Dr. Karin Kvale

Forschungsbereich 2: Marine Biogeochemie
FE Biogeochemische Modellierung

Room: SB-6
Phone: +49 431 600-4289
Email: kkvale(at)

Düsternbrooker Weg 2
D-24105 Kiel

Research interests and expertise

I am interested in internally and externally-driven ocean biogeochemical feedbacks and climate system thresholds.

I use simple and intermediate-complexity climate models to test representations of marine biogeochemistry and phytoplankton ecology with the objective of cost-effectively simulating their influence on climate over a variety of timescales.

My current work explores model structural uncertainty using parameter optimisation methods, and the role of calcifier-diatom competition in climate over glacial timescales. I have also recently developed a microplastic module for an earth system model in order to simulate the effects of plastics on global biogeochemistry.

I am an expert in modelling the role of marine ecology in global biogeochemical cycles and in simulating the response of ocean primary production to climate change.  

In review

Kriest I, Kähler P, Koeve W, Kvale K, Sauerland V, Oschlies A. One size fits all? – Calibrating an ocean biogeochemistry model for different circulations. Biogeosciences Discussions.

Upcoming presentations

Yao W, Kvale KF, Landolfi A, Koeve W, Achterberg E, Oschlies A (May 2020) Future trends in oxygen minimum zone volume are sensitive to model representation of iron. European Geophysical Union Meeting, Vienna, Austria. 

Kvale KF, Prowe AEF, Chien C-T, Landolfi A, Oschlies A (May 2020) Modelling the global biological microplastic particle sink. European Geophysical Union Meeting, Vienna, Austria.

Saini H, Kvale KF, Meissner KJ, Menviel L, Missiaen L. (May 2020) Modelled response of marine ecosystems to Last Glacial Maximum forcing. European Geophysical Union Meeting, Vienna, Austria.

Kriest I, Kähler P, Khatiwala S, Kvale K, Sauerland V, Oschlies A. (February 2020) One size fits all? - Optimising ocean biogeochemistry for different circulations. AGU Ocean Sciences Conference, San Diego, USA.

Refereed publications

Kvale KF, Prowe AEF, Oschlies A. (2020) A critical examination of the role of marine snow and zooplankton fecal pellets in removing ocean surface microplastic. Frontiers in Marine Science: Marine Pollution.

Yao W, Kvale KF, Achterberg E, Koeve W, Oschlies A. (2019) Hierarchy of calibrated global models reveals improved distributions and fluxes of biogeochemical tracers in models with explicit representation of iron. Environmental Research Letters.

Kvale KF, Turner KE, Landolfi A, Meissner KJ. (2019) Phytoplankton calcifiers control nitrate cycling and the pace of transition in warming icehouse and cooling greenhouse climates. Biogeosciences.

Kvale KF, Turner KE, Keller DP, Meissner KJ (2018). Asymmetric dynamical ocean responses in warming icehouse and cooling greenhouse climates. Environmental Research Letters.

Kvale KF and Meissner KJ (2017). Primary production sensitivity to phytoplankton light attenuation parameter increases with transient forcing. Biogeosciences. doi:10.9514/bg-14-4767-2017.

Kvale KF, Khatiwala S, Dietze H, Kriest I, Oschlies A (2017). Evaluation of the Transport Matrix Method for simulation of ocean biogeochemical tracers. Geosci. Model Dev.doi:10.5194/gmd-2017-29.

Kvale KF, Meissner KJ, Keller DP (2015). Potential increasing dominance of heterotrophy in the global ocean. Environmental Research Letters. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/10/7/074009.

Kvale KF, Meissner KJ, Keller DP, Eby M, Schmittner A (2015). Explicit planktic calcifiers in the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model version 2.9.  Atmosphere-Ocean. doi:10.1080/07055900.2015.1049112.

Kvale KF, Zickfeld K, Meissner KJ, Tanaka K, Bruckner T, Weaver A (2012). Carbon dioxide emission pathways avoiding dangerous ocean impacts.  Weather, Climate and Society, 4(3). doi:10.1175/WCAS-D-11-00030.1.

Kvale KF, Pryor SC (2006). Precipitation composition in the Ohio River Valley: Spatial variability and temporal trends. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 170. doi:10.1007/s11270-006-2861-1.

Renshaw CE, Johnson GD, Kvale KF. (2000). A laboratory exercise to determine dinosaur speeds using dimensional analysis.  Journal of Geoscience Education, 48.

Other publications

Kvale KF (2014).  Representations of biological calcification in two climate models, PhD Dissertation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Link

Kvale KF, Meissner KJ,  d’Orgeville M, Matear R, McNeil B, England MH (2011). The combined impact of CO2-dependent parameterizations of Redfield and rain ratios on ocean carbonate saturation. Biogeosciences Discussions. Link

Kvale KF (2008). Carbon Dioxide Emission Pathways Avoiding Dangerous Ocean Impacts. Masters Dissertation, University of Victoria. Link

PhD Student Supervision

Himadri Saini (2018 - present). Co-supervising PhD at University of New South Wales, Sydney, AU. Her thesis work focuses on calcifier and diatom interactions over glacial cycles.

Wanxuan Yao (2016 - present). Advising on Wanxuan's doctoral thesis topic of iron model parameter optimsation.

Student Assistants (HiWi)

Jawwad Sarfraz, February 2020 - ongoing

Katherine Turner, November 2015 - June 2017

Hannah Geisinger, September - October 2017


PhD Climate Science (2014), University of New South Wales, Australia

MSc Atmospheric Science (2009), University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

BSc Environmental Science (2005), Indiana University, U.S.A., with minors in Geology, Mathematics and Geography