Dr Rer Nat Habil Sebastian Mutz
- Senior Lecturer in Paleoclimate Modelling (School of Geographical & Earth Sciences)
I am a senior lecturer at the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences and investigate climate change and Earth system dynamics. I focus primarily on the interactions between climate and landscapes in mountains and coastal regions. I employ process-based models, empirical-statistical models, and techniques from AI. I am an advocate of „open science“ and multilateral collaboration, and an active member of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). I serve as a topical editor for the journals Earth System Dynamics and Geoscience Communication. Recent outreach efforts include the development of open and accessible educational materials about climate science and Earthquakes.
Education and Career
- 2023 — now
Senior Lecturer / Associate Professor at the University of Glasgow, UK
- 2016 — 2023
Lecturer / Assistant Professor at the University of Tübingen, Germany
Habilitation (Dr. habil.) attesting research and teaching excellence
Evaluation: C. Zarfl, S. Hergarten, professorial committee
- 2012 — 2016
Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Tübingen, Germany
- 2008 — 2012
Doctoral Researcher at the University of Würzburg, Germany
Doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) in Physical Geography and Climatology
Supervision: H. Paeth, S. Winkler
- 2004 — 2008
Integrated masters student at the University of Leicester, UK
Master (MGeol) in Geology with Palaeobiology
Supervision: S. Davies, M. Purnell
Graduated from the British International School Kyiv
Earth’s terrestrial surface is a venue for the interactions between climate and the cryosphere, biosphere, geomorphological and geodynamic processes. The dynamics of this environment shape the boundary conditions for the life of many species, including humans. In my research, I focus on the interactions between climate and the other Earth system components. The core topics of this research can be organised into three well-connected categories: A) Palaeoclimates of the Cenozoic, B) Earth surface dynamics, and C) contemporary climate change impact assessments and predictions (Fig. R1).
These research topics are linked by several important, broad hypotheses, which can be summarised as follows:
- Hypothesis 1: Climate change exerts significant and measurable control on Earth surface processes.
- Hypothesis 2: Synoptic-scale climate variability can explain much of the variation in terrestrial hydrology and regional near-surface climate.
- Hypothesis 3: Changes in surface topography result in significant and measurable impacts on regional and global climate.
The societal importance of studying the past climates and Earth surface changes is epitomised by the concept “The past is the key to the future”. This can be expressed more elegantly as a 4th hypothesis that underlines the socioeconomic relevance and motivations for conducting research in categories A and B:
- Hypothesis 4: Earth has already experienced climates similar to potential future climates caused by anthropogenic factors.
- 2020 — 2024: €210,520, German Research Foundation (DFG).
Topic: Reconstructing Eastward Propagation of Surface Uplift in the Alps: Integrating Stable Isotope Palaeoaltimetry and Palaeoclimate Modelling.
Investigator(s): Mutz, Ehlers (separate project by Meijers, Methner, Mulch)
- 2020 — 2021: €750, European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Topic: INTEGRATE: open-access, open-source teaching package for climate and machine learning.
- 2017 — 2022: €188,212, German Research Foundation (DFG).
Topic: Neogene paleoelevation and paleoclimate of the central Alps - Linking surface processes to lithospheric dynamics.
Investigator(s): Ehlers, Mutz (separate project by Mulch, Methner)
- 2017 — 2022: €122,625, Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).
Topic: Q-TIP: Tipping points of lake systems in the Central Asian arid zone.
Investigator(s): Mutz, Appel, Ehlers
- 2016 — 2017: €1,000, European Geoscience Union (EGU).
Topic: Earthquake emergency education video lessons.
Investigator(s): Mohadjer, Mutz
Image: Ardhra Sedhu-madhavan (left; MSc student), Sebastian G. Mutz (middle) and Daniel Boateng (right; PhD student) at the EGU General Assembly 2023 in Vienna, Austria.
Enquiries about Supervision
Enquiries about supervision are always welcome, esp. if your research interests fall into one of the following categories:
- Climate dynamics and climate change (past, present and future)
- Climate change impacts (e.g., how climate change affects glaciers, erosion, extreme events or health)
- Numerical modelling and model development
- Data analysis, statistics, machine learning and AI
Browsing the list of ongoing and completed projects below may give you a better idea of the type of work I typically supervise. However, future projects can go beyond this scope.
Enquiries about existing/planned projects are just as welcome as bringing your own research ideas to discuss.
- 2020 — now: Effects of palaeoclimate and diachronous uplift of the European Alps on the oxygen isotopic composition of rainwater (Daniel Boateng)
- 2023 — now: A model-based exploration of Mid-Holocene anti-phase climate variations in the Central Andes (Ardhra Sedhu-madhavan)
- 2017 — 2021: Tipping points of lake systems in the Central Asian arid zone
- 2017 — 2021: Neogene paleoelevation and paleoclimate of the central Alps - Linking surface processes to lithospheric dynamics
- 2022: Downscaling of orographic precipitation in complex Norwegian terrain (Eskil Salis Gross)
- 2021: A Probabilistic Assessment of Alps Palaeotopography Using Bayesian Integration of Palaeoclimate Data and Models
- 2021: Prediction of 21st century precipitation response to different emission scenarios in the Ammer catchment (Daniel Boateng)
- 2021: Empirical-Statistical Downscaling of Precipitation in Chile by Application of Bayesian Classification and LASSO Regression
- 2020: Investigating the climate of the last 10 Million years using a Bayesian classifier
- 2019: Large-Scale Atmospheric Control on South American Glacier Mass Balances
- 2019: Analysis of potential climate-driven remobilisation of seismically-induced landslide debris in Central Asia
- 2018: Statistical Downscaling of Monthly Temperature and Precipitation in Chile
- 2018: Effects of Past Global Climate Change on Frost Cracking
- 2018: Impact of Late Cenozoic climate change on Landscape Evolution at selected sites in South America
- 2018: Comparison of climate model, reanalysis and weather station data in Chile
- 2018: Storminess and extreme precipitation events in South America throughout the Late Cenozoic
- 2023: Changes in vegetation with respect to changes in climate in South America
- 2021: Addressing non-linear glacier response to climate change in empirical glacier models with Bayesian decision making
- 2021: Quantifying the effects of El Niño - La Niña cycles on precipitation and temperatures in Chile
Image: Three examples of teaching, including a video lecture on palaeoclimate (left), teaching geology and mapping techniques in Spain (middle) and producing an Earthquake education video series (right).
- 3 BSc projects
- 13 MSc projects
- 1 doctoral thesis
- 2 postdoctoral research projects
- 5 research assistants
- Field mapping course (BSc level)
- Climate Dynamics, Probability and Statistics (MSc level)
- Physics of the Earth's Surface (MSc level)
- Applied Tectonics and Surface Processes (MSc level)
- INTEGRATE is an open-access, open-source teaching package covering physical climatology, empirical methods and a hands-on approach to collecting and analysing atmospheric data. Its development was supported by the EGU Higher Education Teaching Grant 2020. If you're a teacher interested in teaching the course or taking elements from it, you can get the code and materials here.
- The ParsQuake team develops, implements, and distributes earthquake education packages all around Central Asia and beyond. In a recent effort, we produced a series of video lessons for Earthquake education in schools. These were tested in schools in Tajikistan and UK. Read about it here or simply watch the videos here.
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2020: Higher Education Teaching Grant (European Geosciences Union)
- 2016: Public Engagement Grant (shared with S. Mohadjer) (European Geosciences Union)
- 2023: Earth System Dynamics
- 2022: Geoscience Communication
Professional & learned societies
- 2020 - 2022: Member, German Climate Consortium (DKK)