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SPECIAL: What saved the West Antarctic Ice Sheet 10,000 years ago will not save it today

 Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning
The retreat of the West Antarctic ice masses after the last Ice Age was reversed surprisingly about 10,000 years ago, scientists found. This is in stark contrast to previous assumptions. In fact, it was the shrinking itself that stopped the shrinking: relieved from the weight of the ice, the Earth crust lifted and triggered the re-advance of the ice sheet. However, this mechanism is much too slow to prevent dangerous sea-level rise caused by West Antarctica’s ice-loss in the present and near future. Only rapid greenhouse-gas emission reductions can. Read more...

Extreme weather events linked to stalling of planetary waves

Extreme weather events linked to stalling of planetary waves

06/11/2016 - Many extreme weather events in the Northern hemisphere have recently been accompanied by a stalling of huge airstreams high up in the atmosphere that normally circle our planet, taking the form of gigantic waves swinging up and down between the Tropics and the Arctic. Looking into the events of the summers three and four years ago, a new study by a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research finds that in fact a majority of extremes go with observed disturbances of the so-called planetary waves, adding evidence to the assumption that this connection might be of key importance.

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Energy independence policies will not save the climate

Energy independence policies will not save the climate

06/10/2016 - Reducing energy imports and mitigating climate change are often portrayed as complementary. However, new research published in the journal Nature Energy shows that while ambitious climate policies would lower energy imports, energy independence would not bring significant climate benefits. Co-benefits of climate policies are of key importance for decision-makers choices, the authors highlight.

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Globalization made economic production more vulnerable to climate change

Globalization made economic production more vulnerable to climate change

06/10/2016 - The susceptibility of the global economic network to workers' heat-stress has doubled in the last decade, a new study published in the journal Science Advances finds. The analysis by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Columbia University shows for the first time how enhanced connectivity of the global network of supply can amplify production losses, as these losses can be spread more easily across countries.

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Health, energy and extreme events in a changing climate

Health, energy and extreme events in a changing climate

06/07/2016 - Floods, droughts, blackouts of power networks – the potential for risks that can be linked directly or indirectly to public health grows with a changing climate. In a now published special issue of the European Physical Journal, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and other institutions analyze the complex interactions of public health, energy production and climate change. They shed light on the linkages, and also present new methods how these interrelations of different sectors can be further examined.

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“The world in 2050”: Mercator Climate Lecture with economists Sachs and Edenhofer

“The world in 2050”: Mercator Climate Lecture with economists Sachs and Edenhofer

06/01/2016 – More than 1000 people attended the 2016 Mercator Climate Lecture "The World in 2050 - Towards Sustainable Development and Deep Decarbonization" in Berlin on Wednesday. Top US-economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor on Sustainable Development for the United Nations, gave a much-applauded keynote. This was followed by an intense discussion with Ottmar Edenhofer, Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor at Technische Universität (TU) Berlin. The lecture is a joint project by Stiftung Mercator, Technische Universität Berlin, and PIK. The spectators in the Auditorium Maximum - in fact a mix of students and experts from business, politics, NGO and science – was joined by a worldwide audience following the event via livestream.

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Migration in the age of climate change

Migration in the age of climate change

05/20/2016 - Migration is currently a no 1 issue in Germany as well as Europe – but what will future migration look like globally, in the age of climate risks? Where is environmental migration happening already today, and what can we learn from it? The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) teamed up with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) - the biggest intergovernmental institution in the field - for a media briefing in Berlin. Migration is mostly driven by a multitude of factors – be it political, social, demographic, economic, or by security concerns - and almost never by a single cause. At the same time, global environmental change, and specifically climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, is an additional and potentially severe risk factor.

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Young scientists meet at PIK: What comes after a PhD?

Young scientists meet at PIK: What comes after a PhD?

Young scientist from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) discussed their working routines and career perspectives with regard to their doctorate. Once a year the “PhD-Day” offers the opportunity to meet up in the whole group of PhD candidates to share experiences, talk about research projects and train in science related skills. The focus of the current meeting was on possible career steps following the doctoral thesis.

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