Dutch royal couple visits Telegrafenberg

05/22/2019 - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited the Albert Einstein Science Park on Potsdam's Telegrafenberg during their stay in the State of Brandenburg today. In the presence of Brandenburgs Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke and Minister of Science Martina Münch, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the GeoResearchCenter (GFZ) signed cooperation agreements with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and TU Delft. The agreements are on geothermal research and research on weather extremes.
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The Long Night of the Sciences at PIK

20/05/2019 - In a few weeks, over 60 scientific institutions will be opening their doors to the public all across Berlin and Potsdam-Telegrafenberg. On June 15th from 17-24h, events will cover the natural sciences, engineering, social and cultural studies, medicine and much more. Whether it’s in lectures, science shows or in hands-on experiments, there is much to discover and to learn at the Long Night of the Sciences. Here is some information on the programme at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK):
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Stefan Rahmstorf receives ZEIT Wissen prize “Courage for Sustainability”

09/04/2019 – Stefan Rahmstorf has been awarded the "ZEIT Wissen-Prize 'Mut zur Nachhaltigkeit' – Encouraging Sustainability" for his achievements in communicating climate change. With this award, the magazine of the ZEIT publishing group honours pioneers from science, industry, and civil society, who contribute outstandingly to closing the gap between knowledge and action in the area of sustainable development. The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros.
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More CO2 than ever before in 3 million years, shows unprecedented computer simulation

03/04/2019 - CO2 greenhouse gas amounts in the atmosphere are likely higher today than ever before in the past 3 million years. For the first time, a team of scientists succeeded to do a computer simulation that fits ocean floor sediment data of climate evolution over this period of time. Ice age onset, hence the start of the glacial cycles from cold to warm and back, the study reveals, was mainly triggered by a decrease of CO2-levels. Yet today, it is the increase of greenhouse gases due to the burning of fossil fuels that is fundamentally changing our planet, the analysis further confirms. Global mean temperatures never exceeded the preindustrial levels by more than 2 degrees Celsius in the past 3 million years, the study shows – while current climate policy inaction, if continued, would exceed the 2 degrees limit already in the next 50 years.
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Greta Thunberg visits PIK at Telegrafenberg-Campus

03.04.2019 - Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden recently visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer, the 22-year-old activist of the German „Fridays for Future“-Movement, met with the Directors Johan Rockström and Ottmar Edenhofer and other experts from PIK. They discussed topics like the Paris Agreement and the latest insights from climate science and talked with scientists like Ricarda Winkelmann, Stefan Rahmstorf or Jessica Strefler, as well as PIK Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, about their research at the institute.
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Amazon forest can be trained by higher rainfall variability – but may be no match for climate change

25.02.2019 - The Amazon rainforest has evolved over millions of years and even through ice ages. Yet today, human influences and global climate change put this huge ecosystem at risk of large-scale dieback – with major consequences for its capability as a global CO2 sink. New research published in Nature Geoscience now reveals a key player in shaping the resilience of the Amazon, and finds that regions with generally higher rainfall variability are more resilient to current and future climate disturbances. However, despite this 'training effect', the Amazon rainforest might not be able to keep up with the pace of ongoing climate change, the study shows.
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PIK is the world's most influential climate think tank - Edenhofer, Schellnhuber, Rahmstorf are among most important German-speaking intellectuals

01/02/2019 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is the world's most influential environmental policy think tank, as the "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2018" just published by the University of Pennsylvania shows. On top of this, three PIK scientists are among the "most important German-speaking intellectuals" according to the new Cicero ranking: Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of PIK, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus, and Stefan Rahmstorf, Chair of PIK's research department "Earth System Analysis".
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Marlene Kretschmer wins Köppen-Preis for her outstanding dissertation on polar vortex

24.01.2019 - Marlene Kretschmer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has been awarded the 2018 Wladimir Peter Köppen Prize for her remarkable dissertation completed at PIK and the University of Potsdam. Its “importance for climate research, in terms of its innovativeness and relevance, is outstanding”, the jury of the Hamburg-based Cluster of Excellence CliSAP praised the work.
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Global warming didn’t pause - researchers disentangle “hiatus” confusion

19.12.2018 - The reality of ongoing climate warming might seem plainly obvious today, after the four warmest years on record and a summer of weather extremes in the whole northern hemisphere. A few years back however, some media and some experts were entangled in debates about an alleged pause in global warming – even though there never has been statistical evidence of any “hiatus”, as new research now confirms. In two recent studies, a group of international scientists joined forces to thoroughly disentangle any possible “hiatus” confusion, affirming that there was no evidence for a significant pause or even slowdown of global warming in the first place.
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Record-wet and record-dry months increased in regions worldwide: climate change drives rainfall extremes

12.12.2018 - More and more rainfall extremes are observed in regions around the globe – triggering both wet and dry records, a new study shows. Yet there are big differences between regions: The central and Eastern US, northern Europe and northern Asia have experienced heavy rainfall events that have led to severe floods in recent past. In contrast, most African regions have seen an increased frequency of months with a lack of rain. The study is the first to systematically analyze and quantify changes in record-breaking monthly rainfall events from all over the globe, based on data from roughly 50,000 weather stations worldwide. Climate change from fossil fuel greenhouse gases has long been expected to disturb rainfall patterns.
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Ricarda Winkelmann wins academics' young scientist award

06/12/2018 - Ricarda Winkelmann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has been honoured as this year's Young Scientist of the Year by 'academics' by ZEIT publishing group. Winkelmann was awarded due to her outstanding and groundbreaking research and publication achievements in researching the climate system and the risks of climate change. She is junior professor for Climate System Analysis at the University of Potsdam and scientist at PIK in research domain Earth System Analysis. She heads the Leibniz project "DominoES - Domino Effects in the Earth System" as well as the PIK working group on ice sheet dynamics.
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Ten PIK researchers among the most influential scientists in the world

29/11/2018 - Ten scientists, coming from different research domains from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are among the most highly cited researchers worldwide, according to a new ranking just published. Therewith, they are among the most influential scientifists in the world, their studies among the top 1% of scientific literature. Whether natural sciences or social sciences, PIK is one of the most renowned research institutions in Germany and worldwide, as the now published ranking once again shows.
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Successful classic updated: "Climate Change" by Schellnhuber and Rahmstorf

23/11/2018 - Summer drought in Germany, heavy rainfalls in Japan, devastating forest fires in California, storms over the Mediterranean Sea - everyone is talking about climate change, not least after the devastating weather extremes this summer. In their book, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Stefan Rahmstorf summarise the current state of climate science in a compact and easy-to-understand way. "Climate change - diagnosis, prognosis, therapy", the German classic on climate change from the publishing house Beck, has now been completely updated for its 8th edition.
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Winter weather extremes in the US and Europe: messing with giant airstreams in the stratosphere

22/11/2018 - Over Thanksgiving, arctic air masses are predicted to bring record-cold temperatures and frigid winds to the Northeast of the United States. Driver for such winter weather extremes is often the stratospheric polar vortex, a band of fast moving winds 30 kilometers above the ground. In winter, when the polar vortex is disturbed by upward-blowing air masses, this can bring cold spells over Northeastern America or Eurasia, a new study now shows. And paradox as it might seem, climate change might further disrupt the complex dynamics in the atmosphere – bringing us not only more hot extremes in summer but potentially also cold spells in winter.
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Statement on the current California forest fires

12.11.2018 - The California forest fires are currently burning across the State having forced hundreds of thousands of residents to flee their homes, among them also stars like Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler, Kim Kardashian or Lady Gaga. These are probably the worst forest fires in California's history.
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Earth League meets up in New Delhi: Climate Jamboree and Science Circle

08.11.2018 - From weather extremes to sea-level rise and tipping elements - more than 10.000 youths came together with science experts and artists last week in New Delhi for the Climate Jamboree Conference. Johan Rockström, PIK Director Designate, and Stefan Rahmstorf, Chair of PIK research domain Earth System Analysis, were among the key speakers, with lectures on a safe future for humanity on earth and new insights and hot topics from climate science. Organized by Leena Srivastava of TERI School of Advanced Studies, the participative Climate Jamboree with scientific talks, workshops and concerts was the grand finale of a series of events with the aim to empower youth to engage for climate action and sustainable development.
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Extreme weather will likely become more frequent due to stalling of giant waves in the atmosphere

01/11/2018 - Computer simulations predict a strong increase of events in which the undulations of the jet stream in the atmosphere stop moving along and grow very large. This can favor more frequent extreme weather events on the ground: the westerly winds stop pushing forward weather systems which hence become more persistent – a few sunny days grow into heatwaves, extended rains lead to floods. An international team of scientists links this to human-caused warming specifically in the Arctic.
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Manifesto by Wolfgang Lucht: "Das Wasser der Nachfolge"

05.10.2018 - We live in the Anthropocene, an era in which mankind as a global, geological force is changing the earth. Climate change, ocean acidification, extinction of species, deforestation and overfishing are just a few symptoms of human influence on our planet. "So what is the churches' opinion on the environmental question?" What do we say as Christians?", asks Wolfgang Lucht, Co-Chair of the Research Domain Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in his manifesto "Das Wasser der Nachfolge". This chapter was published in the recently released German book "Life in the Anthropocene - Christian perspectives for a culture of sustainability" by oekom. His manifesto directly adresses the churches, whose commitment is vital for the necessary transformation to a socially and environmentally sustainable society.
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Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible “Hothouse Earth” state

06/08/2018 - Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed. An international team of scientists has published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of the planet entering what the scientists call “Hothouse Earth” conditions. A “Hothouse Earth” climate will in the long term stabilize at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures with sea level 10-60 m higher than today, the paper says. The authors conclude it is now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy.
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Hurricane Florence threatening the US coast

13/09/2018 - Hurricane Florence is threatening the US coast as it will likely hit North or South Carolina. Last year already brought unusually devastating tropical cyclones.
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Europe’s renewable energy regulation could harm global forests

12/09/2018 - To fulfill the Paris Climate Agreement, which is backed by science, the European Union laudably plans to strongly enhance its renewable energy ambition – but a provision regulating the use of biomass for energy raises great concern among scientists. The new regulation would allow countries, power plants and factories to cut down trees and burn them for power or heat generation and to claim that this fully qualifies as low-carbon renewable energy. Currently Europe has mainly made use of biomass from wood waste and residues for bioenergy generation. But use could now ramp up to levels requiring massive input of stem wood as well, and this would be allowed under the new regulation. In stark contrast to the intentions of the EU, this would in fact also increase European greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate climate change, a team of scientists now argues in a comment published in Nature Communications.
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Nice sunny days can grow into heat waves – and wildfires: summer weather is stalling

20/08/2018 - Be it heavy downpours or super-hot spells, summer weather becomes more persistent in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. When those conditions stall for several days or weeks, they can turn into extremes: heatwaves resulting in droughts, health risks and wildfires; or relentless rainfall resulting in floods. A team of scientists now presents the first comprehensive review of research on summer weather stalling focusing on the influence of the disproportionally strong warming of the Arctic as caused by greenhouse-gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Evidence is mounting, they show, that we likely meddle with circulation patterns high up in the sky. These are affecting, in turn, regional and local weather patterns – with sometimes disastrous effects on the ground. This has been the case with the 2016 wildfire in Canada, another team of scientists show in a second study.
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Summer of extremes - PIK experts in the media

07/26/2018 - Everybody seems to be talking about the weather these days, with extreme heat in Germany and Europe, forest fires in Sweden, Greece and California. From Japan to the Arctic - the Northern hemisphere is currently experiencing a heat wave and experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK) were interviewed by numerous media outlets for an assessment of the current situation in the light of climate change.
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What saved the West Antarctic Ice Sheet 10,000 years ago will not save it today

06/14/2018 - The retreat of the West Antarctic ice masses after the last Ice Age was reversed surprisingly about 10,000 years ago, scientists found. This is in stark contrast to previous assumptions. In fact, it was the shrinking itself that stopped the shrinking: relieved from the weight of the ice, the Earth crust lifted and triggered the re-advance of the ice sheet. However, this mechanism is much too slow to prevent dangerous sea-level rise caused by West Antarctica’s ice-loss in the present and near future. Only rapid greenhouse-gas emission reductions can.
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Heat wave in California and heavy rain in Japan

09/07/2018 - Currently, California is confronted with extreme heat while Japan is hit by heavy rain. Stefan Rahmstorf, Earth System Analysis research domain co-chair at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor at the University of Potsdam comments on the issue.
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Better be safe than sorry: economic optimization risks tipping of important Earth system elements

06/15/2018 - Optimizing economic welfare without constraints might put human well-being at risk, a new climate study argues. While being successful in bringing down costs of greenhouse gas reductions for instance, the concept of profit maximization alone does not suffice to avoid the tipping of critical elements in the Earth system which could lead to dramatic changes of our livelihood. The scientists use mathematical experiments to compare economic optimization to the governance concepts of sustainability and the more recent approach of a safe operating space for humanity. All of these turn out to have their benefits and deficits, yet the profit-maximizing approach shows the greatest likelihood of producing outcomes that harm people or the environment.
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PIKturing our future: The young scientists’ visions for the institute

06/05/2018 - Once a year, the doctoral candidates of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) gather to discuss their research and exchange ideas. This year’s "PhD day" aimed at giving young scientists the possibility to think about and discuss their visions, wishes and ideas for the future of the institute. What do young scientists need to be able to perform excellent science? In what areas do they need more support and in what way? How can they interact with society during their work?
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Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning

04/11/2018. The Atlantic overturning – one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards – is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature data analysis provides new evidence that this major ocean circulation has slowed down by roughly 15 percent since the middle of the 20th century, according to a study published in the highly renowned journal Nature by an international team of scientists. Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations.
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PIK experts at the intersessional climate conference in Bonn

11/05/2018 - In the run-up to this year´s UN climate conference in Katowice in Poland, about 3000 experts and observers met in Bonn to discuss how to implement the Paris Agreement which is to enter into force in 2020. Two key elements of these “intersessionals” were the progress in advancing the Paris Agreement “rulebook”, and the initial in-person phase of the Talanoa dialogue that was introduced at COP23 last year. Several scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) took part in various meetings and presentations in Bonn.
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Girls'Day: PIK opens up doors and new perspectives to young and female future scientists

26/04/2018 - At this year's Girls'Day, schoolgirls from Berlin and Brandenburg had once again the opportunity to get to know the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and career perspectives in science. About their research on climate change and their work as a researcher at PIK, Levke Caesar and Christina Roolfs reported to the 19 pupils participating. The action day was initiated to open up new career perspectives in mathematical and the natural sciences for girls and young women.
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