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Climate System Research Group

Our research targets the physical processes that control interactions and linkages between different “bricks” of the climate system.

In doing so, a central theme is the relation between the cryosphere (snow and ice) in high mountains and the large-scale mechanisms in the climate. To decipher this relation various “players” are of interest: coupled atmosphere-ocean modes acting over thousands of kilometers; associated flows in the atmosphere which are strongly modified by high mountains over land; and the meteorological conditions in the mountains which provide the local environment for glacier variability.


More knowledge of the causal link between these components holds great potential to better understand the functioning of our climate system – through different space/time dimensions and from the surface up to higher air layers (the mid troposphere). This vitally extends the basis for improving climate projections for the future.

Doctoral student, DAAD Fellow / co-supervision with WG Braun

PostDoc, project staff

Group leader, project leader / www.thomasmoelg.info

PostDoc, project staff

Doctoral student, project staff

Doctoral student, research assistant

PostDoc, project staff. GROCE: http://groce.de/

Doctoral student, research assistant

Alexander von Humboldt Scholar (2016, 2018), project leader / University of Otago

… with the support from students and their thesis projects!

Main themes
  • High-altitude glaciers as indicator of large-scale climate dynamics
  • Tropical climate variability (monsoon, El Niño) and extratropical impacts
  • Orographic precipitation and mesoscale circulations

Main methods

  • Meteorological measurements in high mountains
  • Numerical modeling and high-performance computing
  • Four-dimensional statistical analyses

  • Collier E., Mölg T., Sauter T. (2018): Recent Atmospheric Variability at Kibo Summit, Kilimanjaro, and Its Relation to Climate Mode Activity. Journal of Climate, 131, 12,702–12,712.
  • Mölg T., Maussion F., Collier E., Chiang J.C.H., Scherer D. (2017): Prominent Midlatitude Circulation Signature in High Asia’s Surface Climate During Monsoon. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 122, 12,702–12,712.
  • Sauter T., Galos S. (2016): Effects of local advection on the spatial sensible heat flux variation on a mountain glacier. The Cryosphere, 10, 2887-2905.
  • Prinz R., Nicholson L.I., Gurgiser W., Mölg T., Kaser G. (2016): Climatic controls and climate proxy potential of Lewis Glacier, Mt Kenya. The Cryosphere, 10, 133-148.
  • Li R., Luo T., Mölg T., Zhao J., Li X., Cui X., Du M., Tang Y. (2016): Leaf unfolding of Tibetan alpine meadows captures the arrival of monsoon rainfall. Scientific Reports, 6, 20985.
  • Collier, E., Maussion F., Nicholson L.I., Mölg T., Immerzeel W.W., Bush A.B.G. (2015): Impact of debris cover on glacier ablation and atmosphere–glacier feedbacks in the Karakoram. The Cryosphere, 9, 1617-1632.
  • Mölg T. (2015): Exploring the concept of maximum entropy production for the local atmosphere-glacier system. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 7, 412-422.
  • Sauter T., Obleitner F. (2015): Assessing the uncertainty of glacier mass-balance simulations in the European Arctic based on variance decomposition. Geoscientific Model Development, 8, 3911-3928.
  • Farinotti D., Longuevergne L., Moholdt G., Duethmann D., Mölg T., Bolch T., Vorogushyn S., Güntner A. (2015): Strong glacier mass loss in the Tien Shan over the past 50 years. Nature Geoscience, 8, 716-722.
  • Hofer M., Marzeion B., Mölg T. (2015): A priori selection and data-based skill assessment of reanalysis data as predictors for daily air temperature on a glaciated, tropical mountain range. Geoscientific Model Development, 8, 579-593.
  • Cullen N. J., Mölg T., Conway J., Steffen K. (2014): Assessing the role of sublimation in the dry snow zone of the Greenland ice sheet in a warming world. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 119, 6563–6577.
  • Mölg T., Maussion F., Scherer D. (2014): Mid-latitude westerlies as a driver of glacier variability in monsoonal High Asia. Nature Climate Change, 4, 68-73.
  • Sauter T., Möller M., Finkelnburg R., Grabiec M., Scherer D., Schneider C. (2013): Snowdrift modelling for the Vestfonna ice cap, north-eastern Svalbard. The Cryosphere, 7, 1287-1301.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Mölg

  • Address:
    Wetterkreuz 15
    Room 03.049
    91058 Erlangen
  • Phone number: +49 9131 85-26325
  • Email: thomas.moelg@fau.de
  • Office hours:
    During the semester - Wednesday, 4:15 pm - 5:00 pm (not on 31 Oct. 2018!)
    Outside of the semester - by appointment