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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...

Girls' Day: students learn about research careers

Girls' Day: students learn about research careers

On the occasion of this year’s Girls Day, 18 students from Berlin and Brandenburg visited the Potsdam-Insitute for Climate Impact Research. They were invited to get in touch with female scientists of the institute to learn more about career perspectives in research. The Girls’ Day was initiated in 2001 by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and offers the opportunity to girls between 12 and 16 to explore career prospects in technical and scientific branches.

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German government appoints Wolfgang Lucht to advisory council

German government appoints Wolfgang Lucht to advisory council

04/29/2016 - The Federal Goverment of Germany this week appointed Wolfgang Lucht from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to its Advisory Council on the Environment (Sachverständigenrat Umweltfragen, SRU). The Berlin-based board consists of seven renowned scientists. It is mandated by the government to give policy recommendations as well as issue comprehensive reports, with a focus on Germany. The new members of the body will start their four-year term in July.

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2°C or 1,5°C: Why half a degree matters

2°C or 1,5°C: Why half a degree matters

27.04.2016 - Climate change impacts differ substantially for the two temperature limits included in the Paris agreement, a team of European researchers found. Published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, the analysis considers 11 different indicators including extreme weather events, water availability, crop yields, coral reef degradation and sea-level rise for a global warming of 1,5°C and 2°C by the end of the century. The additional half degree would mean a 10-cm-higher global sea-level rise by 2100, longer heat waves, and would result in virtually all tropical coral reefs being at risk, the researchers found.

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Schellnhuber honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize

Schellnhuber honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize

04/28/2016 - Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is honoured with the Enercity Energy Efficiency Prize for North Germany for his outstanding scientific achievements. The award of the Public Utilities Hannover highlights pioneering projects and activities that foster a responsible dealing with energy. The laureates in three categories are being chosen by a twelve-person jury from the energy sector, science and business. The Mayor of Hannover, Stefan Schostok, handed the prize to Schellnhuber, director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in appreciation of his lifework.

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"Humanity on the move": Scientific Advisory Board hands report to German Government

"Humanity on the move": Scientific Advisory Board hands report to German Government

04/25/2016 - More than 2-3 billion people worldwide will move from the country to the cities within the next few decades, doubling the population of the world's slums. It will be the biggest migration of our time. The power of this urbanization surge will be the key driver of global change in the 21st century, reveals the report 'Humanity on the move – Unlocking the transformative power of cities'. It is handed to the German government today by the Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen, WBGU), co-chaired by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Cities are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of greenhouse-gas emissions – more than two thirds globally. At the same time, they are particularly hard hit by the consequences of global warming. Instead of ever greater densification, therefore, urban development should focus its attention more on the surrounding regions. Developing multiple medium-sized centres instead of a few rampantly expanding megacities increases humankind's resistance to crises and takes the pressure off local resources such as water and land.

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Indian monsoon: novel approach allows early forecasting

Indian monsoon: novel approach allows early forecasting

04/20/2016 - The Indian monsoon’s yearly onset and withdrawal can now be forecasted significantly earlier than previously possible. A team of scientists developed a novel prediction method based on a network analysis of regional weather data, and will propose this approach to the Indian Meteorological Department. The heavy summer rains are of vital importance for millions of farmers feeding the subcontinent’s population. Future climate change will likely affect monsoon stability and hence makes accurate forecasting even more relevant.

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"Below 2 degrees": Edenhofer in book on Paris Agreement

"Below 2 degrees": Edenhofer in book on Paris Agreement

04/18/2016 - National minimum prices for CO2 emissions combined with international climate finance could be a way to put the Paris Agreement into practice. This is a key message from Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Director of the Mercator Institute for Global Commons and Climate Change, in his contribution to the book "Below two degrees". The Anthology is assembling quite a number of prominent voices: from the President of the German Environment Agency to Members of Parliament, from NGO heads to the Director of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. This week, the new publication will be presented by the German Federal Environmental Foundation along with the Federal Environment Ministry's Secretary of State Jochen Flasbarth, who's also a co-author.

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