Climate and biodiversity have gone through changes in the past and both systems are linked by interaction processes. For instance, the vegetation in the Late Miocene (11 to 7 Ma), characterised by a generally larger forest cover (Fig. 1), is a relevant factor for understanding the earlier warm climate (Fig. 2).

Predictions of climate sensitivity and, hence, climate projections are still fraught with uncertainties - partly due to the complexity of feedback processes between biodiversity and climate. For this reason, Project Group E1 focuses on biogeophysical coupling mechanisms between biodiversity and climate.

The aim is to develop a coupled bio-climate model system to represent biodiversity-climate interaction processes on a range of spatio-temporal scales. For the global scale the global climate model ECHAM of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg is used. For describing the vegetation in the model the adaptive Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (aDGVM) is being implemented (see project E2.1). For the regional scale the regional climate model COSMO-CLM is used. It is still being investigated which degree of complexity for describing the vegetation in the model is needed (see project E1.3).

The bioclimate model system is evaluated for the Anthropocene but it is also applied to past warm periods such as the Mid-Holocene and the Miocene. These test are needed in order to obtain more accurate projections for the future climate.