Dr. Sebastian Wolf

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Research Interests

My research is focused on the biosphere-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy in terrestrial ecosystems, and the interactions with climate, land use and ecophysiology. I am specifically interested in the effects of drought and climate change on carbon exchange, and on ecosystem processes such as photosynthesis and transpiration. Further interests include the partitioning of ecosystem fluxes, carbon-water interactions, and the up-scaling of ecosystem fluxes to regional and global scales.

In order to answer these questions, I use the eddy covariance technique, remote sensing, and modelling approaches across various climates and spatial scales. Current and past projects include ecosystem exchange studies in tropical (Sardinilla, Panama), Mediterranean (Sagehen Creek & Tonzi/Vaira Ranch, California) and temperate climates (Switzerland), as well as synthesis studies at regional (Swiss FluxNet, Australia), continental (US) and global scale (FLUXNET).

Apart from the biosphere-atmosphere exchange in terrestrial ecosystems, I have worked on the effects of land-use change on soil erosion and landscape fragmentation using modelling techniques and GIS, the detection of Mountain Pine Beetle infestations using remote sensing, and mapping expeditions to remote areas.

Information on current and past projects can be found on my projects web page.

Curriculum Vitae

5/6 2017 Visiting Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Group (Pasadena, USA)
since 2015 Senior Scientist, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich
Projects: Extreme Events (1,2,3,4), FLUXNET (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8), 2012 US Drought (1,2,3,4,5,6,7), ECOWAX (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9), Global Energy Fluxes (1,2), Subcanopy Exchange in Forests (1,2), CA Drought (1), Solar Eclipse (1)
2011 - 2015 SNF & Marie Curie Research Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley (USA), Biometeorology Lab
Projects: ECOWAX (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8), 2012 US Drought (1,2,3,4,5,6,7), FLUXNET (1,2,3,4,5), Flux Partitioning, Global Energy Fluxes (1,2), Subcanopy Exchange in Forests (1,2)
2011 Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich
Projects: GHG-Europe and Swiss FluxNet (1,2)
2006 - 2010 Research Assistant (Ph.D. Student), Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich
Project: Agroforestry Thesis title: Carbon dioxide and water vapour fluxes of tropical pasture and afforestation: seasonal variations of net ecosystem exchange and carbon sequestration potentials (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
  Visiting Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Panama
2003 - 2006 Graduate studies in Geography, Dresden University of Technology & Leibniz Institute of Ecological and Regional Development
Thesis title: Effects of changing land-use patterns on soil erosion in the Saxon Switzerland National Park Region. (1,2,3,4)
2000 - 2005 Teaching & Research Assistant, Institute of Geography & Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing & Institute for Software and Multimedia Technology, Dresden University of Technology
2002 - 2003 Research Assistant, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada)
Project: Early detection of Mountain Pine Beetle infestation using airborne remote sensing (1,2)
2002 - 2003 Leader & Organizer of Research Expeditions, Institute of Cartography, Dresden University of Technology
Projects: Tien Shan Mountains (Kyrgyzstan; 1,2,3,4,5,6), Ojos del Salado (Atacama Desert, Chile; 1,2,3,4,5,6), Dachstein South Face Cave (Austrian Alps; 1,2,3)
1999 - 2002 Undergraduate studies in Geography, Dresden University of Technology


Detailed CV as PDF

In review/revision

Haynes KD, Baker IT, Denning AS, Wolf S, Wohlfahrt G, Kiely G, Minaya RC (in review) Representing ecosystems using dynamic prognostic phenology based on biological growth stages: Part 2. Grassland carbon cycling. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems

Paul-Limoges E, Wolf S, Schneider FD, Longo M, Moorcroft P, Gahrun M, Damm A (in review) Partitioning evapotranspiration with concurrent eddy covariance measurements in a mixed forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Stoy, PC, El-Madany, T, Fisher, JB, Gentine, P, Gerken, T, Good, SP, Liu, S, Miralles, DG, Perez-Priego, O, Skaggs, TH, Wohlfahrt, G, Anderson, RG, Jung, M, Maes, WH, Mammarella, I, Mauder, M, Migliavacca, M, Nelson, JA, Poyatos, R, Reichstein, M, Scott, RL Wolf S (in review) Reviews and syntheses: Turning the challenges of partitioning ecosystem evaporation and transpiration into opportunities. Biogeosciences Discussion (Web)

Xiao M, Yu Z, Kong D, Gioli B, Mammarella I, Montagnani L, Arain MA, Merbold L, Magliulo V, Lohila A, Buchmann N, Wolf S, Gharun M, Hörtnagl L, Beringer J (in review) Sustained decline in the trend of global terrestrial evapotranspiration since year 2000. Nature Communications


Peaucelle M, Bacour C, Ciais P, Vuichard N, Kuppel S, Penuelas J, Belelli-Marchesini L, Blanken PD, Buchmann N, Chen J, Delpierre N, Desai AR, Dufrene E, Gianelle D, Gimeno-Colera C, Gruening C, Helfter C, Hörtnagl L, Ibrom A, Joffre R, Kato T, Kolb T, Law B, Lindroth A, Mammarella I, Merbold L, Minerbi S, Montagnani L, Sigut L, Sutton M, Varlagin A, Vesala T, Wohlfahrt G, Wolf S, Yakir D, Viovy N (2019, in press) Covariations between plant functional traits emerge from constraining parameterization of a terrestrial biosphere model. Global Ecology and Biogeography (Web, PDF)

Besnard S, Carvalhais N, Arain MA, Black A, Brede B, Buchmann N, Chen J, Clevers JGPW, Dutrieux LP, Gans F, Herold M, Jung M, Kosugi Y, Knohl A, Law BE, Paul-Limoges E, Lohila A, Merbold L, Roupsard O, Valentini R, Wolf S, Zhang X, Reichstein M (2019) Memory effects of climate and vegetation affecting net ecosystem CO2 fluxes in global forests. PLOS ONE 14(2): e0211510 (Web, PDF, SI)

Kunert N, El-Madany TS, Aparecido LMT, Wolf S, Potvin C (2019) Understanding the controls over forest carbon use efficiency on small spatial scales: Effects of forest disturbance and tree diversity. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 269-270: 136-144 (Web, PDF)

Fu Z, Gerken T, Bromley G, Araujo A, Bonal D, Burban B, Ficklin D, Fuentes J, Goulden M, Hirano T, Kosugi Y, Liddell M, Nicolini G, Niu S, Roupsard O, Stefani P, Mi C, Tofte Z, Xiao J, Valentini R, Wolf S, Stoy PC (2018) The surface-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in tropical rainforests: Sensitivity to environmental drivers and flux measurement methodology. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 263: 292-307 (Web, PDF)

Wu X, Xiao X, Zhang Y, He W, Wolf S, Chen J, He M, Gough CM, Qin Q, Zhou Y, Doughty R, Scott R, Blanken PD (2018) Spatiotemporal consistency of four gross primary production products and solar-induced fluorescence in response to climate extremes across CONUS in 2012. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 123(10): 3140-3161 (Web, PDF)

Zhang Y, Xiao X, Wolf S, Wu J, Wu X, Gioli B, Wohlfahrt G, Cescatti A, van der Tol C, Zhou S, Gough CM, Gentine P, Zhang Y, Steinbrecher R, Ardö J (2018, in press) Spatio-temporal Convergence of Maximum Daily Light-Use Efficiency Based on Radiation Absorption by Canopy Chlorophyll. Geophysical Research Letters 45: 3508-3519 (Web, PDF, SI)

Zhang Y, Xiao X, Zhang Y, Wolf S, Zhou S, Joiner J, Guanter L, Verma M, Sun Y, Yang X, Paul-Limoges E, Gough CM, Wohlfahrt G, Gioli B, van der Tol C, Yann N, Lund M, de Grandcourt A (2018) On the relationship between sub-daily instantaneous and daily total gross primary production: Implications for interpreting satellite-based SIF retrievals. Remote Sensing of Environment 205: 276-289 (Web, PDF, SI)

Eugster W, Emmel C, Wolf S, Buchmann N, McFadden JP, Whiteman CD (2017) Effects of vernal equinox solar eclipse on temperature and wind direction in Switzerland. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17(24): 14887-14904 (Web, PDF)

Paul-Limoges E, Wolf S, Eugster W, Hörtnagl L, Buchmann N (2017) Below-canopy contributions to ecosystem CO2 fluxes in a temperate mixed forest in Switzerland. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 247: 582-596 (Web, PDF, SI)

Wolf S, Yin D, Roderick ML (2017) Using radiative signatures to diagnose the cause of warming during the 2013-2014 Californian Drought. Journal of Hydrology 553: 408-418 (Web, PDF, SI)

Yao Y, Liang S, Li X, Liu S, Chen J, Jia K, Zhang X, Fisher JB, Wang X, Zhang L, Xu J, Shao C, Posse G, Li Y, Magliulo V, Varlagin A, Moors EJ, Boike J, Macfarlane C, Kato T, Buchmann N, Billesbach DP, Beringer J, Wolf S, Papuga SA, Wohlfahrt G, Montagnani L, Ardö J, Paul-Limoges E, Emmel C, Hörtnagl LJ, Sachs T, Gruening C, Gioli B, López-Ballesteros A, Steinbrecher R, Gielen B (2017) Estimation of high-resolution terrestrial evapotranspiration from Landsat data using a simple Taylor skill fusion method. Journal of Hydrology 553: 508-526 (Web, PDF)

Chu H, Baldocchi DD, John R, Wolf S, Reichstein M (2017) Fluxes All of the Time? A Primer on the Temporal Representativeness of FLUXNET. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 122(2): 289-307 (Web, PDF)

van Gorsel E, Wolf S, Cleverly J, Isaac P, Haverd V, Ewenz C, Arndt S, Beringer J, Resco de Dios V, Evans BJ, Griebel A, Hutley L, Keenan T, Kljun N, Macfarlane C, Meyer WS, McHugh I, Pendall E, Prober SM, Silberstein R (2016) Carbon uptake and water use in woodlands and forests in southern Australia during an extreme heat wave event in the 'Angry Summer' of 2012/2013. Biogeosciences 13(21): 5947-5964 (Web, PDF)
=> Highlighted in TERN Newsletter 1-2017

Wolf S, Keenan TF, Fisher JB, Baldocchi DD, Desai AR, Richardson AD, Scott RL, Law BE, Litvak ME, Brunsell NA, Peters W, van der Laan-Luijkx IT (2016) Warm spring reduced carbon cycle impact of the 2012 US summer drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(21): 5880-5885 (Web, PDF, SI Appendix)
=> Highlighted in Nature News & Views, PNAS Commentary, ETH News, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Wageningen UR News and EnvironmentalResearchWeb
=> Highly Cited Paper (Web of Science)

Zscheischler J, Fatichi S, Wolf S, Blanken P, Bohrer G, Clark K, Desai A, Hollinger D, Keenan T, Novick KA, Seneviratne SI (2016) Short-term favorable weather conditions are an important control of interannual variability in carbon and water fluxes. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 121(8): 2186-2198 (Web, PDF)

Verma M, Fisher JB, Mallick K, Ryu Y, Kobayashi H, Guillaume A, Moore G, Ramakrishnan L, Hendrix V, Wolf S, Sikka M, Kiely G, Wohlfahrt G, Gielen B, Roupsard O, Toscano P, Arain MA, Cescatti A (2016) Global Surface Net-Radiation at 5 km from MODIS Terra. Remote Sensing 8(9): 739 (Web, PDF)

Tramontana G, Jung M, Camps-Valls G, Ichii K, Raduly B, Reichstein M, Schwalm CR, Arain MA, Cescatti A, Kiely G, Merbold L, Serrano-Ortiz P, Sickert S, Wolf S, Papale D (2016) Predicting carbon and energy fluxes across global FLUXNET sites with regression algorithms. Biogeosciences 13(14): 4291-4313 (Web, PDF)

Ma S, Baldocchi DD, Wolf S, Verfaillie J (2016) Slow ecosystem responses conditionally regulate annual carbon balance over 15 years in Californian oak-grass savanna. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 228-229: 252-264 (Web, PDF)

Yao Y. Liang S, Li X, Liu S, Chen J, Zhang X, Jia K, Xie X, Munier S, Liu M, Yu J, Lindroth A, Varlagin A, Raschi A, Noormets A, Pio C, Wohlfahrt G, Sun G, Domec JC, Montagnani L, Lund M, Eddy M, Blanken PD, Grünwald T, Wolf S, Magliulo V (2016) Assessment and simulation of global terrestrial latent heat flux by synthesis of CMIP5 climate models and surface eddy covariance observations. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 223: 151-167 (Web, PDF)

Parazoo NC, Barnes E, Worden J, Harper AB, Bowman KW, Frankenberg C, Wolf S, Litvak ME, Keenan TF (2015) Influence of ENSO and the NAO on terrestrial carbon uptake in the Texas-northern Mexico region. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 29(8): 1247-1265 (Web, PDF)

Wolf S, Eugster W, Ammann C, Häni M, Zielis M, Hiller R, Stieger J, Imer D, Merbold L, Buchmann N (2013) Contrasting response of grassland forest carbon and water fluxes to spring drought in Switzerland. Environmental Research Letters 8(3): 035007 (Web, PDF)
=> Highlighted in EnvironmentalResearchWeb

Sprenger M, Oelmann Y, Weihermüller L, Wolf S, Wilcke W, Potvin C (2013) Tree species and diversity effects on soil water seepage in a tropical plantation. Forest Ecology and Management 309(0): 76-86 (Web, PDF)

Wolf S (2013) Insight: forests use water more efficiently during spring drought. EnvironmentalResearchWeb (Web, PDF)

Wolf S, Koteen L, Tomelleri E (2012) Networking among Young Scientists. iLEAPS Newsletter: Future land-atmosphere observation platforms 12: 27-29 (PDF)

Wolf S, Eugster W, Majorek S, Buchmann N (2011) Afforestation of tropical pasture only marginally affects ecosystem-scale evapotranspiration. Ecosystems 14(8): 1264-1275 (Web, PDF)

Wolf S, Eugster W, Potvin C, Turner BL, Buchmann N (2011) Carbon sequestration potential of tropical pasture compared with afforestation in Panama. Global Change Biology 17(9): 2763-2780 (Web, PDF)
=> Highlighted in STRI News, and ETH Life,

Schneebeli M, Wolf S, Kunert N, Eugster W, Mätzler C (2011) Relating the X-Band opacity of a tropical tree canopy to sapflow, rain interception and dew formation. Remote Sensing of Environment 115(8): 2116-2125 (Web, PDF)

Wolf S, Eugster W, Potvin C, Buchmann N (2011) Strong seasonal variations in net ecosystem CO2 exchange of a tropical pasture and afforestation in Panama. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 151(8): 1139-1151 (Web,PDF)

Potvin C, Manzilla L, Buchmann N, Monteza J, Moore T, Murphy M, Oelmann Y, Scherer-Lorenzen M, Turner, B.L., Wilcke W, Zeugin F, Wolf S (2011) An ecosystem approach to biodiversity effects: carbon pools in a tropical tree plantation. Forest Ecology and Management 261(10): 1614-1624 (Web, PDF)

Wolf S, Koteen L, Zeeman MJ (2011) Growing the FLUXNET Community: The Young Scientists Network. FluxLetter 4(1): 4-5 (PDF)

Wolf S (2010) Carbon dioxide and water vapour fluxes of tropical pasture and afforestation: seasonal variations of net ecosystem exchange and carbon sequestration potentials. DISS. ETH NO. 19415, ETH Zurich, 163 p (PDF)

Wolf S, Eugster W, Buchmann N (2009) Effects of Land Use on Carbon Cycling of Tropical Ecosystems in Panama. In: Tielkes E (ed.): Tropentag 2009, Biophysical and Socio-economic Frame Conditions for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Hamburg (PDF)

Wolf S, Walz U, Kleber A (2009) Effects of land-cover change on soil erosion in the Saxon Switzerland National Park Region. Die ERDE 140(2): 155-174 (PDF)

Wolf S, Eugster W, Buchmann N (2009) What happens with the carbon? STRI News - Newsletter of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 13.11.2009: 4 (Web, PDF)

Wolf S, Eugster W, Buchmann N (2009) CO2 fluxes of tropical ecosystems with different land-use in Panama. FluxLetter 2(3): 14-16 (PDF)

Vargas R, Wolf S, Zeeman M (2009) FLUXNET Young Scientists Network. FluxLetter 2(3): 9 (PDF)

Schneebeli M, Matzler C, Wolf S, Eugster W (2008) X-band opacity of a tropical tree canopy and its relation to intercepted rain, eddy fluxes and other meteorological variables. Microwave Radiometry and Remote Sensing of the Environment, MICRORAD 2008. doi: 10.1109/MICRAD.2008.4579514 (Web, PDF)

Walz U, Wolf S, Neubert M (2008) Impact of Landscape Change on Landscape Functions in the Saxon Switzerland. In: Csaplovics E, Wagenknecht S, Seiler U (eds.): Spatial Information Systems for Transnational Environmental Management of Protected Areas and Regions in the Central European Space. Rhombus, Berlin. pp 105-117 (PDF)

Wolf S, Walz U (2007) Auswirkungen einer veränderten Landnutzungsstruktur auf die Bodenerosion. In: Strobl J, Blaschke TH, Griesebner G (Hrsg.): Angewandte Geoinformatik 2007. Beiträge zum 19. AGIT-Symposium Salzburg. Wichmann, Heidelberg, pp 867-872 (PDF)

Wolf S (2006) Bodenerosion als Funktion veränderter Landnutzungsstruktur - Modellierung der Entwicklung am Beispiel der Nationalparkregion Sächsische Schweiz. Diploma / Masters Thesis, Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Geography, 177 p (PDF)

Wolf S, Walz U (2005) Grenzüberschreitende Untersuchung der Landschaftszerschneidung in der Sächsisch-Böhmischen Schweiz. Mitteilungen des Landesvereins Sächsischer Heimatschutz e.V. 14(3): 33-39 (PDF)

Wolf S (2004) Landschaftszerschneidung - Grenzüberschreitende Untersuchung der Entwicklung und ihrer Auswirkungen für das Gebiet der Sächsisch-Böhmischen Schweiz. Studienarbeit (Research Assignment), Dresden University of Technology, Institute of Geography, 40 p (PDF)

Roberts A, Dragicevic S, Northrup J, Wolf S, Li Y, Coburn C (2003) Mountain Pine Beetle Detection and Monitoring - Remote Sensing Evaluations. Forestry Innovation Investment Operational Report, 45 p (PDF)

Roberts A, Northrup J, Wolf S, Li Y (2003) Mountain Pine Beetle Detection and Monitoring - Interpretation and Evaluation of Airborne Imagery. West Fraser Sawmills Report, 22 p (PDF)

Wolf S (2003) Tien Shan Mountains, mapping expedition. American Alpine Journal 77: 346-347 (PDF)

Wolf S (2002) Kartieren in Eis, Geröll und hohen Bergen. Dresdner Universitätsjournal 13(16): 3 (PDF)

Wolf S (2002) Topographische Kartierung am höchsten Vulkan der Erde. Der neue Sächsische Bergsteiger 13(2): 48-49 (PDF)

Wolf S (2001) Expedition Dachstein-Südwandhöhle 2001. Der neue Sächsische Bergsteiger 12(4): 47-48 (PDF)