Landscape assessment of microclimate in the tropical lowlands of Jambi Province (Sumatra, Indonesia)

Microclimatic variability below canopies, even within the same land use type can be quite large due to structural heterogeneity, vegetation age or vitality, and differences in management practices. Since microclimatic conditions have a substantial impact on the exchange of greenhouse gases and other microclimate-related processes such as soil microbial activity, it is important to assess this microclimatic heterogeneity between different land use types but also within the same land use type. Model products for upscaling greenhouse gas exchanges from such point measurements might yet lack the ability to represent this small-scale microclimatic heterogeneity, with a substantial impact on their assessment of greenhouse gas exchange.
In this context we propose a Master thesis within the CRC990 EFForTS-project in which the student will focus on the assessment of microclimatic differences between the most common land-use types in the tropical lowlands of Jambi Province (Sumatra, Indonesia). The most common land-use types in this region are oil palm and rubber monoculture plantations, tropical rainforest, fallow land and shrub land.
During an extensive field campaign, the student will use portable meteorological stations to monitor below-canopy air temperature, air humidity, precipitation, wind speed and wind direction as well as soil moisture and soil temperature in the different land-use types. The measurements will be compared with reference meteorological stations which monitor outside-canopy microclimatic conditions. With the expected temperature, humidity, and wind gradient between below-canopy and outside-canopy conditions the student will be able to derive the site-specific impact of the land use type on the microclimate.
• The ideal candidate has a strong interest in micrometeorology, atmospheric measurement techniques as well as in ecosystem processes, both physical and ecological.
• The student shows willingness to conduct field work in a tropical environment (approx. 2 months stay in Indonesia, starting preferably in June or July 2020)
• The student shows responsibility and is able to work independently. The student will perform the measurements in Indonesia after an introduction in Göttingen and in Indonesia.
• The student is willing to coordinate a small team of assistants.
• Knowledge of programming skills (e.g. R), technical skills and/or experience in atmospheric measurement techniques is an advantage.
• The student will have the opportunity to write/contribute to a scientific publication.

Please contact Christian Stiegler ( for further information.