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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Projects | IRI THESys | People | Prof. Dr. Dieter Gerten

Prof. Dr. Dieter Gerten

Humanity within freshwater constraints and planetary boundaries


  • Planetary boundaries and their interactions
  • Human interactions with the global water cycle and biosphere
  • Climate change impacts on ecosystems, agriculture and freshwater resources


“In the Anthropocene, human activities and the water cycle are closely interwoven at local to global scale, not least through the way we use land. Avoiding further transgression of planetary boundaries and degradation of the global water system requires solid modelling and interdisciplinary understanding of humanity’s role in the Earth system – I am dedicated to pursue such research at IRI THESys.” Dieter Gerten

Prof. Dr. Dieter Gerten is Research Group leader and Coordinator for Earth Modelling at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as Professor for Global Change Climatology and Hydrology at the Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. After having studied Applied Physical Geography at the University of Trier (diploma 1997), he was PhD student at the Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin and received his doctorate degree from the University of Potsdam in 2001.

Dieter has (co)authored ~120 peer-reviewed articles and written or edited several books bridging fields as diverse as hydrology, biogeochemistry and religious sciences. He also teaches courses on global hydrology, earth system analysis and socio-hydrology.

Dieter Gerten is a member of IRI THESys since May 2018.

Selected Publications

Heck, V., Gerten, D., Lucht, W., Popp, A. 2018: Biomass-based negative emissions difficult to reconcile with planetary boundaries. Nature Climate Change 8, 151–155.

Jägermeyr, J., Pastor, A., Biemans, H., Gerten, D. 2017: Reconciling irrigated food production with environmental flows for Sustainable Development Goals imple-mentation. Nature Communications 8, 15900.

Steffen, W., Richardson, K., Rockström, J., ..., Gerten, D. et al. 2015: Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet. Science 347, 1259855.

Gerten, D., Lucht, W., Ostberg, S. et al. 2013: Asynchronous exposure to global warming: freshwater resources and terrestrial ecosystems. Environmental Research Letters 8, 034032.

Gerten, D. 2018: Wasser – Knappheit, Klimawandel, Welternährung. C.H. Beck.

Full list of publications


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