IV Climate and Surface Processes

Principal aim: To determine how climate (precipitation, temperature), and its variability and change govern the dynamics of Earth surface processes and affect the natural landscape and the human habitat.

The group uses numerical modeling and observational approaches. Surface process and landscape evolution models are combined with local scale climate models to investigate the geomorphic impacts of climate variability and change on time scales ranging from decades to millions of years. Output of these models is tested against digital models of topography with known history of climatic forcing, depositional records of landscape erosion obtained for example by cosmogenic nuclide analysis of terrace, delta or lake bed sediments, and direct observation of erosion fluxes in the context of weather records. In this work, special attention is paid to the roles of temperature and temperature variations, and of climate-dependent biological and chemical processes, which are often neglected in considerations of climate-driven landscape dynamics.