Professor Stefan Rahmstorf

Head of Research Department
Rahmstorf

Stefan Rahmstorf is Co-Head of Research Department on Earth System Analysis of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of Physics of the Oceans at the University of Potsdam. 

A physicist and physical oceanographer by training, Stefan Rahmstorf's research focusses on paleoclimate, ocean circulation, sea level, extreme weather events and Earth System modeling.

After working at the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute and the Institute of Marine Science in Kiel, Stefan Rahmstorf joined PIK in 1996. He holds a professorship of Physics of the Oceans at the University of Potsdam since 2000. From 2004 to 2013 Stefan Rahmstorf advised the German government as a member of its Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).

He is not only an outstanding and highly cited scientist but also a sought-after science communicator and speaker, winning e.g. the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union in 2017. He co-founded the award-winning Realclimate and KlimaLounge blogs and is Europe’s climate scientist with the most Twitter followers (2020).

Department

Working Group

Curriculum Vitae

PDF document Short Bio — PDF document, 164 KB

Contact

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2688
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam

Twitter

Publications

ResearchID

Personal Assistant


+49-(0)331-288-2624

Blogs

Klimalounge | RealClimate

Stefan Rahmstorf is professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University and head of the Earth System Analysis department of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. He is a member of the Academia Europaea and served the German government from 2004-2013 in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). He was also one of the lead authors of the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC. In 2007 he became an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales and in 2010 a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. In 2017 Stefan Rahmstorf was the first scientist outside the US to be awarded the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union. He has published over 130 scientific papers (40 of which in the leading Nature and Science journals and PNAS) and co-authored four books. Available in English are Our Threatened Oceans and The Climate Crisis.

Positions

  • Since 2005: Head of Research Department 1 Earth System Analysis (RD1) at PIK
  • Since 2000: Full Professor of the Physics of the Oceans, University of Potsdam
  • Since 1996: Research scientist at PIK
  • 1991-1995: Research scientist at the Kiel Oceanographic Institute
  • 1991: Post-doctoral scientist at the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, Wellington (New Zealand)

 Education

  • 1998: Habilitation at Kiel University with a postdoctoral thesis on the Stability of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation
  • 1987-1990: PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) at Victoria University and the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, Wellington (New Zealand)
  • 1986-1987: Master’s Thesis at University of Konstanz on general relativistic hydrodynamics with the title Stability of Density Fluctuations in an Expanding Universe in Harmonic Coordinates (diploma in physics with highest marks)
  • 1983-1986: Physics studies (diploma) at Constance University
  • 1982-1983: Post-graduate study in oceanography, University College of North Wales / Bangor University (Wales)
  • 1980-1982: Physics studies (intermediate diploma) at Ulm and Constance universities

Major engagements and other professional roles (selection)

  • Strategic board member of the Office for Climate Education (OCE) (since 2018)
  • Scientific Advisory Board of National Geographic Germany (since 2012)
  • Editorial Board of the open-access-journal Environmental Research Letters (since 2006)
  • Member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU, 2004-2013)
  • NOAA panel on Abrupt Climate Change (2001-2008)
  • Lead author of AR4 (2004-2007) and contributing author to TAR (1999-2001) for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Sustainability Council of the state government of Baden-Württemberg (2002-2005)

Curriculum Vitae  (PDF)
Further Infos (Personal website of Stefan Rahmstorf)

Stefan Rahmstorf is an expert in ocean circulation, sea level, paleoclimate, extreme weather events and Earth system modelling. He is addressing the following main research questions:

  • What can we learn from natural climate changes in Earth's history?
  • How do climate change and ocean circulation interact in past and future?
  • How has sea level changed in the past, and how fast will it rise with further warming?
  • How are weather extremes changing, in particular linked to changes in ocean currents and the jet stream?

Selected Publications

Caesar, L., S. Rahmstorf, A. Robinson, G. Feulner and V. Saba (2018). Observed fingerprint of a weakening Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation. Nature 556: 191–196.

Mann, M. E., S. Rahmstorf, K. Kornhuber, B. A. Steinman, S. K. Miller, S. Petri and D. Coumou (2018). Projected changes in persistent extreme summer weather events: The role of quasi-resonant amplification. Science Advances 4(10): eaat3272.

Rahmstorf, S. and D. Coumou, 2011: Increase of extreme events in a warming world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA, 5pp. doi:10.1073/pnas.1101766108.

Rahmstorf, S., 2007: A semi-empirical approach to projecting future sea-level rise. Science, 315, 368-370.

Rahmstorf, S., 2002: Ocean circulation and climate during the past 120,000 years. Nature 419, 207-214.

All publications

Courses at Potsdam University since 2000:

  • ZEIT Wissen Preis “Mut zur Nachhaltigkeit” (2019)
  • Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union (2017)
  • Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2010)
  • Environmental Media Award by the German Environment Aid (2007) (UmweltMedienpreis der Deutschen Umwelthilfe e.V. (DUH))
  • Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales / Bangor University (2007)
  • McDonnell Foundation Centennial Fellowship Award - one Million $ (1999)
  • Royal Society Young Scientists Award (1990)
  • Doctoral Fellowship by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) for PhD studies in New Zealand (1987)

Selected interviews and articles

International articles (selected):

Opinion articles / blog posts:

Selected interviews (German):

Podcasts (selected):

TV / Videos (selected):

Further Infos (Personal website of Stefan Rahmstorf)