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Schellnhuber addresses climate challenge at Munich Security Conference

04/03/2019 - For the first time, security risks arising from human-made climate change have been a center-stage topic at the Munich Security Conference this year. This unparalleled meeting of global security experts, including heads of states and high-ranking military officials, invited Hans Joachim Schellnhuber to present his assessment of the state of the climate crisis and its consequences for international policy making. Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus and founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, emphasized how reducing greenhouse gas emissions is ultimately a matter of preserving our civilization.
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Make climate impact models fit for extreme events, says study

01/03/2019 - Computer models used for assessing future global climate change risks are doing a good job when it comes to gradual changes, but they may be underestimating the severity of extreme events, finds an international team of scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. They compared, for the first time, a large number of different simulations across sectors with the measured impacts of the 2003 European heat wave. In reality, the heat wave and drought in 2003 hit agriculture and ecosystems hard, and caused thousands of excess fatalities. These extreme impacts were not captured by most of the simulations. This means that there is an urgent need to develop models that better represent impacts from climate extremes. It also means that unmitigated global warming might be more costly and stabilizing our climate hence economically more rewarding than so far estimated.
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Jonathan Donges awarded with most important prize for young German researchers

28/02/2019 - The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research have awarded Jonathan Donges of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research with the most important German prize for young researchers. The Heinz Mayer-Leibnitz Prize will be awarded on 28 May to a total of ten scientists, from chemists to historians. It is endowed with 20,000 euros each. Donges is co-lead of the PIK Future Lab "Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene".
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Amazon forest can be trained by higher rainfall variability – but may be no match for climate change

25.02.2019 - The Amazon rainforest has evolved over millions of years and even through ice ages. Yet today, human influences and global climate change put this huge ecosystem at risk of large-scale dieback – with major consequences for its capability as a global CO2 sink. New research published in Nature Geoscience now reveals a key player in shaping the resilience of the Amazon, and finds that regions with generally higher rainfall variability are more resilient to current and future climate disturbances. However, despite this 'training effect', the Amazon rainforest might not be able to keep up with the pace of ongoing climate change, the study shows.
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Monsoon forecasting for improved climate resilience in Sri Lanka

19/02/2019 - Monsoon prediction specialist Elena Surovyatkina from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) recently visited Sri Lanka on Government invitation for talks with representatives of the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, the Ministry of Disaster Management, the Meteorological Department and the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University. Sri Lanka is a tropical insular state east of the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. In a warming world, floods or droughts during monsoon period could become more frequent, potentially affecting millions of people. Long-term monsoon forecasts could help make Sri Lanka more climate resilient.
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Time series networks: “Transforming messy big data into something comprehensible”

04/02/2019 - A first in-depth review of time series networks has now been published by an international team of scientists in Physics Reports, one of the leading journals in its field. While both nonlinear time series analysis and complex networks theory are widely considered to be established areas of research, the combination of both approaches has now become an active field of scientific progress. The review discusses in great detail on more than 80 pages three main approaches. Examples that the authors touch upon reach from climatology to neurophysiology and economics. The team of authors is led by Yong Zou from East China Normal University, Shanghai, while all other authors are from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research, including Jürgen Kurths, co-chair of the department for Complexity Science.
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New cookbook by Johan Rockström, now in German: "Eat Good" with healthy recipes for us and our planet

04/02/2019 - Unhealthy nutrition is one of the biggest causes of health risks worldwide and at the same time a risk to climate stability. What we eat can make a decisive contribution to our health and that of our planet. Healthy and sustainable recipes have now been presented by Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the authors of the recently published EAT Lancet report on healthy nutrition within the planetary boundaries. "Eat Good - The world-changing cookbook" the German cookbook is titled. The recipes ranging from breakfast to festive dinner are backed up by practical tips and background facts about food and its processing.
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PIK is the world's most influential climate think tank - Edenhofer, Schellnhuber, Rahmstorf are among most important German-speaking intellectuals

01/02/2019 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is the world's most influential environmental policy think tank, as the "Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2018" just published by the University of Pennsylvania shows. On top of this, three PIK scientists are among the "most important German-speaking intellectuals" according to the new Cicero ranking: Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of PIK, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus, and Stefan Rahmstorf, Chair of PIK's research department "Earth System Analysis".
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The living lab experiment "Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" takes stock: Everyone can contribute to climate stabilization, but without politics it won’t succeed

31/01/2019 - "Climate-Neutral Living in Berlin" – for one year, more than 100 Berlin households have tried to shift to a more climate-friendly everyday life, from families with children, partners, flatmates to singles. In the living lab experiment headed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), households were reducing their climate footprint by an average of around 10 percent, even though they had, on average, already started the project 25 percent below the German average. The results of the project: in all sectors, from nutrition and consumption to electricity, heating and mobility, there is great potential for each and every one to reduce their CO2 emissions. But the experiment also shows where the limits of individual contributions to climate protection are, and where a political framework is necessary to set the stage for a more climate-friendly everyday life.
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Rainfall extremes are connected across continents: Nature study

31.01.2019 - Extreme rainfall events in one city or region are connected to the same kind of events thousands of kilometers away, an international team of experts finds in a study now published in one of the world’s leading scientific journals, Nature. They discovered a global connection pattern of extreme rainfall – this could eventually improve weather forecasts and hence help to limit damages and protect people. Extreme rainfall events are on the rise due to human-caused climate change, which makes the study even more relevant. The researchers developed a new method rooted in complex systems science to analyze satellite data. The revealed extreme rainfall patterns are likely linked to giant airflows known as jetstreams that circle the globe high up in the atmosphere, forming huge waves between the Equator and the Poles.
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Brandenburg's Research Minister Münch welcomes Edenhofer and Rockström as new PIK Directors

28/01/2019 - Climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer and earth resilience researcher Johan Rockström are officially appointed as new scientific directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Science and Research Minister of Germany's Federal State Brandenburg Martina Münch acknowledged the two scientists as a "strong team for future tasks in climate and environment politics" and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research as one of the world's most influential and high-profile think tanks.
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Germany phases out coal to help stabilize our climate

27/01/2019 - The Coal Commission established by the German government recommends to phase out coal - with an end date in the 2030s. It is highly likely that political decision-makers will act upon this recommendation now and indeed put an end-date to coal-use in the world's fourth biggest economy Germany. The Coal Commission consisted of representatives from industry, trade unions, environmental associations, and academia. Experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) were closely involved in the difficult negotiations. Physicist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, PIK's Director Emeritus, was a member of the Commission. PIK's acting Director and chief economist Ottmar Edenhofer had been invited to provide advice to the committee.
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Marlene Kretschmer wins Köppen-Preis for her outstanding dissertation on polar vortex

24.01.2019 - Marlene Kretschmer from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), has been awarded the 2018 Wladimir Peter Köppen Prize for her remarkable dissertation completed at PIK and the University of Potsdam. Its “importance for climate research, in terms of its innovativeness and relevance, is outstanding”, the jury of the Hamburg-based Cluster of Excellence CliSAP praised the work.
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International Green Week: Agriculture expert Lotze-Campen speaks at several events

22/01/2019 - From agriculture and biodiversity to digital technologies in the agricultural sector to climate change and food: During and before the International Green Week (18-21 Jan), agricultural economist Hermann Lotze-Campen, head of research department "Climate Resilience - Climate Impacts and Adaptation" at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, was invited as speaker at several events of various federal ministries in Berlin.
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Call for Abstracts: Conference on Socio-Economic Metabolism organized by PIK

21/01/2019 - This year's Conference of the Socio-Economic Metabolism Section (SEM) of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE), founded by the New York Academy of Sciences, is organized by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Chaired by Helga Weisz, head of PIK’s future lab “Social Metabolism and Impacts”, and Peter-Paul Pichler from research domain “Complexity Science”, the meeting will be held in Berlin 13-15 May 2019. The conference aims to share ideas and knowledge of the current and cutting edge socio-economic metabolism research among researchers, academics, and industry experts. The call for abstracts is still open, until January 30.
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Lancet report: Healthy lives and a liveable planet for all require major changes in what we eat and how we produce it

17.01.2019 - Feeding a growing population of 10 billion by 2050 is possible if we shift towards a planetary health diet, a major new report by the EAT Lancet commission shows. International experts worked with the leading medical journal to develop the first comprehensive and detailed science based targets for improving our food system in a way that ensures healthy lives and a liveable planet for all. This includes doubling the amount of vegetables in what we eat every day, and halving red meat and sugar. Current diets are one of today's greatest causes for ill-health worldwide and in the same time threaten climate stability. Leading planetary boundaries researcher Johan Rockström, Director Designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and former Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, is one of the report's lead authors.
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Ranking: the climate papers most featured in online media

12/01/2019 - Scientific publications from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research scored well in online and social media. The UK online news outlet Carbon Brief just published an interesting ranking based on Altmetric that - while it is certainly not comprehensive since the data base is not comprehensive - gives some indications which papers in 2018 have been most referred to in the public. Of course, the list most prominently features the "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene" (or 'Hothouse Earth') paper by, amongst others, PIK's Johan Rockström, Jonathan Donges, Ricarda Winkelmann, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber published in PNAS. Carbon Brief calls it the climate science paper that scored top in media. Looking at all scientific publications in 2018 - hence beyond the field of climate research - it still is the fifth most talked-about of all journal papers, which is enormous.
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Connecting the dots between risks and solutions: Policy design for the Anthropocene

10/01/2019 - From climate change to biodiversity, land-system changes or altered biogechemical cycles – to prevent the world from overstepping critical planetary boundaries and to tackle global, long-run, and interconnected environmental risks, a comprehensive policy framework is needed. An international team of researchers now combines insights of natural and social sciences in a perspective piece just published in Nature Sustainability, one of the outlets of the leading scientific journal. They analyze guiding principles for such a policy design to keep Earth within biophysical limits favorable to human life. Among the authors are Earth System researcher Johan Rockström and climate economist Ottmar Edenhofer, who form the new joint - and interdisciplinary - leadership of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
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UN climate summit agrees on rulebook – yet more ambition is needed: PIK leaders at COP24 in „Heißzeit“ times

17.12.2018 - The Katowice UN climate summit’s results are “a relief” with regard to the agreed rulebook, according to the Directors of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). However, the close to 200 states at COP24 failed to scale up ambitions for greenhouse gas emission reductions, say Johan Rockström and Ottmar Edenhofer. Concrete measures are urgently needed though since governments are steering Earth into a “Heißzeit”. This “hot age” has been investigated in scientific publications from PIK leaders, including Director Emeritus John Schellnhuber. The term “Heißzeit” has now been elected “word of the year 2018” in Germany.
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Science to COP25: Must Knows for Climate Negotiators

06/12/2019 – The pace of contemporary rise in greenhouse gas concentrations is unprecedented in climate history over the past 66 million years and weather extremes are the “new normal,” according to some of the latest findings in climate science compiled in an easy-to-read guide for negotiators, policymakers, and media for the COP25 world climate summit. PIK Director Johan Rockström and colleagues from Future Earth and the Earth League today presented the “10 New Insights in Climate Science” report to UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa at the meeting in the Spanish capital Madrid.
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President of the Indian Academy of Sciences at PIK: EPICC builds on international cooperation

20.12.2018 - From the Indian Academy of Sciences, its president Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, senior professor of the Indian Jawaharlal Nehru University, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). His short research stay was aiming to strengthen international science cooperation with the PIK lead project EPICC, which aims to build up climate capacities also in India. He also invited the EPICC project to have its 2019 Indian workshop in the facilities of the Indian Academy of Sciences.
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Planetary Waves drive South America’s Monsoon rains

12/20/2018 - Monsoon rainfall in South America is to a large extent driven by huge airstreams high up in the atmosphere, a new study finds. Using innovative methods to explore teleconnections between different parts of the world, the scientists found evidence that the so-called Rossby waves – airstreams swinging from the tropics to Antarctica and back while circling the globe – are key for the variability in regional precipitation especially in parts of Brazil and Argentina. This has been assumed before but, to the knowledge of the authors, never been properly conceptualized and detected in actual data.
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Global warming didn’t pause - researchers disentangle “hiatus” confusion

19.12.2018 - The reality of ongoing climate warming might seem plainly obvious today, after the four warmest years on record and a summer of weather extremes in the whole northern hemisphere. A few years back however, some media and some experts were entangled in debates about an alleged pause in global warming – even though there never has been statistical evidence of any “hiatus”, as new research now confirms. In two recent studies, a group of international scientists joined forces to thoroughly disentangle any possible “hiatus” confusion, affirming that there was no evidence for a significant pause or even slowdown of global warming in the first place.
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Climate plan for Germany and Europe: Economists propose CO2 price reform

03.12.2018 - A few days ago the UN Environment Agency advocated an international green tax reform - now economists have presented a new concept for a CO2 price reform in Germany and Europe right before the start of the climate summit in Katowice, Poland. SPIEGEL magazine was reporting on this issue in advance this weekend. Christoph Schmidt, Chair of the German Council of Economic Experts from RWI Essen, Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, and Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), have jointly drafted the cornerstones for a market-based way out of coal. Climate-damaging CO2-emissions would need to become more expensive, while at the same time the electricity tax could be lowered. A socially just and efficient transition to a sustainable economy is possible, according to the professors, who both belong to the Leibniz Association. If, on the other hand, greenhouse gas emissions were not reduced, there would be the risk of economic climate damage of unprecedented proportions.
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Kira Vinke appointed co-chair of new Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention

14.12.2018 - Kira Vinke from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has been appointed to the new Advisory Council on Civilian Crisis Prevention and Peacebuilding of the German Federal Government. The new Advisory Board is composed of renowned experts from for instance academia, foundations and non-governmental organisations and comes together this week for the first time. The focus of the Advisory Board is to pool civil society and technical expertise on crisis prevention and peacebuilding and thus to inform the work of the Federal Ministries.
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Record-wet and record-dry months increased in regions worldwide: climate change drives rainfall extremes

12.12.2018 - More and more rainfall extremes are observed in regions around the globe – triggering both wet and dry records, a new study shows. Yet there are big differences between regions: The central and Eastern US, northern Europe and northern Asia have experienced heavy rainfall events that have led to severe floods in recent past. In contrast, most African regions have seen an increased frequency of months with a lack of rain. The study is the first to systematically analyze and quantify changes in record-breaking monthly rainfall events from all over the globe, based on data from roughly 50,000 weather stations worldwide. Climate change from fossil fuel greenhouse gases has long been expected to disturb rainfall patterns.
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Planetary Boundaries and Global Commons - managing risks and solutions

11.12.2018 - Weather extremes, food security, migration: people's livelihoods depend on climate stabilization. The joint side event of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) at the UN climate summit COP24 highlighted how a safe operating space for humanity within Planetary Boundaries and the sustainable use of Global Commons like the atmosphere are key concepts combining natural and social sciences to safeguard our future. Based on these fundamental concepts, sound options for managing risks and solutions were explored by the new joint PIK leadership Johan Rockström and Ottmar Edenhofer.
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Joint call for swift and just climate action: the Katowice Memorandum

10/12/2018 - Researchers, intellectuals and spiritual leaders jointly call for swift and just climate action. Together, they formulate the Katowice Memorandum at a symposium co-organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) during the 24th UN Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland.
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A Greentech Race towards Climate Stabilization: European Expert Group Publishes Landmark Innovation Report

28.11.2018 - Zero-carbon solutions, i.e. technologies and lifestyles completely free of fossil-fuel use, must be the foci of European investments into research and innovation. Conventional low-emission options have very limited potential to contribute in time to avoiding dangerous global warming, an independent group of eminent experts concludes. By way of contrast, ambitious innovation programs can kick-start a greentech race to the top, while boosting the competitiveness of the European economies and securing our prosperity. The “High-Level Panel on Decarbonization Pathways” report is published today, together with the European Commission Communication Strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emission reductions, in the run-up to the UN climate summit (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.
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Winter weather extremes in the US and Europe: messing with giant airstreams in the stratosphere

22/11/2018 - Over Thanksgiving, arctic air masses are predicted to bring record-cold temperatures and frigid winds to the Northeast of the United States. Driver for such winter weather extremes is often the stratospheric polar vortex, a band of fast moving winds 30 kilometers above the ground. In winter, when the polar vortex is disturbed by upward-blowing air masses, this can bring cold spells over Northeastern America or Eurasia, a new study now shows. And paradox as it might seem, climate change might further disrupt the complex dynamics in the atmosphere – bringing us not only more hot extremes in summer but potentially also cold spells in winter.
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