New research: Warmer springs lead to reduced plant growth in summer and autumn

Plants start growing earlier in the spring but contrary to popular belief, this results in considerably less photosynthesis throughout the following summer and autumn. This is shown in a study published by Nature from Wolfgang Buermann, Matthias Forkel, Andrew Richardson and colleagues.


Matthias Forkel is an environmental scientist who uses satellite observations to study how climate affects ecosystems and vice versa. Thereby Matthias develops and applies remote sensing methods, global ecosystem models, and machine learning approaches. He is a PostDoc in the Climate and Environmental Remote Sensing Group at TU Wien.

Read about his research

Matthias Forkel


June 2019 | New publication

We show how changes in climate, human population and vegetation contribute to changes in global fire occurrence in a newly published paper.

May 2019 | Living Planet Symposium

Matthias will present Constraining Dynamic Global Vegetation Models With Multiple Satellite Observations at the Living Planet Symposium of the European Space Agency in Milan, Italy.

May 2019 | New papers in discussion

A new global long-term vegetation dataset from microwave satellites 1988-2018 now in discussion at Earth System Science Data.
Improving a global vegetation-fire model with satellite observations in discussions at Geoscientific Model Development.

Apr 2019 | EGU

At the General Assembly of the European Geoscience Union, Matthias co-convenes the following sessions:
BG2.48 Global Earth observation for improved understanding of terrestrial ecosystem dynamics
BG2.12 Constraining present and future global vegetation dynamics and carbon stocks
Matthias will present two posters on model-data integration (12. Apr 10:45-12:30 A.417 ) and fire (12. Apr 14:00-15:45 A.319 ).

Feb 2019 | Dreiländertagung

Matthias will present how satellite observations can be used to improve climate-vegetation models at the German-Austrian-Swiss conference for Photogrammetry, Remote Sensind and Geoinformation:
Fernerkundung für Globale Klima-Vegetationsmodelle

Jan 2019 | New paper

Global fire models underestimate the variability of burned area because they misrepresent the effects of plant productivity on fuel production:
Forkel et al. (2019) Biogeosciences.

Dec 2018 | AGU Fall Meeting

Matthias will give talks on Monitoring photosynthesis with microwave satellites (Irene's work) and Diverse responses of wildfire burned area to the widespread greening of the Earth

Nov 2018 | England science tour

Matthias gave seminars on how to use Earth Observation data to improve global ecosystem models at the University of Birmingham (2018-11-01), University of Exeter (2018-11-07), and at the Imperial College London (2018-11-08).
Watch the presentation recorded at Imperial

Oct 2018 | Best Paper Award

Our paper "A data-driven approach to identify controls on global fire activity from satellite and climate observations (SOFIA V1)" published in Geoscientific Model Development received the Best Paper Award 2017 from the Faculty of Mathematics and Geoinformation of TU Wien.

In the media and outreach

Apr 2019 | Contribution to exhibition in museum

Oct 2018 | Media reports about our Nature study

Jul 2016 | Greening of the Earth

  • "Die Erde wird grüner" Matthias was interviewed about the greening of the Earth: VDI Nachrichten and fluter.
The greening Earth. The maps shows changes in the greenness of land vegetation between 1982 and 2011 as observed by satellites. Source: M. Forkel


Matthias Forkel is father of two small children. We are a German-Czech family in Austria = Europe. We spend our free time in our garden, at playgrounds in Vienna, or in forests around Vienna, in eastern Czechia, in the Zittau mountains, in Germany, or somewhere else in Europe.

Matthias Forkel

Das Klima der Erde ...

... is a German website about basics of climatology for teachers and students. Matthias created and maintained the website until 2015.