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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Scenario development and trade-off analyses of terrestrial carbon dioxide removal strategies for climate engineering in the context of global land-use

Lena Boysen is a PhD student at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research and a member of the IRI THESys Graduate Program. Her research focuses on the modeling of global land-use and land cover changes, their biogeophysical and biogeophysical effects on climate and, especially, the investigation of the terrestrial carbon cycle.

von Miya.m (Miya.m's photo taken in 熊本県産山村, Japan.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5) oder CC-BY-SA-2.1-jp (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.1/jp/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Miya.m (Miya.m's photo taken in 熊本県産山村, Japan.)


Photo: Cultivated Miscanthus Sinensis in Japan. Creative Common by Wikipedia

Assuming the absence of climate change mitigation actions, drastic interventions in the climate system might become necessary in the end of the century to lower global mean temperatures. Climate engineering (CE) methods try to alter the surface energy balance of the Earth by, among others, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) strategies.


In my study I focus on terrestrial CDR by using the potentials of the biosphere including global re- and afforestation and biomass plantation options combined with sustainable utilization pathways (e.g. bioenergy with CCS, biochar). These large-scale afforestation projects would most certainly exceed  the efforts of climate mitigation strategies and thus, not only affect the terrestrial carbon cycle but also e.g. biodiversity, water-, and agricultural systems. The the potentials and consequences need to be evaluated carefully by:

  1. developing and modeling spatially explicit global land-use transition scenarios for CDR under various constraints and sustainability criteria with the LPJmL model for dynamic vegetation and managed land.
  2. creating a multi-dimensional trade-off and synergy metric which accounts for the impacts and non-economic “costs” for the agricultural system and biodiversity (cooperations are advanced and necessary).
  3. reflecting the ethical, political and socio-economic implications of CE.

This study is part of the overarching DFG funded SPP 1689 on “Climate Engineering – Risks, Challenges, Opportunities?” and  the subproject CE-LAND.


Lena studied meteorology at the University of Hamburg from 2007 to 2012. After a semester abroad at the Meteorological Institute of the Stockholm University in 2010, she started a student assistant job at the MPI for Meteorology in Hamburg on model benchmarking and the visualization of ice core data sets for the IPCC AR5 WP1(2013). In her Master’s thesis she analyzed biogeophysical and biogeochemical effects of land-use and land cover changes on climate simulated by five Earth System Models participating in CMIP5. Since June 1, 2013 she works as a PhD student at PIK on the trade-offs of global terrestrial carbon dioxide removal strategies.


Lena Boysen


Lena Boysen, Doctoral Researcher
THESys Graduate Program
Phone: +49 (0331) 288-2574
E-mail: lboysen@pik-potsdam.de