New team lineup leading research domains

04/02/2012 - Some new heads can be found at the top of the four research domains of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The new team lineup that has been implemented in March is the result of a larger process to further sharpen the institute’s profile. The goal remains unchanged: excellent research.
New team lineup leading research domains
Planet PIK. Photo: Jan Philipp Dietrich

In research domain "Earth System Analysis" (RD I), Wolfgang Lucht, a physicist, joins his colleague Stefan Rahmstorf who continues to serve as a co-chair. This is one further step to advance the coupling of models of the biosphere and the physical Earth system. The former co-chair of this research domain, Wolfgang Cramer, left to become the director of the Institut de la Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marin et Continentale in France. Lucht was previously one of the two heads of RD II "Climate Impacts und Vulnerability".

This research domain is now headed by Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe and Hermann Lotze-Campen. The meteorologist Gerstengarbe has already been a member of the PIK directorate. Lotze-Campen, an agricultural economist, worked as a senior scientist in RD I. With this new duo, RD II will focus even more on impact research, especially the effects of climate change on humankind. Extreme weather events as well as climate impacts on agriculture and ultimately food production have the potential to profoundly affect societies.

RD III "Sustainable Solutions" has expanded its management team. In addition to the economist Ottmar Edenhofer, who heads the research on climate change mitigation and, among other things, the future of the energy system, there is now the physicist Anders Levermann. He has been a group leader in RD I and started within RD III to build up research on adaptation to climate change and to explore the potential and limitations thereof.

In RD IV, complex networks and nonlinearities in natural and social systems are investigated with a strong mathematical profile. Now this is being complemented by social science research of societal metabolism dealing with partly similar dynamic processes. The mathematician Jürgen Kurths remains one of the two research domain chairs. His colleague Carlo Jäger recently retired. Now Helga Weisz who previously was co-chair of RD II now joined RD IV to become its new co-chair. She is a cultural scientist and biologist who pushes forward the analysis of socioecological systems.