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Ulf Büntgen

Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis

Ulf Büntgen conducts fieldwork all over the globe to provide answers to his main research questions: What are the causes and consequences of changes in different, though intertwined environmental systems across space and time, and how can diverse tree-ring parameters and archives be compiled and analysed to provide answers to such and related inter-/cross-disciplinary research questions?



  • 01.2017-present: Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis (ESA), Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 01.2017-present: Senior Scientist at Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 10.2016-present: Faculty Member at the Department of Geography, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 01.2014-12.2016: Head of PAGES (Past Global Changes) working group: Euro-Med2k “Climate of Europe and the Mediterranean of the last 2 millennia”
  • 11.2013-present: ITRDB board member
  • 01.2013-12.2016: Head of Dendroecology Group at Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 09.2012-present: Associated Senior Scientist at CzechGlobe Global Change Research Institute CAS, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 10-12.2010: Guest Professor at University of Madrid, Spain, Department of Astrophysics, collaboration with JF Gonzalez-Rouco
  • 03-04.2009: Associated Research Fellow at Institute of Geography, Masaryk University of Brno, Czech Republic
  • 06.2007-12.2016: Associated Research Fellow of Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • 08.2003-12.2016: Scientist at Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland


  • 10.2011: Habilitation (Palaeoclimatology/palaeoecology) at University of Bern: Tree rings and climate – beyond temperature reconstructions
  • 11.2006: PhD thesis (Dr phil. nat.), Department of Geography, University of Bern, Switzerland: Long-term European climate reconstructions from high-elevation tree-rings. Grade: summa cum laude, supervisors: Wanner H, Esper J, Nicolussi K
  • 08.2003: Master thesis, Department of Geography, University Bonn, Germany: Dendroklimatologische Analysen einer 1000-jährigen Lärchenchronologie aus rezenten und verbauten Hölzern für das Lötschental, Schweiz. Grade: 1.0, supervisors: Winiger M, Esper J, Neuwirth B
  • 04.1999-08.2003: Studies of Geography, Geology and Cartography, University Bonn, Germany


Research foci

  • Alpine ibex horn growth: Disentangling biotoc and abiotic drivers of annual Caprinae horn growth rates
  • Arctic driftwood: Wood anatomy, Ocean Circulation Patterns, Provenancing, aDNA sequencing
  • Climate variability: MWP, LIA, Recent Warming, Color-preservation, Forcing agents
  • Dendrochronology: De-trending, Composite chronologies, Maximum Latewood Density
  • Early instrumental measurements: Homogenization, Urban-Heat-Island, High-elevation observations
  • Mountain systems: European Alps, Carpathian arc, Pyrenees, Caucasus, Scandinavia and Tien Shan
  • Mushroom phenology and productivity: Intra- and inter-annual extremes and trends in fungi fruiting
  • Landscape dynamics: Change and persistence in Alpine environment, settlement and building history
  • Palaeoclimatology: Long-term reconstructions, regional- to large-scale networks, frequency domains
  • Plague dynamics: Climatic and environmental triggers of plague outbreaks in Central Asia and Europe
  • Population ecology: Long-term insect outbreak dispersal and dynamics, fungi fruiting and phenology
  • Settlement activity: Construction timber, felling dates, dendroarchaeology, human history, population migration
  • Truffle ecology: Fruit body formation, daily growth rings, climatic drivers, ectomycorrhizal ecology, host plant
  • Vegetation dynamics: Intra-/interannual growth responses, treeline and ecotone dynamics, shrubs and herbs

Research locations

  • Alps: TRW and MXD network, living and relict wood material, composite chronologies, millennial-long summer temperature reconstructions, spatiotemporal reconstructions of LBM outbreaks, settlement and building history, intra-annual growth dynamics, treeline studies, Lötschental, Southern French Alps, Valais, Engadine, Tyrol, treeline soil-temperature logger, Larix decidua, Picea abies, Pinus cembra, Pinus sylvestris, Abies alba
  • Aragon: Truffle assessment in the Teruel region, tree-ring sampling of Juniperus thurifera
  • Atlas: TRW network, living trees, millennial-long PDSI reconstruction, NAO studies, Cedrus atlantica
  • Carpathians: TRW network, living trees, summer temperature, treeline soil-temp. logger, Larix decidua, Picea abies, Pinus cembra, Pinus sylvestris
  • Caucasus: TRW network, living trees, growth-climate response analysis, treeline soil-temp. logger, Pinus sylvestris
  • Germany: TRW composite chronology of the last millennium, drought reconstruction, Quercus spec.
  • Greenland: Arctic driftwood sampling, chronology development, reconstructing ocean circulation and post-glacial uplift
  • Guadarrama: TRW network, living trees, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus nigra, Pinus pinaster, Pinus pinea
  • Moravia: TRW network, living and relict wood material, 700-year long composite chronology, Abies alba
  • Pyrenees: TRW and MXD network, living and relict wood, treeline soil-temp. logger, Pinus uncinata
  • Scandinavia: TRW and MXD network, living trees, offshore sampling, Pinus sylvestris
  • Siberia: TRW and MXD living and relict wood, shore and off-shore, driftwood and treeline dynamics
  • Tatra: TRW network, MXD site chronologies, living trees, summer temperature and drought reconstructions of the past ~300 years, treeline soil-temp. logger, Larix decidua, Picea abies, Pinus cembra, Pinus sylvestris, Abies alba
  • Vosges: TRW network, living trees, mixed signal, species-specific upper treeline, Fagus sylvatica


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