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Hotter, wetter, drier: the science behind extreme weather events

10/22/2021 - Extreme weather events are on the rise. Are these events connected? Are they becoming more likely with global warming? What does science say about extreme weather events? In the new episode of the podcast ‘Sustain Ability. The Potsdam Dialogues - Science for a Safe Tomorrow’, experts Friederike Otto and Stefan Rahmstorf give insight into their latest research. They discuss attribution science, economic costs of extreme events, the art of communicating science - and what keeps them going in their personal scientific chasing of extreme weather events.
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Schellnhuber awarded French Legion d'Honneur

10/06/2021 - In a solemn ceremony hosted at the Embassy of France in Berlin, PIK Director Emeritus Hans Joachim Schellnhuber was honoured with the highest order of merit in the Republic of France, The Legion of Honour, for his outstanding achievements in the field of climate science, particularly in the context of COP21.
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New Artist in Residence at PIK: Srdjan Jovanović Weiss

10/7/2021 - Srdjan Jovanović Weiss, a Serbian-born architect and theorist living and working mainly in New York, has arrived at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as the new Artist in Residence. He was selected from over 300 international applications for the program and will be a guest in Potsdam from October to December 2021. In addition to publishing numerous articles and books, he has been a research director at Herzog and de Meuron Architects in Basel, a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and founder of NAO.NYC ("Normal Architecture Office").
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Press Release

Unprecedented rise of heat and rainfall extremes in observational data

10/7/2021 - A 90-fold increase in the frequency of monthly heat extremes in the past ten years compared to 1951-1980 has been found by scientists in observation data. Their analysis reveals that so-called 3-sigma heat events, which deviate strongly from what is normal in a given region, now on average affect about 9 percent of all land area at any time. Record daily rainfall events also increased in a non-linear way – on average, 1 in 4 rainfall records in the last decade can be attributed to climate change. Already today, extreme events linked to human-caused climate change are at unprecedented levels, the scientists say, and they must be expected to increase further.
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PIK Statement on Nobel Prize for climate researcher Hasselmann

10/05/2021 - Today, German climate researcher Klaus Hasselmann was one of three scientists to be awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Physics.
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Improving the evidence: PIK scientists review quantitative climate migration literature

09/28/2021 - Quantitative empirical studies exploring how climatic and other environmental drivers influence migration are increasing year by year. PIK scientists have now reviewed methodological approaches used in the quantitative climate migration literature. Their review plays an important role when it comes to assessing how climatic factors influence human migration and provides guidance to researchers studying climate-migration.
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Press Release

Reducing tropical cyclone impacts: The double benefit of climate protection through both limiting and delaying global warming

09/27/2021 - Increasing global warming from currently one to two degrees Celsius by mid-century might lead to about 25 percent more people put at risk by tropical cyclones, a new study finds. Already today, hurricanes and typhoons are among the most destructive natural disasters worldwide and potentially threaten about 150 million people each year. Adding to climate change, population growth further drives tropical cyclone exposure, especially in coastal areas of East African countries and the United States. Considering the joint impact of climate change and population growth provides an untapped potential to protect a changing world population.
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Press Release

Today’s children to experience two to seven times more extremes than their grandparents

09/27/2021 - Today’s children will be hit much harder by climate extremes than today’s adults, researchers show in the leading journal Science. During their lifetime, a child born in 2021 will experience on average twice as many wildfires, between two and three times more droughts, almost three times more river floods and crop failures, and seven times more heatwaves compared to a person who’s for instance 60 years old today, the researchers find based on data from the Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP). This is under a scenario of current greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges by governments which will be a topic at the upcoming world climate summit COP26 in Glasgow.
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On the German Bundestag elections: "We can't afford any more years of stagnation."

09/26/2021 - The outcome of the Bundestag elections has great significance for climate and energy policy. Veronika Grimm and Ottmar Edenhofer commented on this on the sidelines of an online debate organized by the Verein für Socialpolitik, an important association of economic researchers.
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New report from the Science Panel for the Amazon

09/28/2021 - The Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) released an Executive Summary of the Amazon Assessment Report this week, a comprehensive scientific assessment of the state of the Amazon Basin. The report includes recommendations for sustainable development pathways for policy makers and governments. Over 200 renowned scientists from the Amazon and global partners, including scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, came together as the Science Panel for the Amazon to develop this report.
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Important steps for a new philosophy of building in Brussels and Brandenburg

09/17/2021 - The European Commission has set out the framework and key actions to drive the New European Bauhaus initiative forward after comprehensive talks earlier this month, when the Highlevel Roundtable with PIK founder John Schellnhuber met with EU President Ursula von der Leyen. Today, the Brandenburg government together with the Federal Ministry for the Environment joined forces with “Bauhaus der Erde”, a non-profit organization with the objective to transform the way we construct and maintain the built environment.
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Think summer is hot now? Here’s how hot it would be without nature.

09/16/2021 - Without the Earth’s biosphere, global average temperature today would have already surpassed the critical 1.5º C threshold, a benchmark signifying that the planet’s warming is moving into the zone of dangerous climate change. This is the result of a new opinion paper, co-authored by Johan Rockström, PIK Director and chief scientist at Conservation International.
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Launch of WHO Pandemic Early Warning Center with PIK Researcher Sabine Gabrysch

09/03/2021 - The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a pandemic early warning center in Berlin this week to assist in better preparing for future pandemics. The center was opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - with a panel discussion in which Sabine Gabrysch from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) also participated.
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Olaf Scholz visits Potsdam Institute

09/03/2021 – Olaf Scholz visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week, and he did so in two different capacities. In his capacity as Federal Minister of Finance, he met with climate economist and PIK Director Ottmar Edenhofer for an exchange on climate policy. In his capacity as Social Democratic Party candidate for the office of German chancellor, he did a video interview with WWF, for which he had chosen the Institute as venue.
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Assessing the Evidence: Climate Change and Migration in the United Republic of Tanzania

08/31/2021 – Temperature rise, changes in the rainy seasons, extreme weather events: climate impacts pose risks to people in East Africa, especially to those living in rural areas and are heavily dependent on small-scale agriculture. A new report, a joint effort between the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), looks into possible linkages between climate impacts and migration in Tanzania and offers lenses across East Africa. It is accompanied by a Summary Brief in Swahili to broaden accessibility of climate information at the local level. In today’s event, PIK scientist Julia Blocher presented key findings of the report, followed by a virtual panel discussion.
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10.3 million euros for climate supercomputer: Minister Schüle hands over funding notification

08/23/2021 - The Minister of Research of the State of Brandenburg, Manja Schüle, today handed over a grant of 10.3 million euros to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for the establishment of a new type of computer cluster for the analysis of scientific climate data. The new high-performance computer cluster on Potsdam's Telegrafenberg is necessary to enable the growing interest of the scientific community in linking climate data from a wide range of topics and research fields.
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73% of people believe Earth approaching tipping points, according to new survey

08/17/2021 - A survey, carried out in G20 countries by IPSOS Mori and the Global Commons Alliance, highlights a set of new and extremely detailed research on public attitudes towards tipping points, planetary stewardship and necessary economic and societal transformations. The survey clearly shows people are willing to do more to become better “planetary stewards” and protect and regenerate the global commons.
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Estonian government delegation visits PIK

08 /16/2021 – A high-level government delegation from Estonia has visited the Potsdam Institute for an in-depth discussion about climate policy issues. Welcomed by the directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström, the guests from the Baltic Republic gained insight in the most recent findings of climate science and discussed its implications namely with regard to the Green Deal proposed by the European Commission. The visit illustrates the importance Estonia, a coastal state and one of 27 members of the European Union, concedes to the topic.
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Press Release

Major Atlantic ocean current system might be approaching critical threshold

08/05/2021 - The major Atlantic ocean current, to which also the Gulf stream belongs, may have been losing stability in the course of the last century. This is shown in a new study published in Nature Climate Change. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, transports warm water masses from the tropics northward at the ocean surface and cold water southward at the ocean bottom, which is most relevant for the relatively mild temperatures in Europe. Further, it influences weather systems worldwide. A potential collapse of this ocean current system could therefore have severe consequences.
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Press Release

Less trade-offs, more synergies: New pathway to mitigate climate change and boost progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals

08/02/2021 - A world that combats climate change while simultaneously improving on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is possible, a new study finds. Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Development Institute have developed a new integrated strategy that combines ambitious climate action with dedicated policies for development, food and energy access, global and national equity, and environmental sustainability. It sheds new light on bottlenecks, but also synergies for boosting progress towards climate and sustainable development targets.
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PIK expertise on extreme rainfall and flooding

07/16/2021 - The heavy rains and thunderstorms in parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate during the past days have led to massive flooding of villages and entire areas. Meanwhile, towards the rivers Oder and Neiße, extreme heat prevailed at more than 30 degrees Celsius. Where these extraordinary weather conditions stem from and their connection with climate change, many national and international media wanted to know from PIK researchers. Here is a small excerpt from the coverage.
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PIK Statement on European climate policy package Fit for 55/Green Deal

07/14/2021 - Today, the EU Commission presented it's Green Deal "Fit for 55" policy package.
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Birthday wishes to Ottmar Edenhofer

7/9/2021 - Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has received high-ranking congratulations from the federal and state governments on his 60th birthday. From Berlin, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, the State Secretary of the Federal Environment Ministry Jochen Flasbarth and others wrote to him. From Brandenburg, Ottmar Edenhofer received congratulations from Minister President Dietmar Woidke, Science Minister Manja Schüle, as well as from numerous other companions in science and politics.
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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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Leibniz institutions launch initiative “Integrated Earth System Research"

07/09/2021 - Scientists from a wide range of disciplines from Leibniz Association institutions are launching an initiative for “Integrated Earth System Research”. Together with partners from Germany, Europe and other countries, they will investigate the current epoch of the Earth’s history, which is strongly influenced by humans, in a coordinated and interdisciplinary way as never before. The findings will point out both high-risk and safe development paths for politics, business and civil society.
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Press Release

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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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.
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Climate Protection & Sustainability: German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits PIK

06/29/2021 - Today, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Albert Einstein Science Park with the Heads of State of Belgium, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland. Together with PIK Directors Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström, they discussed current climate policy challenges around the Paris climate goals and the mechanisms of action of CO2 pricing.
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Smart transfer rules can strengthen EU climate policy

06/25/2021 - Brussels sets ambitious targets with the European Green Deal, so how can we ensure that all member states go along with them? An economic study on decision-making in groups of states gives us clues.
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Science commentary: Addressing the human cost of displacement in a changing climate

23/06/2021 - In a policy forum contribution just published in a special edition of the renowned journal Science, Jacob Schewe, co-lead of PIK´s FutureLab “Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration” and colleagues from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), ETH Zürich and IIASA Vienna discuss the hidden economic impacts of disaster- and climate-related displacement. They argue for locally led displacement risk assessments that account for the potential economic cost of displacement to guide decision making.
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