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Dr. Birgit Hünicke

Birgit Hünicke

Dr. Birgit Hünicke

Climate Extremes and Impacts

Head of Department

Phone: +49 (0)4152 87-1883

E-mail contact

General Information

My main interest is the climate influence on present and future regional sea-level variability and dynamics and its impact on the coast; with a strong focus on the Baltic Sea Area. I have long experience in the statistical analysis of combined datasets of observations, climate reconstructions and atmospheric model data output on timescales of decades to millennia. Due to my first degree, I am also strongly interested in coastal engineering and coastal zone management issues. In the last years, I extended my research interest on the connection of large-scale climate modes on coastal upwelling (including South Africa) and sea-level dynamics and its climate impact on the West African coast and South-East Asia.
In January 2011 the new group *Coastal Impacts' was launched under my responsibility at our Institute with focus on long-term impacts on coastal zones.


Natural hazards and response of the marine ecosystem - causal relationship and predictability (NECO, funded by BMBF)

Automatic detection of coastline change and causal linkage with natural and human drivers (AutoCoast, funded by HGF, Helmholtz Imaging Platform HIP)

Earth System Variability and Predictability in a Changing Climate, Cluster of Excellence -Climate, Climate Change and Society (CLICCS A6, funded by DFG)

Changes in the Aghulas System and its Impact on Southern African Coasts: regional atmosphere modeling and precipitation changes (CASISAC, funded by BMBF, SPACES Program FONA3)

Extreme sea-level events along South-East Asian coast: past, present and future (Asia-Floods, funded by DFG, SPP 1889 Regional Sea Level Change and Society)

Parental Leave (ARTHUR, funded by BMFSFJ)

Regional sea level under a changing climate at the retreating coast of Ghana (Ghana-SL, funded by DAAD) (PhD Supervisor)

Long-term sea-level variability and change in the Baltic Sea (funded within CliSAP2-B3 by DFG) (PhD Supervisor)

Impact of large scale climate variability on coastal upwelling (funded within CliSAP2-A3 by DFG) (PhD Supervisor)

Parental Leave (MAGNUS, funded by BMFSFJ)

Modelling Storm surges and sea-level rise in the Mediterranean Sea (funded by DAAD). (Host)

Influence of large-scale climate variability on upwelling regimes off the Namibian coast: implications for past and future climates (GENUS, funded by BMBF) (PhD Supervisor)

Climate Signals in Coastal Deposits (CLISCODE, funded within HGF Portfoliothema ‚Regionaler Klimawandel: Ursachen und Folgen’) (PhD Supervisor)

Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf (SPLASHCOS) Research network funded by the European Commission under its COST program. Working Group 2 ‘Environmental Data and Reconstructions’ (Collaborating Scientist)

Working group on drafting a Science Plan for a scientific research network following BALTEX Phase II (POSTBALTEX) (Member)

Wave climate simulations and sea-level change in the Baltic Sea. -Developing regional adaptation strategies to climate change for the German Baltic Sea coast (RADOST, funded by the BMBF within KLIMZUG)

BACC II -Second BALTEX Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea basin. (Lead Author) Chapter ‘Sea level and wind waves’

Coastline Changes for the southern Baltic Sea –past and future projections (COPAF, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education). (Collaborating Scientist)

Overview of Knowledge about Sea-level Change in the Baltic Sea (in context of the BALTEX project)

Relationships between Baltic Sea level variations and periods of rapid climate change in the Holocene as analogues for future changes (SINCOS II, funded by DFG)

Estimation of the climatic influence on the past and future sea-level changes in the Baltic Sea with the help of statistical methods and simulations with state-of-the-art climate models (SINCOS I, funded by DFG) (PhD Student)

Assessment of the current state of interaction between ecological and socio-economic development in the coastal region of Warnemünde-Rostock, German Baltic Sea: A decision support analysis for conflict management for stakeholder groups, with focus of dune and beach development. (funded by city of Rostock)

DFG: German Science Foundation; BMBF: Federal Ministry for Research; DAAD: German Academic Exchange Service HGF: Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres; COST: European Cooperation in Science and Technology

Head of Coastal Impacts and Paleoclimate Group, System Analysis and Modelling, Institute for Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Germany

Head of Coastal Impacts Group, System Analysis and Modelling, Institute for Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Germany

Research Scientist at Coastal Climate Group, System Analysis and Modelling, Institute for Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon (Hereon; formerly GKSS), Germany (climate and coastal research)

Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.), Geosciences, Hamburg University, Germany
Thesis Title: “Atmospheric forcing of decadal Baltic Sea level variability in the last 200 years: A statistical analysis”

International Max-Planck Research School for Earth System Modelling (IMPRS-ESM), Hamburg, Germany

Research Scientist at Paleoclimate Group, System Analysis and Modelling, Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht, Germany (climate and coastal research)

Research Scientist at the Institute for Landscape Management and Landscape Ecology, Rostock University, Germany

Diploma Engineer (equivalent. to M.Sc.), Rostock University, Germany
Thesis title: “Studies on coastal protection in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with special emphasis on theeffectiveness of beach nourishment” (in German)

Visiting Scholar at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, USA (Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering)

IAESTE Trainee at City Council Turku, Finland (landscape architecture)

Trainee at Enterprise for Environmental planning and scientific consulting, Bonn, Germany (environmental planning)

Trainee at State Agency for Environment and Nature, Coast Department, Rostock, Germany (coastal protection, beach nourishment)

Landscape Management and Environmental Protection, Rostock University, Germany

Professional Activities

-Member of the University Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence "Climate, Climate Change, and Society" (CLICCS, funded by DFG) (2019-2025)

-Member of BACC III Author Team (start 2019) and the HELCOM expert network on climate change (EN-CLIME)

-Co-Chair of Baltic Earth Working Group Grand Challenge 'Understanding sea level dynamics in the Baltic Sea Region’ (2013-2019)

-Active Member of the Baltic Earth programme

-Participating Researcher in University Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence "Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction" (CliSAP, funded by DFG) (2012-2018)

-Lead Author of the second BALTEX Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin (BACC2) Report. Chapter 'Sea level and wind waves ‘ (2010-2014)

-Member of the POSTBALTEX Working group (2011-2013) on drafting a Science Plan for a scientific research network following the BALTEX Phase II -Baltic Earth

-Invited Reviewer of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Zero-Order Draft (ZOD) of Working Group II Contribution to Climate Change 2013: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” and Working Group I The Physical Science Basis

-Active Member of collaborative Program on the Regional Aspects of Sea Level Change developed by the European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA)

-Reviewer for: Applied Ocean Research, International Journal of Climatology, Climate Research, Global and Planetary Change, Climate Dynamics, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Ambio, IPCC AR5 WGII, Journal of Marine Systems, Central European Journal of Geosciences, National Research Council (CNCS) Romania, Tellus A, Water Resources Research, Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, Oceanologia, Geophysical Journal International, Geophysical Research Letters, Geologos, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU), Arabian Journal of Geosciences, Continental Shelf Research, Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Ocean Dynamics, Tellus A, Global Health Action, Hydrological Processes, Earth System Dynamics, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Deep Sea Research, Islandic Research Fund, Nature Communications, Atmosphere, Journal of Climate, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, Scientific Reports, Remote Sensing, Frontiers Environmental Science, Journal of Sea Research etc.

-Supervision of PhD students

Unreviewed Publications