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RD4 - Complexity Science
 
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The Ripple Factor: Economic losses from weather extremes can amplify each other across the world

27/10/2021 - Weather extremes can cause economic ripples along our supply chains. If they occur at roughly the same time the ripples start interacting and can amplify even if they occur at completely different places around the world, a new study shows. The resulting economic losses are greater than the sum of the initial events, the researchers find in computer simulations of the global economic network. Rich economies are affected much stronger than poor ones, according to the calculations. Currently, weather extremes around the world are increasing due to greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. If they happen simultaneously or in quick succession even at different places on the planet, their economic repercussions can become much bigger than previously thought.
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Jürgen Kurths is the first German to become Fellow of the Network Science Society

7/12/2021 – Jürgen Kurths, Head of the Research Department “Complexity Science” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has been elected Fellow of the Network Science Society 2021. He is the first German scientist to receive this recognition.
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New economic model shows how our social networks could contribute to generating phenomena like inequality and business cycles

07/05/2021 - Many standard economic models assume people make perfectly rational, individual decisions. But new research suggests economic phenomena like inequality and business cycles are better explained by models which recognize that people’s decisions are affected by the decisions and the behaviors of people around them.
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Delayed monsoon in Delhi: early warning for farmers

05/27/2021 - The arrival of the monsoon in Delhi is likely to be delayed by two weeks, according to a newly developed early forecast for India’s capital. Created at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Monsoon forecast method has been used successfully already five years in a row for Central India and has now been extended to the North-Western region. The long-term monsoon forecast that covers 40 days in advance could support government and farmers in important decision making processes and help them to better prepare for the vagaries of nature.
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Parts of Greenland may be on the verge of tipping: new early-warning signals detected

05/18/2021 - Scientists have detected new early-warning signals indicating that the central-western part of the Greenland Ice Sheet may undergo a critical transition relatively soon. Because of rising temperatures, a new study by researchers from Germany and Norway shows, the destabilization of the ice sheet has begun and the process of melting may escalate already at limited warming levels. A tipping of the ice sheet would substantially increase long-term global sea level rise.
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RD4 at vEGU21

Several scientists of RD4 present their latest research at the EGU 2021 - the annual General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), taking place online during the time period 19–30 April 2021.
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Girls' Day gives schoolgirls from all over Germany an insight into climate impact research

04/22/2021 – On Girls' Day - 'Future Prospects for Girls' this year, schoolgirls were once again given an insight into the work at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to discover career prospects in science. Due to the pandemic, this year's Girls' Day took place digitally, allowing for the first time girls from all over Germany to get to know PIK instead of usually just girls from Potsdam and Berlin. Climate researchers Ronja Reese and Constanze Werner talked about their work and answered everything the girls wanted to know in an open question session.
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Online European Geosciences Union 2021 with strong PIK participation

04/21/2021 - One of the largest scientific meetings worldwide, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly, virtually brings together geoscientists from all over the planet – amongst them many scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). From 19 to 30 April 2021, the EGU covers all disciplines of the Earth, planetary and space sciences and provides a forum where scientists, especially early-career researchers, can present their work and discuss their ideas with experts in all fields of geoscience.
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Press Release

Solar panels are contagious - but in a good way: study

04/21/2021 - The number of solar panels within shortest distance from a house is the most important factor in determining the likelihood of that house having a solar panel, when compared with a host of socio-economic and demographic variables. This is shown in a new study by scientists using satellite and census data of the city of Fresno in the US, and employing machine learning. Although it is known that peer effects are relevant for sustainable energy choices, very high-resolution data combined with artificial intelligence techniques were necessary to single out the paramount importance of proximity. The finding is relevant for policies that aim at a broad deployment of solar panels in order to replace unsustainable fossil fueled energy generation.
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Climate change is making Indian monsoon seasons more chaotic

04/14/2021 - If global warming continues unchecked, summer monsoon rainfall in India will become stronger and more erratic. This is the central finding of an analysis by a team of German researchers that compared more than 30 state-of-the-art climate models from all around the world. The study predicts more extremely wet years in the future – with potentially grave consequences for more than one billion people’s well-being, economy, food systems and agriculture.
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Erratic weather slows down the economy

02/08/2021 - If temperature varies strongly from day to day, the economy grows less. Through these seemingly small variations climate change may have strong effects on economic growth. This shows data analyzed by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Columbia University and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). In a new study in Nature Climate Change, they juxtapose observed daily temperature changes with economic data from more than 1,500 regions worldwide over 40 years – with startling results.
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”Highly Cited Scientists 2020” ranking: success for PIK researchers

11/18/2020 – The “Highly Cited Scientists” list once again features a number of PIK researchers. Twelve of them rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the 2020 Web of Science citation index, which is an indicator of scientific relevance. It is a remarkable success that the listed researchers are almost equally distributed across PIK departments and natural and social sciences. Many of them scored well in the “cross field” category of the ranking. The two Directors on the list, representing two important fields – Johan Rockström with Earth System Science and Ottmar Edenhofer with Economy –, are confirming the overarching result: high level transdisciplinary research earns international recognition.
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Stability Check on Antarctica Reveals High Risk for Long-Term Sea-Level Rise

09/23/2020 - The warmer it gets, the faster Antarctica loses ice – and much of it will then be gone forever. Consequences for the world’s coastal cities and cultural heritage sites would be detrimental, from London to Mumbai, and from New York to Shanghai. That’s what a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam University and New York’s Columbia University has found out in their new study, published in Nature (cover story), on how much warming the Antarctic Ice Sheet can survive. In around one million hours of computation time, their unprecedentedly detailed simulations delineate where exactly and at which warming levels the ice would become unstable and eventually melt and drain into the ocean. They find a delicate concert of accelerating and moderating effects, but the main conclusion is that unmitigated climate change would have dire long-term consequences: If the global mean temperature level is sustained long enough at 4 degrees above pre-industrial levels, Antarctic melting alone could eventually raise global sea levels by more than six meters.
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Indian monsoon can be predicted better after volcanic eruptions

09/18/2020 - Large volcanic eruptions can help to forecast the monsoon over India – the seasonal rainfall that is key for the country’s agriculture and thus for feeding one billion people. As erratic as they are, volcanic eruptions improve the predictability, an Indian-German research team finds. What seems to be a paradox is in fact due to a stronger coupling between the monsoon over large parts of South and South-East Asia and the El Niño phenomenon after an eruption. Combining data from meteorological observations, climate records, computer model simulations, and geological archives such as tree-rings, corals and ice-cores from past millennia of Earth history, the researchers found that a synchronization of the monsoon with the strongest mode of natural climate variability, the El Niño, makes it easier to anticipate the strength of seasonal rainfall in the Indian subcontinent.
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Unraveling 66 million years of climate history from ocean sediments: study in Science

09/10/2020 - Researchers have analyzed data from deep-sea sediments in order to reconstruct Earth’s climate with an unprecedented temporal resolution. To achieve this, the international team, led by Dr. Thomas Westerhold of MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen and Dr. Norbert Marwan of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), compiled and analyzed a comprehensive dataset obtained from sediment cores from the ocean floor. Innovative statistical methods for studying complex dynamical systems were applied revealing fundamental climate states. They show the deterministic nature of climate changes over very long periods of time. The team’s new climate reference curve have been published in the prestigious journal Science.
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"The Greatest Story of our Time" - PIK@Gamescom 2020

09/01/2020 - Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, or climate-triggered violent conflicts: Climate Change has enormous narrative potential for game creators. At this year’s devcom digital conference 2020, the two-week digital event leading up to the world's biggest video game expo Gamescom, Anders Levermann presented the latest cutting-edge insights of climate impact research to creatives working in the games industry. His goal: to encourage more game developers to incorporate climate matters into their future projects.
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Press Release

Heating our climate damages our economies – study reveals greater costs than expected

08/19/2020 - Rising temperatures due to our greenhouse gas emissions can cause greater damages to our economies than previous research suggested, a new study shows. Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) took a closer look at what climate change does to regions at the sub-national level, such as US states, Chinese provinces or French départements, based on a first-of-its-kind dataset by MCC. If CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels are not reduced rapidly, a global warming of 4°C until 2100 can make that regions lose almost 10% of economic output on average and more than 20% in the tropics.
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Engage with the altruists, ignore the free-riders: New study explores communication dynamics in climate negotiations

07/16/2020 - Communication is the key to overcoming the social dilemma of mitigating climate change, which requires investments from various actors towards a common goal. According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and co-authored by Jürgen Kurths and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, communicating sentiment and outlook significantly improves group interactions in climate change mitigation processes.
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Press Release

Road access for all would be costly, but not so much for the climate

07/10/2020 - One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals aims to ensure access to transport infrastructure for all. A team of researchers led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has now brought together various data sets to quantify the economic costs as well as climate implications of achieving this goal by providing universal road access. The result: While such road extension would weigh very heavily on individual countries’ budgets, on the global CO2 emissions budget it would not. To connect almost all the world’s population, the global road network would only need to be extended by 8 per cent, causing a total CO2 emissions of about 1.5 per cent of what we can emit while keeping global warming below 2 degree Celsius.
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Berlin Climate and Security Conference Kicks Off Major New Risk Assessment

06/23/2020 - Climate destabilization increases risks to peace and security - to address these risks, scientists and policy-makers are teaming up to find solutions. The Berlin Climate and Security Conference (BCSC) is the global meeting place for leaders from governments, international organisations, the scientific community, the private sector and civil society to explore how climate change is impacting peace and security—and what action the international community can take to tackle climate-fragility risks. This year the high-level event, which features statements from over 14 foreign ministers, heads of state, and UN chiefs, explores the steps necessary to ensure we build a climate- and conflict-sensitive post-Covid world. It is organised by the German Federal Foreign Office, in partnership with adelphi and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Museum für Naturkunde & PIK launch Summer School for Climate Knowledge

06/19/2020 - At the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, interested guests can use the summer holidays to strengthen their knowledge of the climate and its effects - and young people from all over Germany can take part online. The summer school is taking place in cooperation with researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and for the first time digitally. The easy-to-understand lectures and workshops complement each other, but can also be attended individually.
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Making sense of climate scenarios: toolkit for decision-makers launched

03/06/2020 - To make climate scenarios work for decision-makers, an international team of researchers developed a comprehensive interactive online platform. It is the first of its kind to provide the tools to use those scenarios – from climate impacts to mitigation and energy options – to a broader public beyond science. The scenarios help policy makers and businesses, finance actors and civil society alike to assess the threat of global warming and ways to limit it.
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Corona crisis fuels hate against Chinese on Twitter: Commentary

19/05/2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic has the world firmly in its grip with millions of confirmed cases worldwide and whole countries in full or partial lockdown. Despite calls for solidarity across borders and countless local support initiatives, various incidents prove that the corona outbreak has also given rise to a series of racist attacks against Chinese people and people with Asian looking features both on the streets and in social media networks. A team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has now investigated the use of discriminating language against Chinese people in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic on Twitter.
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Caring for the future is key for cooperation to prevent climate collapse: study

20/05/2020 - How much decision-makers care about the future and not just the present is one key factor for whether or not they take action to stabilize our climate. Another one is how severe they assume the impacts of climate collapse to be. However, the number of actors is decisive – for instance the number of relevant countries, since efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have to be international to add up to the amount needed to prevent a crisis. This is shown by a novel mathematical study. It finds a strong effect of diffusion of responsibility in scenarios with large numbers of actors. The study combines game theory and learning dynamics to explore which options for enhanced political cooperation should now urgently be studied empirically.
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Delayed monsoon onset in Central India: early warning forecast

12/05/2020 - Summer Monsoon in Central India will likely begin between 18th and 26 of June, according to the new early forecast developed at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Led by PIK expert Elena Surovyatkina, the Monsoon forecast method showed to be successful already four years in a row. With global warming the monsoon is changing, breaking well-established “rules” of the phenomenon and thus becoming more unpredictable. A raising demand for a new understanding of the Indian Monsoon in order to be better prepared makes long-term forecasting even more important.
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Novel network analysis confirms: #stayathome helps limit virus mutations

16/04/2020 – Both the virus diseases of the 2013 Ebola regional epidemic and the current COVID-19 global pandemic have seen virus mutations between hosts – a normal phenomenon with the potential to turn viruses even more harmful. A team of scientists including researchers from Humboldt University and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has now employed advanced mathematical models to explore these dynamics. Their findings confirm public health responses like suspending long-haul travel, but also the call to stay at home. Further, they underline the importance of closely tracking genetic mutations during virus outbreaks to facilitate crisis response.
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Homeschooling: Researchers support online learning with explanatory videos

01/04/2020 - As schools are closed due to the corona crisis, the Potsdam Institute offers special online lectures for children and young people as a small contribution to learning at home. Explanatory videos conveying some basics about the climate are intended to provide inspiration for the many hours spent at the desk at home instead of in the classroom. The films are created by the scientists themselves - a little handout from the research team in home office to young viewers in home schooling.
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Identifiying crises through network connections: Nature Physics publication

27/02/2020 - From a Wuhan market to Europe and the US: A chain of infection enabled the spread of coronavirus. Trade and travel played the deciding role. Events that have been locally confined in the past are today damaging the global economy. When local networks become internationally connected, scientists call this percolation. An international team of researchers now developed a mathematical approach to better predict when percolation arises and disappears. Their findings have been published in the highly renowned journal Nature Physics this month.
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The Antarctica Factor: model uncertainties reveal upcoming sea level risk

Sea level rise due to ice loss in Antarctica could become a major risk for coastal protection even in the near term, scientists say. Within this century already, due to Antarctica alone global sea level might rise up to three times as much as it did in the last century. This is a finding of an exceptionally comprehensive comparison of state-of-the-art computer models from around the world.
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Climate costs smallest if warming is limited to 2°C

27/01/2020 - Climate costs are likely smallest if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius. The politically negotiated Paris Agreement is thus also the economically sensible one, Potsdam researchers find in a new study. Using computer simulations of a model by US Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus, they weight climate damages from, for instance, increasing weather extremes or decreasing labour productivity against the costs of cutting greenhouse gas emission by phasing out coal and oil. Interestingly, the economically most cost-efficient level of global warming turns out to be the one more than 190 nations signed as the Paris Climate Agreement. So far however, CO2 reductions promised by nations worldwide are insufficient to reach this goal.
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