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2013

Climate change puts forty percent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity: study

Climate change puts forty percent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity: study

12/16/2013 - Water scarcity impacts people’s lives in many countries already today. Future population growth will increase the demand for freshwater even further. Yet in addition to this, on the supply side, water resources will be affected by projected changes in rainfall and evaporation. Climate change due to unabated greenhouse-gas emissions within our century is likely to put 40 percent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity than would be without climate change, a new study shows by using an unprecedented number of impact models. The analysis is to be published in a special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that assembles first results of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), a unique community-driven effort to bring research on climate change impacts to a new level.

Climate change puts forty percent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity: study - Read More…

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors

12/16/2013 - A pioneering collaboration within the international scientific community has provided comprehensive projections of climate change effects, ranging from water scarcity to risks to crop yields. This interdisciplinary effort, employing extensive model inter-comparisons, allows research gaps to be identified, whilst producing the most robust possible findings. The results provide crucial insights for decision-making regarding mitigation efforts in the face of potential impact cascades. The analyses are to be published in a special feature of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that assembles the first results of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), which aims at bringing research on climate impacts onto a new level.

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors - Read More…

Networks in the climate system: novel approach by young scientist awarded

Networks in the climate system: novel approach by young scientist awarded

12/10/2013 - For his pioneering research on complex networks in our climate system a young scientist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) received a prestigious prize. He was awarded by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) at a meeting in San Francisco attended by more than 22,000 earth and space scientists this week. By applying mathematical analysis to, for instance, data from drills in the deep-sea, he detected how shifts in African climate some million years ago influenced the fate of modern man’s ancestors.

Networks in the climate system: novel approach by young scientist awarded - Read More…

Expert assessment: Sea-level rise could exceed one meter in this century

Expert assessment: Sea-level rise could exceed one meter in this century

11/22/2013 - Sea-level rise in this century is likely to be 70-120 centimeters by 2100 if greenhouse-gas emissions are not mitigated, a broad assessment of the most active scientific publishers on that topic has revealed. The 90 experts participating in the survey anticipate a median sea-level rise of 200-300 centimeters by the year 2300 for a scenario with unmitigated emissions. In contrast, for a scenario with strong emissions reductions, experts expect a sea-level rise of 40-60 centimeters by 2100 and 60-100 centimeters by 2300. The survey was conducted by a team of scientists from the USA and Germany.

Expert assessment: Sea-level rise could exceed one meter in this century - Read More…

Success of climate talks vital for 2°C target

Success of climate talks vital for 2°C target

11/15/2013 - Achieving a global climate agreement soon could be crucial for the objective to keep global mean temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. The challenges of meeting the long-term target will otherwise increase drastically both in terms of the required emissions reductions and economic impacts. This is shown by the first comprehensive multi-model-based assessment of so-called Durban Platform scenarios, conducted by a team of international scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) in Italy. The Durban Platform is the current negotiation track at the Warsaw climate talks that aims to reach a global climate agreement by 2015 to come into effect in 2020.

Success of climate talks vital for 2°C target - Read More…

Emissions pricing revenues could overcompensate profit losses of fossil fuel owners

Emissions pricing revenues could overcompensate profit losses of fossil fuel owners

11/05/2013 - Revenues from global carbon emission pricing could exceed the losses fossil fuel owners suffer from this policy. Stabilizing global warming at around 2 degrees Celsius by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels would mean to leave much of coal, gas and oil unused underground. Yet the instrument of pricing global CO2 emissions could generate a revenue of 32 trillion US dollars over the 21st century, exceeding by far the 12 trillion US dollars reduction of fossil fuel owners’ profits, according to a study now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The analysis of the interference of CO2 emission pricing with fossil fuel markets adds key information to the debate on macro-economic effects of climate change mitigation.

Emissions pricing revenues could overcompensate profit losses of fossil fuel owners - Read More…

More than 500 million people might face increasing water scarcity

More than 500 million people might face increasing water scarcity

10/08/2013 - Both freshwater availability for many millions of people and the stability of ecosystems such as the Siberian tundra or Indian grasslands are put at risk by climate change. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, 500 million people could be subject to increased water scarcity – while this number would grow by a further 50 percent if greenhouse-gas emissions are not cut soon. At 5 degrees global warming almost all ice-free land might be affected by ecosystem change. This is shown by complementary studies now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

More than 500 million people might face increasing water scarcity - Read More…

Delaying climate policy would triple short-term mitigation costs

Delaying climate policy would triple short-term mitigation costs

12/09/2013 - Further delay in the implementation of comprehensive international climate policies could substantially increase the short-term costs of climate change mitigation. Global economic growth would be cut back by up to 7 percent within the first decade after climate policy implementation if the current international stalemate is continued until 2030 -- compared to 2 percent if a climate agreement is reached by 2015 already, a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. Higher costs would in turn increase the threshold for decision-makers to start the transition to a low-carbon economy. Thus, to keep climate targets within reach it seems to be most relevant to not further postpone mitigation, the researchers conclude.

Delaying climate policy would triple short-term mitigation costs - Read More…

Multifold increase in heat extremes by 2040

Multifold increase in heat extremes by 2040

08/15/2013 - Extremes such as the severe heat wave last year in the US or the one 2010 in Russia are likely to be seen much more often in the near future. A few decades ago, they were practically absent. Today, due to man-made climate change monthly heat extremes in summer are already observed on 5 percent of the land area. This is projected to double by 2020 and quadruple by 2040, according to a study by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). A further increase of heat extremes in the second half of our century could be stopped if global greenhouse-gas emissions would be reduced substantially.

Multifold increase in heat extremes by 2040 - Read More…

Policy advice for EU decision makers: Edenhofer chairs new Energy Platform

Policy advice for EU decision makers: Edenhofer chairs new Energy Platform

07/17/2013 - Ottmar Edenhofer, Deputy Director and Chief Economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), is co-chairing a new Energy Platform by the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering (Euro-CASE), an non-profit organisation of national academies from 21 European countries. Bringing together the combined expertise of the academies, the Euro-CASE Energy Platform will provide independent science based policy advice with a focus on a European perspective for policymakers like the Directorate-General for Climate Action which implements the EU Emissions Trading System or the EU Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger.

Policy advice for EU decision makers: Edenhofer chairs new Energy Platform - Read More…

Each degree of global warming might ultimately raise global sea levels by more than 2 meters

Each degree of global warming might ultimately raise global sea levels by more than 2 meters

07/15/2013 - Greenhouse gases emitted today will cause sea level to rise for centuries to come. Each degree of global warming is likely to raise sea level by more than 2 meters in the future, a study now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows. While thermal expansion of the ocean and melting mountain glaciers are the most important factors causing sea-level change today, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will be the dominant contributors within the next two millennia, according to the findings. Half of that rise might come from ice-loss in Antarctica which is currently contributing less than 10 percent to global sea-level rise.

Each degree of global warming might ultimately raise global sea levels by more than 2 meters - Read More…

Breakthrough in El Niño-Forecasting

Breakthrough in El Niño-Forecasting

07/02/13 - Irregular warming of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, dubbed El Niño by Peruvian fishermen, can generate devastating impacts. Being the most important phenomenon of contemporary natural climate variability, it may trigger floods in Latin America, droughts in Australia, and harvest failures in India. In order to extend forecasting from 6 months to one year or even more, scientists have now proposed a novel approach based on advanced connectivity analysis applied to the climate system. The scheme builds on high-quality data of air temperatures and clearly outperforms existing methods. The study will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Breakthrough in El Niño-Forecasting - Read More…

Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors

Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors

07/02/2013 - One out of ten people on Earth is likely to live in a climate impact hotspot by the end of this century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Many more are put at risk in a worst-case scenario of the combined impacts on crop yields, water availability, ecosystems, and health, according to a study now published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It identifies the Amazon region, the Mediterranean and East Africa as regions that might experience severe change in multiple sectors. The article is part of the outcome of the Intersectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) that will be featured in a special issue of PNAS later this year.

Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors - Read More…

Global Sustainability Summer School 2013: The cities of the future

Global Sustainability Summer School 2013: The cities of the future

07/01/2013 - What do the cities of the future look like? What role do they play for global climate change? What influence does the German energy transformation have worldwide? These questions are in the centre of the 2nd Global Sustainability Summer School on “COMPLEX(C)ITY – Urbanization and energy transition in a changing climate“ taking place from 1 to 12 July, sponsored by the Robert Bosch Foundation and jointly organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS). Junior scientists, well-known climate researchers and experts for urban development from all over the world – from Brazil to India, from Ghana to Mongolia –will meet in Potsdam for this purpose.

Global Sustainability Summer School 2013: The cities of the future - Read More…

Ups-and-downs of Indian monsoon rainfall likely to increase under warming

Ups-and-downs of Indian monsoon rainfall likely to increase under warming

06/20/2013 - Day-to-day rainfall in India might become much more variable due to climate change – potentially putting millions of poor farmers and the country’s agricultural productivity at risk. The Indian monsoon is a complex system which is likely to change under future global warming. While it is in the very nature of weather to vary, the question is how much and whether we can deal with it. Extreme rainfall, for example, bears the risk of flooding, and crop failure. Computer simulations with a comprehensive set of 20 state-of-the-art climate models now consistently show that Indian monsoon daily variability might increase, according to a study just published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Ups-and-downs of Indian monsoon rainfall likely to increase under warming - Read More…

Identifying hotspots: Climate Impacts World Conference

Identifying hotspots: Climate Impacts World Conference

05/30/2013 - Researchers identified a number of hotspots both of global climate change impacts and the science that deals with them. New analyses presented at the Impacts World 2013 Conference this week in Potsdam, Germany, revealed that the Amazon region, east Africa and the Mediterranean will experience serious change if greenhouse-gas emissions continue unabated. More than 300 scientists and stakeholders from 40 countries spent four days discussing the path forward for research on the impacts of climate change – one key outcome is the joining of forces between impacts researchers with economists to assess possible future loss and damage.

Identifying hotspots: Climate Impacts World Conference - Read More…

First World Conference on Climate Impacts: Painting the Big Picture

First World Conference on Climate Impacts: Painting the Big Picture

05/27/2013 - Droughts, floods, crop failures, invading species and diseases – climate change impacts of today and tomorrow come with a raft of buzz words. But the science behind our understanding of the potential consequences of global warming is both much broader and much more fragmented.

First World Conference on Climate Impacts: Painting the Big Picture - Read More…

From Potsdam to Pakistan: Confronting vulnerability by building national climate research capacities

From Potsdam to Pakistan: Confronting vulnerability by building national climate research capacities

05/24/2013 - Pakistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change – risks range from the disastrous 2010 floodings that acted as a wake-up call to retreating glaciers impacting freshwater supply. To confront this challenge, the new Centre for Climate Research & Development (CCRD) took up its work this month – a substantial effort to build up indigenous scientific capacities in a place where substantial climate change impacts are actually happening. The centre has been developed in very close cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). A five-year-agreement envisages joint research projects and the exchange of scientists.

From Potsdam to Pakistan: Confronting vulnerability by building national climate research capacities - Read More…

Edenhofer to advise „Energiewende Research Forum”

Edenhofer to advise „Energiewende Research Forum”

05/06/2013 - Science is an important partner in implementing the German energy transition. Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist and research domain co-chair of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), has been asked to join the working group on economics of the “Energiewende Research Forum”, whose job is to provide scientific advice for political measures to realize the energy transition. The interdisciplinary initiative was sparked by the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities.

Edenhofer to advise „Energiewende Research Forum” - Read More…

CO2 removal can lower costs of climate protection

CO2 removal can lower costs of climate protection

04/12/2013 - Directly removing CO2 from the air has the potential to alter the costs of climate change mitigation. It could allow prolonging greenhouse-gas emissions from sectors like transport that are difficult, thus expensive, to turn away from using fossil fuels. And it may help to constrain the financial burden on future generations, a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shows. It focuses on the use of biomass for energy generation, combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS). According to the analysis, carbon dioxide removal could be used under certain requirements to alleviate the most costly components of mitigation, but it would not replace the bulk of actual emissions reductions.

CO2 removal can lower costs of climate protection - Read More…

The renowned Lewis Fry Richardson Medal is awarded to Jürgen Kurths

The renowned Lewis Fry Richardson Medal is awarded to Jürgen Kurths

04/09/2013 - Jürgen Kurths is awarded the Lewis Fry Richardson Medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) that honours outstanding achievements in nonlinear geosciences. The renowned prize will be given to him this week at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna that brings together more than 10.000 scientists from all disciplines from earth to space sciences. Kurths is head of the research domain "Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods" at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Professor at Humboldt University of Berlin.

The renowned Lewis Fry Richardson Medal is awarded to Jürgen Kurths - Read More…

Researchers support Berlin on its way to climate neutrality

Researchers support Berlin on its way to climate neutrality

04/02/2013 - Berlin aims to be climate neutral in the year 2050 – how this goal can be reached is to be shown by a team of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), on behalf of the Berlin Senate. “Europe and the whole world is monitoring the Berlin metropolis,” PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says. "If the German capital is pioneering in climate protection, this is a contribution to maintain the two-degrees-limit in regard to global warming – to achieve this, states have to act as well as bold local authorities." The Berlin Senator for Urban Development and the Environment, Michael Müller, highlights the significance of this feasibility study: "Berlin has to be a highly energy-efficient and modern city and make use of its opportunities for innovation and investments! This is not only to contribute to the energy transition in Germany. We want to live up to our responsibility for the future and lead by example."

Researchers support Berlin on its way to climate neutrality - Read More…

Weather extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in the atmosphere

Weather extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in the atmosphere

02/25/2013 - The world has suffered from severe regional weather extremes in recent years, such as the heat wave in the United States in 2011 or the one in Russia 2010 coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood. Behind these devastating individual events there is a common physical cause, propose scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The study will be published this week in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and suggests that man-made climate change repeatedly disturbs the patterns of atmospheric flow around the globe's Northern hemisphere through a subtle resonance mechanism.

Weather extremes provoked by trapping of giant waves in the atmosphere - Read More…

Climate scientist Schellnhuber to brief UN Security Council

Climate scientist Schellnhuber to brief UN Security Council

02/15/2013 - As climate change starts being recognized as a security issue on the highest international levels, Pakistan and the United Kingdom have asked Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) to speak at an in-depth discussion event for the UN Security Council members. The meeting aims at addressing “potential threats posed by possible adverse effects of climate change to the maintenance of international peace and security”. It will take place on February 15th at the UN headquarters in New York City. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to attend.

Climate scientist Schellnhuber to brief UN Security Council - Read More…

Global warming has increased monthly heat records by a factor of five

Global warming has increased monthly heat records by a factor of five

01/14/2013 - Monthly temperature extremes have become much more frequent, as measurements from around the world indicate. On average, there are now five times as many record-breaking hot months worldwide than could be expected without long-term global warming, shows a study now published in Climatic Change. In parts of Europe, Africa and southern Asia the number of monthly records has increased even by a factor of ten. 80 percent of observed monthly records would not have occurred without human influence on climate, concludes the authors-team of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Complutense University of Madrid.

Global warming has increased monthly heat records by a factor of five - Read More…

From the Amazon rainforest to human body cells: quantifying stability

From the Amazon rainforest to human body cells: quantifying stability

01/07/2013 - The Amazon rainforest, energy grids, and cells in the human body share a troublesome property: they possess multiple stable states. When the world’s largest tropical forest suddenly starts retreating in a warming climate, energy supply blacks out, or cells turn carcinogenic, complex-systems science understands this as a transition between two such states. These transitions are obviously unwanted. As they typically result from severe external perturbations, it is of vital interest how stable the most desirable state is. Surprisingly, this basic question has so far received little attention. Now scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), in a paper published in Nature Physics, propose a new concept for quantifying stability.

From the Amazon rainforest to human body cells: quantifying stability - Read More…

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