Personal profile:

Profile photo of  Prof. Dr. Maik Thomas

Prof. Dr. Maik Thomas

Head of Section 1.3: Earth System Modelling

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Building A 20, room 330
14473 Potsdam
Phone: +49 331 288-1147
Fax: +49 331 288-1163
e-mail: maik.thomas(at)


About the person

Research Interests:

Main focus: simulation of spatio-temporal variations of mass distributions within and mass exchanges among the Earth´s subsystems atmosphere, ocean, and continental hydrology in consideration of consistent mass and momentum fluxes as well as interactions with the solid Earth
  • Estimation and identification of oceanic, atmospheric, and hydrologic induced variations of the Earth´s gravity field, Earth orientation parameters, and geocenter on hourly to decadal timescales
  • Geophysical interpretation of geodetic observed variations of global parameters of the Earth by means of in-situ data and numerical simulations
  • Nonlinear interactions between dynamical components of the Earth´s subsystems (e.g., between the ocean´s general circulation and tides
  • Separation of mass and steric induced sea level variations
  • Paleo climate and paleo oceanography
  • Gravitational and pressure tides in atmosphere and oceans


  • 1989–1996: Study of Oceanography at the Department of Geosciences, University of Hamburg
  • Oct 1996: Graduation (Diploma) in Oceanography at the University of Hamburg; Topic of Master Thesis: ”Tides and angular momentum in the global ocean since the last glacial maximum”
  • Nov 1996–Sep 1999: Research associate at the Observatory Hoher List of the Astronomical Institutes, University of Bonn
  • May 1999–May 2001: Research associate at the Institute and Museum of Geology and Paleontology, University of Tübingen
  • June 2001–July 2001: Research associate at the Meteorological Institute, University of Bonn
  • 14 December 2001 Ph.D. at the Faculty of Geosciences of the University of Hamburg on ”Ocean induced variations of Earth´s rotation –  Results from a simultaneous model for circulation and tides in the global ocean” (summa cum laude)
  • Aug 2001–Apr 2007: Head of the working group “Global Geodynamics” at the Institute for Planetary Geodesy, Dresden University of  Technology
  • since May 2007: Head of Section 1.3 “Earth System Modelling” at GFZ Potsdam
  • Jan 2008-Oct 2013: W2-Professorship “Global Dynamic Geomodelling” at the Department of Earth Sciences of the Free University of Berlin
  • since Nov 2013: W3-Professorship “Modelling of Fluid Dynamics in the Earth System” at the Department of Earth Sciences of the Free University of Berlin


  • since 2011: DFG-Schwerpunktprogramm SPP 1375: "South Atlantic Margin Processes and Links with onshore Evolution" (SAMPLE). Projekt: "Reconstruction of atmosphere-ocean circulation pattrens for geological time slices by self consistent coupled model simulations"(Recom)
  • 2006 –: EROC "Earth rotation and the ocean´s circulation", DFG Research Unit "Earth Rotation and Global Dynamic Processes", FOR 584/P2
  • 2006 –: Earth Rotation and Climate "Long-term ERP time series as indicators for global climate variability and climate change (ERP-CLIVAR)", DFG Research Unit "Earth Rotation and Global Dynamic Processes", FOR 584/P10
  • 2007–2008: ESA: ITT "Monitoring and Modelling Individual Sources of Mass Distribution and Transport in the Earth System by Means of Satellites (Consultant)"
  • 2005–2008: Geotechnologien II "Improved GRACE Level-1 and Level-2 Products and their Validation by Ocean Bottom Pressure"
  • 2004–2007: Earth System Model, "Development of a Physically Consistent System Model for Investigations of the Earth´s Rotation, Deformation, and Gravity Field"
  • 2003–2006: Oceanographic Model Data for Interpretation and Correction of Satellite Data (OMIKS)