Award 2014: Dr. Jonathan Friedemann Donges

Jonathan Donges received the Köppen prize 2014.

Dr. Jonathan Friedemann Donges received this year’s Wladimir Peter Köppen Prize, awarded by the Cluster of Excellence CliSAP. The jury described his dissertation, submitted to Berlin’s Humboldt Universität, as an innovative and outstanding contribution to current climate research.

Donges investigated whether simplified models can be used to gain an understanding of the climate system. To do so he described its essential structure using a network of subcomponents like atmosphere, ocean and land surface, which mutually influence each other. With the help of theoretical tools such as network analysis and graph theory, he was then able to analyze and interpret our planet’s complex geophysical-environmental changes. He can use this method to describe fundamental climate-system processes more simply. In future this could simplify calculations thereby saving time and resources.

This is the sixth time that the Köppen Prize – this year worth €5,000 – has been awarded. It is given annually for outstanding dissertations by young researchers under the age of 30. “We want to promote excellent work by young talents, and so we are especially delighted by the growing number of dissertations submitted,” said Anita Engels, spokesperson for the Hamburg Cluster. Engels will present the Prize to Donges, who is currently working at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, at CliSAP’s New Year’s Reception in early January.