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SPECIAL: Schellnhuber presents "10 Must-Knows on Climate" at COP23

Photo Schellnhuber presents 10 Must-Knows on Climate at COP23 From accelerating sea-level rise and ocean acidification to increasing risks of extreme weather events and the "collision course" with Earth’s climatic tipping points - PIK director Schellnhuber presented "10 Must-Knows on Climate Change from Science" today at COP23 in Bonn, together with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Wendy Broadgate from Future Earth, and Johan Rockström from the Earth League. They addressed policymakers and the public to show that achieving the Paris Agreement is necessary and possible. "Some crucial climate-change facts tend to get lost in the noise of daily deliberations - even at an event such as the UN climate summit. So it is important to remind everyone of the very reason why ten thousands of people meet in Bonn: unprecedented risk to humanity due to global warming, as revealed by science", says PIK director Schellnhuber. Read more ...

Yearbook Ecology on global environment policy

Yearbook Ecology on global environment policy

09/01/2015 - From planetary boundaries to the impacts of a four-degree world to COP21 in Paris: experts take stock of international environment policies in the recently published Yearbook Ecology entitled: “Wanted: a global environment policy”. Among the authors are Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and other specialists from PIK.

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Snowball Earth: algae triggered cooling millions of years ago

Snowball Earth: algae triggered cooling millions of years ago

08/27/2015 - The advance of certain algae was probably one key contribution to an almost complete glaciation of the Earth millions of years ago. The consequent rise in emissions of organic cloud-condensation nuclei led to increased cloudiness. Thereby, they likely contributed crucially to the cooling of the climate, because clouds reduce solar radiation on the Earth´s surface. This was discovered by a team of scientists in a new study to be published today in the renowned journal Nature Geoscience.

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How network dynamics shape collaboration

How network dynamics shape collaboration

08/25/2015 - From the Earth System to the human brain, from families to Facebook – complex networks can be found everywhere around us. Describing the structure of socio-economic systems, the analysis of complex networks can improve our understanding of interactions and transformations within our society. A team of researchers now used this approach to explore the development of large coalitions in a network of acquaintances, when cooperation promises the highest economic or social advantages. For the first time, they focused on how social relations interact with this process. Published in the journal Scientific Reports of the renowned Nature group, their results show that full cooperation is most probable when the network adapts only slowly to new coalition structures. If the network adapts faster than new coalitions form, its fragmentation might prevent the formation of large-scale coalitions.

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Renowned climate scientists explain climate change

Renowned climate scientists explain climate change

08/18/2015 - In the run-up of the international climate negotiations in Paris, leading German climate scientists explain climate change and its impacts in an interdisciplinary Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). In five chapters with short video lectures, animations and pictures they depict the basics of climate science, climate impacts and the ensuing challenges for society. Everyone interested can now register, the course will start in November.

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Climate Impacts in Germany: Special Issue of the Meteorological Journal

Climate Impacts in Germany: Special Issue of the Meteorological Journal

08/18/2015 - The impacts of global warming in Germany until mid-century won´t be catastrophic, but serious – while other countries will be affected a lot more. In a now published special edition of the German Meteorological Journal, scientists from the environmental and social sciences shed a new light on the interactions between climate changes and economic sectors like agriculture, forestry, energy or water management as well as societal reactions in Germany.

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CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual

CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual

08/03/2015 - Greenhouse-gas emissions from human activities do not only cause rapid warming of the seas, but also ocean acidification at an unprecedented rate. Artificial carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere has been proposed to reduce both risks to marine life. A new study based on computer calculations now shows that this strategy would not work if applied too late. CDR cannot compensate for soaring business-as-usual emissions throughout the century and beyond, even if the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration would be restored to pre-industrial levels at some point in the future. This is due to the tremendous inertia of the ocean system. Thus, CDR cannot substitute timely emissions reductions, yet may play a role as a supporting actor in the climate drama.

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From power grids to heartbeat: Using mathematics to restore rhythm

From power grids to heartbeat: Using mathematics to restore rhythm

07/15/2015 - When a rhythm stalls, the effect can be fatal – in a power grid it can mean a blackout, and in the human heart even death. An international team of scientists has now developed a new approach for revoking these undesired quenching states. They use an advanced mathematical methodology, building on complex networks analysis, and demonstrate it in experiments with chemical reactions. This could one day help to stabilize the flow of electricity in power grids challenged by the variable input from renewable energy sources. Future research could apply it to other complex networks, including processes within body cells and even the human cardiovascular system.

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