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.
Summer of extremes - PIK experts in the media
Peter Hoffmann talks about weather extremes and climate change in RBB TV. Photo: Screenshot

Heat waves in parts of the world are nothing unusual in general, explained Anders Levermann to international news agency Agence France-Press (AFP). However, the current heat in the entire northern hemisphere is highly unusual. Given that the last three years have been the warmest on record globally, with unmitigated climate change extreme episodes will likelier occur more frequently. The AFP report was picked up by media all over France, in Spanish speaking countries and in Germany.

Climate change is already happening today, explained Fred Hattermann to the German news agency dpa. Media like Spiegel Online, FAZ, Focus or Rheinische Post reported on the subject as well as radio stations like WDR5. Since the industrial revolution, Germany has seen a warming of 1.4°C already, Hattermann said, with a particularly strong warming since the middle of last century. This affects the frequency and intensity of heat waves or heavy rainfalls with floods. He emphasized that warming temperatures can, for instance, become a challenge for farmers and mess with yields. Hattermann also appeared in Deutsche Welle News on the subject.

Peter Hoffmann was invited to German RBB TV and commented in Brandenburg Aktuell and a following broadcast special on the possible impacts of global warming and summer extreme events – from current heat waves to extreme rainfall as seen in previous years. He also talked to German newspapers like Berliner Morgenpost, Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten and RiaNovosti. A summer like this one could be an average summer by 2050, Hoffmann said.

Kirsten Thonicke talked to media like Kleine Zeitung in Austria and NDR2 Radio in Germany about the forest fires in Sweden and Greece. While forest fires to a certain degree are a part of summer in the Mediterranean countries, they are usually less heavy in a country like Sweden, she explained. However, climate change makes extreme events probably more likely, so that regions that have not seen that many or severe forest fires so far could be affected.

Stefan Rahmstorf talked to the German newspapers Südkurier and Tagesspiegel about record heat in Germany and other parts of the world, like the USA. Earlier this month, when California was confronted with extreme heat while Japan was hit by heavy rain he commented on this in media like Süddeutsche Zeitung, PNN and emphasized that heat waves as well as extreme precipitation events can be expected to become more frequent and worse due to global warming, based on the laws of physics.