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RD4 - Complexity Science
 
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How global trade can help the climate

06/24/2022 - The climate policy potential of international trade rules agreed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) still has room for improvement. Policymakers should change some rules - and make greater use of others, according to an article now published in the leading scientific journal Science by experts from twelve countries, including researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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Leonie Wenz appointed to Young Academy of Sciences

22/06/04 - Leonie Wenz from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has been awarded membership of the prestigious Young Academy of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Members of this important interdisciplinary platform for young scientists in German-speaking countries are elected for a period of five years. All appointees have completed an outstanding doctorate no more than seven years ago at the time of election, and have published at least one other outstanding paper.
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Precise PIK forecasts of the beginning of the monsoon help farmers in India

05/17/2022 - For the 6. year in a row, PIK-scientist Elena Surovyatkina has predicted the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon in Central India more than a month in advance. According to her forecast, the monsoon will begin between 14 and 18 June in Central India and Telangana and after 10 July reach Delhi. The unique forecast accounts for climate change effects, making it reliable to use for farming. It is the most awaited news for Indian farmers because the sowing and planting starts with the beginning of the rainy season.
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Amazon rainforest is losing resilience: new evidence from satellite data analysis

03/07/2022 - The Amazon rainforest is likely losing resilience, data analysis from high-resolution satellite images suggests. Resilience loss in pristine parts of the rainforest is mainly due to stress from nearby human activity, such as logging and slash-and-burn. The influence of human-caused climate change is not clearly determinable so far, but will likely matter greatly in the future. For about three quarters of the forest, the ability to recover from perturbation has been decreasing since the early 2000s, which the scientists see as a warning sign. The new evidence is derived from advanced statistical analysis of satellite data of changes in vegetation biomass.
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Potsdam Summer School 2022: Towards a Sustainable Transformation

22/02/2022 - Climate, Energy and Nature in a Changing World – with this overarching theme the Potsdam Summer School will continue the transdisciplinary and interactive series of events that has been held annually in Potsdam, Germany since 2014. It brings together talented early-career scientists and young professionals operating in the private sector, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organisations from many different parts of the world to discuss frontier research questions on future sustainable development and contribute their insights at this exceptional opportunity to foster cooperation and an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas. The call for applications is now open!
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Rainy days harm the economy

12/01/2022 - Economic growth goes down when the number of wet days and days with extreme rainfall go up, a team of Potsdam scientists finds. Rich countries are most severely affected and herein the manufacturing and service sectors, according to their study now published as cover story in the renowned science journal Nature. The data analysis of more than 1.500 regions over the past 40 years shows a clear connection and suggests that intensified daily rainfall driven by climate-change from burning oil and coal will harm the global economy.
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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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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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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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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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