Lincoln in New Zealand in 1998 before becoming an Emmy Noether junior research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena. After another postdoctoral stay at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, she moved to Lund University in 2004, where she became a professor in 2011. Since 2012 she has been a professor at the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research at KIT, where she heads the Modelling of Global Land Ecosystems working group.