Modelling Plant-Soil-Systems


The change in Earth’s climate influences the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems and likewise impacts on human health.

On the one hand human exposures change with regional weather changes mainly through increases in average temperature which may lead to heat waves and other weather extremes such as storms and floods.
On the other hand climatic health effects are often modulated by interactions with ecological and socio-economic processes and in particular by changes in agro-ecosystems and regional hydrology.

Therefore to support the identification, quantification and prediction of health impacts due to climate change it is the aim of the research group to develop land surface and vegetation models which can be linked to regional climate models and improve the description of environmental processes that directly or indirectly affect human health.


Mathematical models are developed to describe and analyse the physical, chemical and biological processes that occur in the soil-plant-atmosphere systems as parts of terrestrial ecosystems. Mathematical simulations are performed to represent the complex interactions between water flows, solute transport and heat transfer, plant growth and microbial transformation processes and are applied to forecast or to project future regional weather, climate and environmental conditions.

One focus of interest consists in the assessment of the feed back effects between soil moisture and air humidity and their description in regional climate models (TERENO and REKLIM).
Another focus will be (i) to forecast the allergenic potential of pollen by simulations of aeolian transport and interaction with air pollutants, and (ii) to perform scenario studies about climate change effects on production, release and spatial distribution of pollen and allergens (REKLIM 2).

Research includes the modelling of

  1. Water flow and Transport: The development and evaluation of prognostic models to calcualate the water and nitrogen balance in plants and soils.
  2. N2O Emissions: The simulation of nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions from the rooted soil zone.
  3. Plant Growth: The modelling of plant growth, plant-soil interaction, plant-plant competition, plant internal resource allocation and prediction of yield and quality of crop.
  4. Regional Climate: The development of improved land system vegetation models as part of regional climate models to simulate future weather and climate conditions.

For this purpose we develop and apply the model system Expert-N.