Info Desk

On this Info Desk you will find various informative pages of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research on selected topics and further links.

Tipping Elements – big risks in the Earth System

Climate tipping elements are critical, large-scale components of the Earth system, which are characterized by a threshold behaviour. Here we summarize the current state of research.
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Planetary Boundaries – defining a safe operating space for humanity

Answers to some frequently asked questions about Planetary Boundaries – intended as a quick guide for orientation, covering key terms and concepts.
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10 New Insights in Climate Science

Every year, scientists publish a multitude of new and further-reaching findings on the complex interrelationships between climate, weather and biosphere. The 10 New Insights in Climate Science summarize the latest and most essential scientific findings.
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Forecasting the Indian Summer Monsoon

Long-term forecast of the onset and withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon for the central part of India.
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Additional Links and Material

A collection of external links for basic knowledge, frequently asked questions and educational offers/materials on the subject of climate and climate change.
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Questions

Does our Climate benefit from Corona?

Does our Climate benefit from Corona?

People around the world are being hit hard by Corona - nothing about this tragedy is positive. The emission of CO2 has decreased because in many places airplanes and factories have stood still. However, the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is not decreasing because so much CO2 has already accumulated there; it will last and stay there for thousands of years. Also, the stabilization of our climate cannot under any circumstances be achieved by a socially devastating reduction of our economy, as we can now observe in some places due to the pandemic. Rather, the solution must be a targeted transformation of our economy – towards clean technologies.

What are Climate Models?

What are Climate Models?

Researchers use computers to solve large multidimensional equations and thus simulate processes in the Earth system. These climate models contain our knowledge of the physics of the planet. Whether they reliably reproduce temperature curves in past cold and warm periods can be checked using data from measurements or from natural climate archives such as ice drill cores. Models can then be used to calculate future developments - always based on certain assumptions, for example about the increase in CO2 emissions. The result are projections: not predictions, but complex if-then statements.

What is the share in emissions resulting from land use?

What is the share in emissions resulting from land use?

Around a quarter of the greenhouse gases emitted worldwide are from agriculture and forestry including, for example, deforestation. This makes land use one of the biggest sources of emissions, like especially methane and CO2, and thus a driver of climate change. However, it is also itself strongly affected by climate impacts, because, for example, there are more frequent regional crop failures due to droughts or heavy rainfall. Land use is therefore an important part of the solution to the climate problem. Better land use management – for example through more efficient use of fertilizers, reforestation or the renaturation of peatland soils – as well as a reduced demand for animal products can help to stabilize our climate.