Press Release

Rainy days harm the economy

12/01/2022 - Economic growth goes down when the number of wet days and days with extreme rainfall go up, a team of Potsdam scientists finds. Rich countries are most severely affected and herein the manufacturing and service sectors, according to their study now published as cover story in the renowned science journal Nature. The data analysis of more than 1.500 regions over the past 40 years shows a clear connection and suggests that intensified daily rainfall driven by climate-change from burning oil and coal will harm the global economy.
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Press Release

Too dry, too hot, or too wet: Increasing Weather Persistence in European Summer

12/06/2021 - Global warming makes long lasting weather situations in the Northern hemisphere‘s summer months more likely – which in turn leads to more extreme weather events, a novel analysis of atmospheric images and data finds. These events include heatwaves, droughts, intense rainy periods. Especially in Europe, but also in Russia, persistent weather patterns have increased in number and intensity over the last decades with weather extremes occurring simultaneously at different locations.
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Press Release

High impact climate events: Better adaptation through earlier prediction

11/16/2021 - The prediction of high impact climate phenomena can be substantially improved by a new mathematical approach that analyses the connectivity and patterns between geographical locations, scientists say in a new publication. This can potentially save thousands of lives and avoid billions in economic losses. Prediction times for events like El Niño, monsoons, droughts or extreme rainfall could be increased substantially, to a month or in some cases even a year in advance, depending on the type of the event. The new framework can thus become key for improving adaptation to the global warming crisis.
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Press Release

The Ripple Factor: Economic losses from weather extremes can amplify each other across the world

27/10/2021 - Weather extremes can cause economic ripples along our supply chains. If they occur at roughly the same time the ripples start interacting and can amplify even if they occur at completely different places around the world, a new study shows. The resulting economic losses are greater than the sum of the initial events, the researchers find in computer simulations of the global economic network. Rich economies are affected much stronger than poor ones, according to the calculations. Currently, weather extremes around the world are increasing due to greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. If they happen simultaneously or in quick succession even at different places on the planet, their economic repercussions can become much bigger than previously thought.
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News

Hotter, wetter, drier: the science behind extreme weather events

10/22/2021 - Extreme weather events are on the rise. Are these events connected? Are they becoming more likely with global warming? In the new episode of the podcast ‘Sustain Ability. The Potsdam Dialogues - Science for a Safe Tomorrow’, experts Friederike Otto and Stefan Rahmstorf give insight into their latest research.
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Press Release

Unprecedented rise of heat and rainfall extremes in observational data

10/7/2021 - A 90-fold increase in the frequency of monthly heat extremes in the past ten years compared to 1951-1980 has been found by scientists in observation data. Their analysis reveals that so-called 3-sigma heat events, which deviate strongly from what is normal in a given region, now on average affect about 9 percent of all land area at any time. Record daily rainfall events also increased in a non-linear way – on average, 1 in 4 rainfall records in the last decade can be attributed to climate change. Already today, extreme events linked to human-caused climate change are at unprecedented levels, the scientists say, and they must be expected to increase further.
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Press Release

Reducing tropical cyclone impacts: The double benefit of climate protection through both limiting and delaying global warming

09/27/2021 - Increasing global warming from currently one to two degrees Celsius by mid-century might lead to about 25 percent more people put at risk by tropical cyclones, a new study finds. Already today, hurricanes and typhoons are among the most destructive natural disasters worldwide and potentially threaten about 150 million people each year. Adding to climate change, population growth further drives tropical cyclone exposure, especially in coastal areas of East African countries and the United States. Considering the joint impact of climate change and population growth provides an untapped potential to protect a changing world population.
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Press Release

Today’s children to experience two to seven times more extremes than their grandparents

09/27/2021 - Today’s children will be hit much harder by climate extremes than today’s adults, researchers show in the leading journal Science. During their lifetime, a child born in 2021 will experience on average twice as many wildfires, between two and three times more droughts, almost three times more river floods and crop failures, and seven times more heatwaves compared to a person who’s for instance 60 years old today, the researchers find based on data from the Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP). This is under a scenario of current greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges by governments which will be a topic at the upcoming world climate summit COP26 in Glasgow.
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News

PIK expertise on extreme rainfall and flooding

07/16/2021 - The heavy rains and thunderstorms in parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate during the past days have led to massive flooding of villages and entire areas. Meanwhile, towards the rivers Oder and Neiße, extreme heat prevailed at more than 30 degrees Celsius. Where these extraordinary weather conditions stem from and their connection with climate change, many national and international media wanted to know from PIK researchers. Here is a small excerpt from the coverage.
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News

Winter weather, a polar front – and areas of drought: PIK's assessment of the current weather situation.

02/12/2021 - In January and February of 2021, parts of Europe, America and also Germany have experienced partly extreme winter weather. Nevertheless, there are widespread large areas of drought especially in Germany - PIK researchers Stephan Rahmstorf and Fred Hattermann on current climate-related weather changes.
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Press Release

Erratic weather slows down the economy

02/08/2021 - If temperature varies strongly from day to day, the economy grows less. Through these seemingly small variations climate change may have strong effects on economic growth. This shows data analyzed by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Columbia University and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). In a new study in Nature Climate Change, they juxtapose observed daily temperature changes with economic data from more than 1,500 regions worldwide over 40 years – with startling results.
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News

Deeper cooperation between PIK and BMZ

01/20/2021 - During today's kick-off event of the "Berlin Insights Series on Climate Change and Development", Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and State Secretary Martin Jäger from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which marks the beginning of a deeper cooperation between PIK and BMZ.
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Statement

"This is not about one year, it is about the trend": Rockström on record warm 2020

01/08/2021 - Today, the EU Copernicus Climate Change Service informs that 2020 is the warmest year on record for Europe - globally, 2020 ties with 2016 for warmest year recorded. On this issue, Earth system scientist Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:
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Press Release

Indian monsoon can be predicted better after volcanic eruptions

09/18/2020 - Large volcanic eruptions can help to forecast the monsoon over India – the seasonal rainfall that is key for the country’s agriculture and thus for feeding one billion people. As erratic as they are, volcanic eruptions improve the predictability, an Indian-German research team finds. What seems to be a paradox is in fact due to a stronger coupling between the monsoon over large parts of South and South-East Asia and the El Niño phenomenon after an eruption. Combining data from meteorological observations, climate records, computer model simulations, and geological archives such as tree-rings, corals and ice-cores from past millennia of Earth history, the researchers found that a synchronization of the monsoon with the strongest mode of natural climate variability, the El Niño, makes it easier to anticipate the strength of seasonal rainfall in the Indian subcontinent.
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News

Cold Summers, Shrinking Monsoon Season: How Record Artic Warming is Changing the Climate All Over the World

Arctic warming may be one of the reasons India´s monsoon season will be shorter this year – the early withdrawal in the beginning of October was predicted by a unique forecasting method by Elena Surovyatkina from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
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The Sustainability Dialogues Podcast

05/06/2020 - What happens when a professional snowboarder and a distinguished climate scientist take off to the mountains together? The results are now public – a podcast with five episodes, covering topics from ice and glaciers to what to eat to save the world.
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Delayed monsoon onset in Central India: early warning forecast

12/05/2020 - Summer Monsoon in Central India will likely begin between 18th and 26 of June, according to the new early forecast developed at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Led by PIK expert Elena Surovyatkina, the Monsoon forecast method showed to be successful already four years in a row. With global warming the monsoon is changing, breaking well-established “rules” of the phenomenon and thus becoming more unpredictable. A raising demand for a new understanding of the Indian Monsoon in order to be better prepared makes long-term forecasting even more important.
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Climate disasters increase risks of armed conflicts: new evidence

02/04/2020 - The risk for violent clashes increases after weather extremes such as droughts or floods hit people in vulnerable countries, an international team of scientists finds. Vulnerable countries are characterized by a large population, political exclusion of particular ethnic groups, and low development. The study combines global statistical analysis, observation data and regional case study assessments to yield new evidence for policy-makers.
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Climate costs smallest if warming is limited to 2°C

27/01/2020 - Climate costs are likely smallest if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius. The politically negotiated Paris Agreement is thus also the economically sensible one, Potsdam researchers find in a new study. Using computer simulations of a model by US Nobel Laureate William Nordhaus, they weight climate damages from, for instance, increasing weather extremes or decreasing labour productivity against the costs of cutting greenhouse gas emission by phasing out coal and oil. Interestingly, the economically most cost-efficient level of global warming turns out to be the one more than 190 nations signed as the Paris Climate Agreement. So far however, CO2 reductions promised by nations worldwide are insufficient to reach this goal.
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Australian bush fires: "What is happening in the southeast of Australia right now is breaking all records"

10/01/2020 - Australia is burning. In a statement, Kirsten Thonicke, expert for fire ecology and forests at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), explains the causes and how the devastating fires are related to man-made climate change.
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Global food production at risk of simultaneous heat waves across breadbasket regions

09/12/2019 - Certain patterns in the jet stream encircling the Earth can bring simultaneous heatwaves to breadbasket regions responsible for up to a quarter of global food production. Particularly susceptible are Western North America, Western Europe, Western Russia and Ukraine. Extreme weather events of such extent can significantly harm food production and thus make prices soar. In recent years, major food price spikes were associated with social unrest.
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Lancet Countdown: Forschungsbericht zu Klimawandel und Gesundheit

14.11.2019 - Bis zum Ende dieses Jahrhunderts sind jährlich bis zu fünf zusätzliche Hitzewellen in Norddeutschland und bis zu 30 in Süddeutschland zu erwarten, wenn wir mit dem Ausstoß von Treibhausgasen so weitermachen wie bisher. Damit einhergehender Hitzestress und hohe bodennahe Ozonkonzentrationen können schwerwiegende Folgen für die menschliche Gesundheit haben. Dazu zählen unter anderem Hitzschlag, Herzinfarkt und akutes Nierenversagen aufgrund von Flüssigkeitsmangel. Am stärksten gefährdet sind ältere Menschen, Säuglinge, Patienten mit chronischen Erkrankungen sowie Personen, die schwere körperliche Arbeit im Freien verrichten, etwa Bauarbeiter.
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Early warning: Physicists from Giessen, Potsdam and Tel Aviv forecast "El Niño" for 2020

04/11/2019 -The serious weather phenomenon "El Niño" could soon occur again in the Pacific region. Researchers at Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, find that there will probably be another "El Niño" by the end of 2020. The prediction models commonly used do not yet see any signs of this.
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"Heat waves are on the rise": PIK statement

24/06/2019 - Germany likely faces a heat wave this week. In which way is this releated to human-caused climate change?
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Summer extremes of 2018 linked to stalled giant waves in jet stream

29/04/2019 - Record breaking heatwaves and droughts in North America and Western Europe, torrential rainfalls and floods in South-East Europe and Japan - the summer of 2018 brought a series of extreme weather events that occurred almost simultaneously around the Northern Hemisphere in June and July. These extremes had something in common, a new study by an international team of climate researchers now finds: the events were connected by a newly identified pattern of the jet stream encircling the Earth. The jet stream formed a stalled wave pattern in the atmosphere which made weather conditions more persistent and thus extreme in the affected regions. The same pattern also occurred during European heat waves in 2015, 2006 and 2003, which rank among the most extreme heatwaves ever recorded. In recent years, the scientists observed a clear increase of these patterns.
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German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina presents "clean air" statement

09/04/2019 - The National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has published a statement on "Clean Air - Nitrogen Oxides and Respirable Particulate Matter” calling for a federal strategy on clean air and a sustainable transport transition. Member of the interdisciplinary Leopoldina expert group and one of the authors of the statement is PIK director Ottmar Edenhofer.
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More CO2 than ever before in 3 million years, shows unprecedented computer simulation

03/04/2019 - CO2 greenhouse gas amounts in the atmosphere are likely higher today than ever before in the past 3 million years. For the first time, a team of scientists succeeded to do a computer simulation that fits ocean floor sediment data of climate evolution over this period of time. Ice age onset, hence the start of the glacial cycles from cold to warm and back, the study reveals, was mainly triggered by a decrease of CO2-levels. Yet today, it is the increase of greenhouse gases due to the burning of fossil fuels that is fundamentally changing our planet, the analysis further confirms. Global mean temperatures never exceeded the preindustrial levels by more than 2 degrees Celsius in the past 3 million years, the study shows – while current climate policy inaction, if continued, would exceed the 2 degrees limit already in the next 50 years.
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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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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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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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