News

 

Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

03/24/2015 - The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been weaker than ever before in the last century, or even in the last millennium. The gradual but accelerating melting of the Greenland ice-sheet, caused by man-made global warming, is a possible major contributor to the slowdown. Further weakening could impact marine ecosystems and sea level as well as weather systems in the US and Europe.
Read More

Unprecedented early warning of El Niño succeeds

03/19/2015 - The current El Niño event has been predicted by an international team of scientists more than one year ago – earlier than ever before. This breakthrough in forecasting the most important phenomenon of natural climate variability has been enabled by novel approach of complex networks analysis of atmospheric temperature data from the Pacific. Such forecast can help farmers in Brazil, Australia or India to prepare and for instance seed the right crops. In an unusual move, the scientists had published their unprecedented early warning early on – fully aware of the reputational risks.
Read More

Global warming brings more snow to Antarctica

03/17/2015 - Although it sounds paradoxical, rising temperatures might result in more snowfall in Antarctica. Each degree of regional warming could increase snowfall on the ice continent by about 5 percent, an international team of scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research now quantified. Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, their work builds on high-quality ice-core data and fundamental laws of physics captured in global and regional climate model simulations. The results provide a missing link for future projections of Antarctica’s critical contribution to sea-level rise. However, the increase in snowfall will not save Antarctica from losing ice, since a lot of the added ice is transported out into the ocean by its own weight.
Read More

Summer storm weakening leads to more persistent heat extremes

03/12/2015 - Storm activity in large parts of the US, Europe and Russia significantly calmed down during summers over the past decades, but this is no good news. The weakening of strong winds associated with the jetstream and weather systems prolongs and hence intensifies heat extremes like the one in Russia in 2010 which caused devastating crop failures and wildfires. This is shown in a study to be published in the renowned journal Science by a team of researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. They link the findings to changes in the Arctic caused by man-made global warming.
Read More

Clean technology can partially make up for weak CO2 pricing

02/02/2015 - Clean technology support can to some extent make up for weak CO2 pricing and hence help keep the two degrees target within reach, a new study shows. Even if the world climate summit in Paris later this year is successful in striking a climate deal, it might not bring about sharp greenhouse-gas cuts in the near-term. However, emission targets could be strengthened by complementary policies, such as support for renewables, a ban on new coal-fired power plants, and an initially modest global minimum price on CO2. If such a policy package – each component of which has already been enacted in some countries – were to be put into practice globally now, this could also pave the way for a clean economy with faster long-term CO2 reductions after 2030.
Read More

Four of nine planetary boundaries now crossed

01/16/2015 - Four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity, says an international team of 18 researchers in the journal Science. The four are: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles. The scientists say that two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are “core boundaries” – significantly altering either of these would “drive the Earth System into a new state”. The team will present their findings in seven seminars at the World Economic Forum in Davos (21-25 January).
Read More

Causes and Consequences of Climate Change

Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, explains about causes and consequences of climate change and what can be done to combat it.
Read More

"China is turning the steering wheel"

11/12/2014 - The US and China announced an agreement on climate targets.
Read More

European Council debates 2030 framework for climate and energy policy

10/20/2014 - This week, the European Council will debate and likely decide its 2030 framework for climate and energy policy.
Read More

China's reported plans to introduce absolute carbon cap

06/05/2014 - Today, media outlets have reported that China plans to introduce an absolute carbon cap. Yesterday, the US announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The EU is currently discussing its climate targets for 2030.
Read More

Science & Policy: Exploring Climate Solutions

The official presentation of the Working Group III contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on April 14, 2014 at TU Berlin.
Read More

LOOPS 2014 - Towards co-evolutionary modeling of global society-environment interactions

Closing the loop - Workshop: 16-18 February 2014, Chorin Monastery, Berlin, Germany
Read More

Reinhard Süring - Potsdam - Wissenschaft für die Zukunft

Die Filme der Jahreskampagne „Wissenschaft für die Zukunft" widmen sich historischen Wissenschaftlern, die einmal eng mit Potsdam verbunden waren. Reinhard Süring gilt als einer der bedeutendsten Meteorologen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Er war langjähriger Direktor des Meteorologischen Observatoriums auf dem Potsdamer Telegrafenberg. Seine Spezialgebiete waren die Wolken- und die Strahlungsforschung. Für weltweites Aufsehen sorgte auch seine Rekordballonfahrt im Jahr 1901, als Süring mit seinem Kollegen Berson in einem offenen Ballon bis auf über 10.500 Meter Höhe aufstieg.
Read More

Global Sustainability Summerschool 2013 in Potsdam

Forty young professionals and academics came together in July 2013 and have been deliberating about urban sustainability at the Global Sustainability Summer School (GSSS) hosted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS). Weaving throughout Potsdam on their bicycles, they have attended lectures, workshops, and discussions; met world renown experts; visited start-ups; and enjoyed many leisure activities showcasing the sights and tastes of Berlin and Brandenburg. 09/12/2013
Read More

Press conference Impacts World 2013

Webcast of media briefing with EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, UNEP Chief Scientist Joseph Alcamo, Rachel Kyte of the World Bank, Pavel Kabat of IIASA and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on May 27th 2013.
Read More

Climate Sensitivity - what is it and why is it important to know?

Andrey Ganopolski of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is one of the pioneers of constraining climate sensitivity from paleoclimatic data. He coauthored the recent Nature paper "Making sense of paleoclimate sensitivity", which concludes on the basis of many studies that the experience of past climate changes in Earth's history implies a warming of 2.2–4.8K per doubling of atmospheric CO2, which agrees with IPCC estimates.
Read More