News

Fast & comprehensive: First version of Potsdam Earth Model POEM ready for use

7/01/2021 - A first version of the Potsdam Earth Model POEM is up and running. Unlike classic global climate models, POEM – developed by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) – is a fast and versatile earth system model that allows to capture a variety of important biospheric processes. In a first application of the POEM framework, the PIK scientists examined the possible tipping point of the Amazon forest under severe climate change.
Read More
News

FirEUrisk: PIK joins EU project to analyze and manage wildfires

06/03/2021 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), along with 38 partner institutions from 19 countries, will develop a science-based strategy to manage, monitor and analyze major forest fires in Europe. Funded by the European Union, the FirEUrisk project brings together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and citizens to study the vulnerability and resilience of communities and countries to wildfires in Northern, Central and Mediterranean Europe. The overarching goal of the project is to adapt fire management strategies to expected climate and socio-economic changes.
Read More
News

When the flames are out, danger continues: Cascading effects of wildfires

03/15/2021 - After extreme weather events like droughts and wildfires, it often only takes small additional natural hazards like rainfall to trigger further disastrous cascading hazards, a new study finds. A team of scientists based in Potsdam and Berlin analyzed the devastating forest fires in Australia from 2019 to 2020, which - in their intensity and severity – are likely linked to human-made global warming. The researchers reveal that the following much needed rain caused severe further damage, gravely impacting both people and nature.
Read More
News

“Planetary Boundary Simulator”: New initiative aims to quantify the interactions between key components of the Earth system

02/08/2021 - To gather further insight into the processes that determine Earth's resilience against unprecedented change, the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has launched a new pilot project: The Potsdam Earth Model Planetary Boundaries Simulator (POEM-PBSim) will for the first time analyze the impacts of the interaction of planetary boundaries in the Earth System – and simulate the changes it is undergoing.
Read More
News

Special Issue in Climatic Change: PIK Scientists Refine Hydrological Model Evaluation Methods

01/05/2021 - Tools to project the availability of freshwater are becoming ever more important under climate change and growing population. Yet mathematical hydrological models, while being valuable instruments for impact assessment, may contribute to uncertainties, especially if not properly evaluated.
Read More

From artificial meat to fine-tuning photosynthesis: Food System Innovation – and how to get there

19/05/2020 - Food production has always shaped the lives of humans and the surface of the Earth. Be it plough or refrigerator, time and again innovations have transformed the ways we grow, process, and consume food over the last millennia. Today, with almost 40 per cent of all land on Earth used for food production, the food system massively impacts climate and environment – from nitrogen flows to water use, from biodiversity to greenhouse gas emissions. In a new study published in the journal NatureFOOD, an international team of researchers has now assessed and categorised key innovations with a potential to transform the food system, from artificial meat or seafood to biofortified crops or improved climate forecasts – and established what is most needed to make them succeed.
Read More

Australian bush fires: "What is happening in the southeast of Australia right now is breaking all records"

10/01/2020 - Australia is burning. In a statement, Kirsten Thonicke, expert for fire ecology and forests at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), explains the causes and how the devastating fires are related to man-made climate change.
Read More

Looking beyond the farm gate: New IPCC Special Report on Land Use and Climate Change

08/08/2019 – Almost three quarters of habitable land on earth are under human use – resulting in substantial impacts on our climate, a new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows. Today, almost a quarter of human-made greenhouse gas emissions arise from agriculture, forestry and other land use. The latest IPCC Special Report investigates the current situation, possible future scenarios and potential solutions on how we can use land to feed ourselves, fuel economic growth and limit climate change risks. Two Potsdam scientists figure as lead authors of the chapter on food security and on the relations between land and climate.
Read More

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.
Read More

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.
Read More

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.
Read More

Spacefood for cows: Industrial microbes could feed cattle, pigs and chicken with less damage to the environment

06/20/2018 - Deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, nitrogen pollution – today’s agricultural feed cultivation for cattle, pigs and chicken comes with tremendous impacts for the environment and climate. Cultivating feed in industrial facilities instead of on croplands might help to alleviate the critical implications in the agricultural food supply chain. Protein-rich microbes, produced in large-scale industrial facilities, are likely to increasingly replace traditional crop-based feed. A new study now published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology for the first time estimates the economic and environmental potential of feeding microbial protein to pigs, cattle and chicken on a global scale. The researchers find that by replacing only 2 percent of livestock feed by protein-rich microbes, more than 5 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, global cropland area and global nitrogen losses could each be decreased.
Read More

EU commissioner Stylianides visits PIK

01/24/2018 - The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) together with Director-General Monique Pariat and members of cabinet. He was interested in the latest climate research and particularly in prevention measures for the increasing risks of floods and forest fires due to climate change.
Read More

IPCC-chair and UN climate chief debate with Latin American ambassadors

05/18/2017 - To debate climate risks and options for action, the highest-ranking representatives of both climate science and climate policy met with ambassadors from Latin America at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact (PIK) today. Hoesung-Lee, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), attended a conference for which PIK provided most of the scientific input. Despite the wide range of perspectives on the subject, all participants agreed that tackling climate change is a common responsibility.
Read More

Consumption, climate change and agriculture

16/12/2016 - The holiday season is in full swing and many enjoy the opportunity to feast – or to make new year resolutions for a healthier diet. What we eat is more than a private decision – the agriculture and land use sector is one of the central players in ambitious climate change mitigation efforts. Yet, mitigation policies in agriculture may conflict with food security. A team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research analyzed the impacts on food prices under mitigation policies – targeting either incentives for producers or consumer preferences. They show that policy instruments to mitigate climate change with an educational approach to change food preferences can avoid unwanted impacts of climate change mitigation measures on food security.
Read More

Eminent Brazilian Climate Scientist visits PIK

19/10/2016 - Carlos A. Nobre, one of the world-leading researchers on the Amazon rainforest and, among several high-ranking engagements, Member of the UN-Secretary General's Science Advisory Board on Global Sustainability, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Read More

Amazon forests: Biodiversity can help mitigate climate risks

29/08/2016 - A forest with greater diversity of plants can better adjust to climatic stress. Now for the first time, a team of scientists can show this in computer simulations of the Amazon region by accounting for its amazing diversity of trees. Biodiversity can hence be an effective means to mitigate climate risks and should not only be seen in the context of nature conservation.
Read More

Reducing food waste could help mitigate climate change

04/07/2016 - About a tenth of overall global greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture could be traced back to food waste by mid-century, a new study shows. A team from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research for the first time provides comprehensive food loss projections for countries around the world while also calculating the associated emissions. Currently, one third of global food production never finds its way onto our plates. This share will increase drastically, if emerging countries like China and India adopt Western nutrition lifestyles, the analyses shows. Reducing food waste would offer the chance to ensure food security, which is well known. Yet at the same time it could help mitigate dangerous climate change.
Read More

Extreme events forcing global warming? Climate extremes and the carbon cycle

08/15/2013 – Extreme events like heat waves, droughts, heavy rain might not only occur more frequently due to climate change. They could also force global warming if terrestrial ecosystems release CO2 as a result of those extremes. An international team of researchers now analyzed the impacts of extremes on forests, bogs, grass landscapes and arable areas througout the world, among them scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Terrestrial ecosystems absorb about 11 billion tons less carbon dioxide every year as the result of the extreme climate events than they could if the events did not occur, the researchers write in the renowned journal Nature. This is equivalent to approximately a third of global CO2 emissions per year.
Read More

Naturkundemuseum and PIK link history and future

03/08/2013 - Naturkundemuseum Berlin, Germany´s leading natural history museum, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have agreed to work closer together at a meeting in early March. When a delegation from the museum, led by its Director-General Prof. Dr. Johannes Vogel, visited PIK, a number of ideas for a closer cooperation were identified.
Read More

A warning system for the planet

11/16/2012 - Earth’s ecosystems provide benefits like food or drinking water that are of crucial importance for the well-being of humankind. But although accumulated assessments indicate increasing system failures threatening livelihoods and lives, so far no centralized system exists to monitor and report ecosystem status and changes. Aiming at a better understanding of the consequences of ecosystem service and biodiversity loss, a team of scientists, including Kirsten Thonicke and some of her colleagues from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), propose “A Global System for Monitoring Ecosystem Service Change” in a paper recently published in the science magazine “BioScience”.
Read More

“Paying to avoid”?

10/17/2011 - A high-ranking delegation from Ecuador, led by Ivonne Baki, Head of the Yasuní Initiative Negotiating Team, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) last thursday to promote the so called Yasuní Initiative. The Yasuní Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) Initiative introduces the idea of “paying to avoid” to preserve the Yasuní National Park in Ecuador by leaving its newly found oil reserves in the ground.
Read More