Talk at Cancun is of 2 degrees Celsius – even 1.5 degrees would have effects lasting centuries
12/09/2010 – Even global warming of just 1.5 degrees Celsius would have consequences for centuries. The oceans store elevated temperatures for a longer time than was previously thought. This is due to a change in ocean-atmosphere heat exchange, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research discovered. Heat in lower oceanic layers is trapped by a cooling of upper layers, says a study which is about to be published in the journal Earth System Dynamics. Even if it would work to cool down the planet by extracting CO2 from the atmosphere, according to the calculations this cooling would be ten times slower than the currently observed temperature rise by greenhouse gases. Steric sea level rise under this scenario would continue for 200 years after the peak in surface air temperatures.
Global Warming could cool down temperatures in winter
11/16/2010 – The overall warming of the earth's northern half could result in cold winters. The shrinking of sea-ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional heating of the lower levels of air – which may lead to strong anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents, a study recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows. “These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia,” says Vladimir Petoukhov, lead author of the study and climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Recent severe winters like last year’s or the one of 2005-06 do not conflict with the global warming picture, but rather supplement it.”
Climate scientists want to better understand societal processes
11/12/2010 – Climate research needs a reorientation towards giving greater weight to the human factor, some leading figures of the international scientific community wrote in an appeal published in "Science" this Thursday. Economic, social and cultural processes have to be better integrated in models of earth system analysis that are typically geophysical. The usefulness of sustainability research is the main focus. "Research has to better understand how people respond to environmental change", Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says, director of the interdisciplinary Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "To achieve progress, we need a new balance of natural and social sciences." The physicist Schellnhuber is one of the authors of the appeal.
What do short messages and earthquakes have in common?
10/18/2010 – According to a new study, communication via short messaging can be described with the same mathematical laws used for describing the occurrence of earthquakes, strong rainfalls and forest fires, the electrical firing of neurons, or even stock trading.
PIK scientist Jürgen Kurths elected as member of the Academia Europaea
10/14/2010 - Jürgen Kurths, head of the Research Domain Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has been elected a member of the Academia Europaea, an independent European science association. He is a member of the Section of Physics and Engineering Sciences.
Hans-Juergen Cramer becomes Director of German Climate Innovation Center of European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
09/06/2010 – The former CEO of Vattenfall Europe and present-day entrepreneur and consultant for renewable energies Hans-Juergen Cramer has been appointed as Director of the German Climate Innovation Center of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) with effect from 1 September 2010. As a European network of excellence the EIT is to grow the European Union’s innovation capacity to find solutions to major global challenges in the fields of climate change, sustainable energy, and information and communication technologies. On 1 September, the German Climate Innovation Center moved into new headquarters in the European Energy Forum (EUREF) in Berlin-Schöneberg, the first carbon-neutral office quarter of Berlin.
Young entrepreneurs find their way into European market for climate change innovation
Zurich, Switzerland, 13 August 2010. Dozens of young entrepreneurs from across Europe today became the first-ever graduates of a novel course showing how to develop innovative solutions for tackling climate change that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.
Land plants process 15 percent of total atmospheric carbon dioxide each year
07/06/2010 - Terrestrial ecosystems draw about 123 billion tonnes of carbon (450 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, CO2) from the atmosphere each year. Based on worldwide local measurements and data-driven model simulations, an international team of researchers led by Christian Beer of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena has for the first time provided an observation-based estimate of the largest global flux of carbon between land and atmosphere and of its climate dependencies. The researchers evaluated the result against spatially explicit process models including the leading model LPJmL from PIK. Tropical ecosystems such as rain forests and savannas account for almost two thirds of the CO2 uptake, they report in an article published by the journal “Science” on the “Science Express” web site today.
Conscious choice of food can substantially mitigate climate change
06/28/2010 - Reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products and improving agricultural practices could decrease global greenhouse gas emissions substantially. By 2055 the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from agriculture could be cut by more than eighty percent, researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research find. The results of the modelling study have recently been published in the journal “Global Environmental Change”.
Atlantic surface circulation qualifies as ‘tipped’ element
06/25/2010 - An abrupt and persistent strengthening of the ocean currents forming the Atlantic subpolar gyre could have resulted from a large freshwater flooding event 8,200 years ago. New climate model simulations resolve the contradiction of increased freshwater inflow and enhanced deep water formation in the North Atlantic. The enhanced surface circulation could contribute to the climatic stability since the last ice age, the researchers suggest in the American Geophysical Union’s electronic journal “G-Cubed”.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change appoints authors for fifth Assessment Report
06/24/2010 - 831 scientists will contribute to the fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be published between June 2013 and March 2014. On Wednesday, the IPCC Secretariat in Geneva released the list of experts who will work towards delivering the three Working Groups’ reports. Seven scientists working at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have been named.
A global limit on emissions, equal per-capita emissions rights and “peak and trade” emissions trading for the “2°max Climate Strategy”
04/27/2010 – A report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK-Report No. 116), published today, points at constructional flaws in the current global system for protection of the climate. The authors analyse the interests of the different groups of countries and delineate how international climate policy could be modified to keep global warming to two degrees Celsius, as called for in the Copenhagen Accord.
Copenhagen Accord misses 2° C climate target
04/22/2010 - The current national emissions-reduction pledges accompanying the Copenhagen Accord will not limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. In fact, they imply a global mean temperature increase of more than three degrees Celsius this century. This is reported by a team of researchers led by Joeri Rogelj and Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the current edition of the journal “Nature”.
International Conference “Continents under Climate Change” in Berlin
From 21 to 23 April 2010, the Humboldt-Universität, in co-operation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, will host the international conference “Continents under Climate Change” in Berlin. Leading scientists from all continents will discuss recent results from ongoing research on global and regional impacts of climate change.
Europe could create a 100% renewable electricity supply by 2050
03/29/2010 – Renewable energy sources could be used at scale by 2050 if supported by an efficient European transmission grid and a single European power market united with similar grids and markets in North Africa. This is shown in a new report released last week by PricewaterhouseCoopers. A group of energy and climate experts from the company in collaboration with researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the European Climate Forum (ECF) have examined possible transformation paths for the European and North African power sector. A transformation of the power sector based on one hundred percent renewables would address energy security and supply concerns while decarbonising electricity generation and at the same time reduce energy poverty, the report says.
Technological options are critical for economic viability of 2°C climate target
03/15/2010 - Tapping renewable energy sources, capturing and storing of industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and improving energy efficiency are pivotal for holding the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius. In a special issue of “The Energy Journal”, a team of researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and four other European institutions reports that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases can be stabilized at correspondingly low levels at moderate costs. However, costs, as well as the dependency on specific technologies, increase with the chances to achieve the 2°C target.
Weakening Sun would hardly slow global warming
03/10/2010 - A new Grand Minimum of solar activity would decrease the rise of global mean temperature caused by human greenhouse gas emissions only marginally. A new modelling study by researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, published online today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, finds a temperature offset of at most 0.3 degrees Celsius until the end of the century. This is less than ten percent of the temperature rise projected under “business as usual” scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Light-based computing, quick as a thought
02/24/2010 - Inspired by the fast processing of information in the human brain, a consortium of European research institutions is developing a novel kind of computing. The EU funded project “PHOCUS” that started in January aims at designing photonic systems, communicating via light, to quickly perform complex computations including the rapid processing of large amounts of data, potentially consuming far less power than current supercomputers.
New book rises to the global sustainability challenge
02/08/2010 - In the wake of the Copenhagen climate conference, which ended without a clear mandate for global climate protection, the new book Global Sustainability - A Nobel Cause, published by Cambridge University Press, addresses the main lines of conflicts and offers new solutions. The contributing authors - Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, medicine, economics and peace, top-level political leaders, representatives of major NGOs and renowned experts on sustainability - point out strategies for the stabilisation of the climate and global sustainable development. The open access publication is now available for download.
PIK devises climate strategy for Potsdam
01/19/2010 - A consortium of institutes and companies led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is to develop a strategy for climate protection for the City of Potsdam. The Mayor of Potsdam, capital of the German state of Brandenburg, Jann Jakobs, today entrusted the consortium with devising concepts for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change up to 2050. Following the sobering outcome of the world climate conference in Copenhagen, the engagement of cities, companies and private persons in reduction and adaptation issues appears to be especially important.
PIK will be leading member of Climate Initiative of European Institute of Innovation and Technology
Budapest/Potsdam, 12/16/2009 - The European Union´s Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) announced today its Knowledge and Innovation Community (‘Climate-KIC’), a cluster of 16 highly integrated partnerships, bringing together excellent higher education, research and business around the topics of climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is one of its five major academic partners and will lead the German consortium. Among its members are the Berlin Institute of Technology, the Technische Universität München and the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. The Klima Campus Hamburg and the Forschungszentrum Jülich also joined prior to the implementation of the initiative.