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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...

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity

12/11/2015 - A decrease in storm activity over large parts of the US, Europe, Russia, and China is found to influence weather extremes – cold ones in winter, hot or dry ones in summer. This is now shown in a study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The observed changes in storm activity are likely related to changes in other atmospheric dynamics like the jet stream – strong westerly winds circling the Northern hemisphere high up in the sky.

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity - Read More…

Nobel Laureates together with Schellnhuber meet French President

Nobel Laureates together with Schellnhuber meet French President

12/07/2015 - More than 70 recipients of the Nobel Prize urgently warn of the consequences of climate change. They support a declaration that has been handed over to the President of France François Hollande at the Élysée Palace in Paris today by the Physics Nobel Laureates Serge Haroche and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, together with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The nations of the world must take the opportunity at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris to take decisive action to limit future global emissions,” the Mainau Declaration on Climate Change states. It is an outcome of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Mainau Island in Lake Constance, Germany, in July.

Nobel Laureates together with Schellnhuber meet French President - Read More…

Potsdam meets China

Potsdam meets China

12/04/2015 - China is an important participant at the ongoing climate summit. It is one of the countries with the highest CO2 emissions and could be highly affected by changes in the climate system. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) collaborates on several levels with Chinese partners - Chinese delegations visit PIK regularly and PIK scientists travel to China.

Potsdam meets China - Read More…

Science to Paris: The Potsdam Institute at the UN climate summit COP21

Science to Paris: The Potsdam Institute at the UN climate summit COP21

12/01/2015 - Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) actively participate in the Paris “Conference of the Parties” COP21. Director John Schellnhuber for instance will speak at a side-event of the Vatican as well as at one with the EU Research, Science and Innovation Commissioner. Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist of PIK, talks at an event with the EU Finance Commissioner as well as meetings with representatives of the World Trade Organisation and the OECD – see below. Both Schellnhuber and Edenhofer will be present in Paris during all of the second week. Other leading scientists, including Anders Levermann, Elmar Kriegler or Ricarda Winkelmann, will also give talks and participate in side events and informal meetings.

Science to Paris: The Potsdam Institute at the UN climate summit COP21 - Read More…

How finance ministers could fall in love with carbon pricing

How finance ministers could fall in love with carbon pricing

11/27/2015 - Pricing CO2 could help to end the deadlock of international climate policy. Finance ministers around the world would have reason enough to favor carbon taxes or emissions trading even if they do not take into account the risks resulting from unabated greenhouse-gas emissions, a new study shows. While the outcome of the world climate summit in Paris is uncertain, national governments and their economies can profit from taxing CO2 instead of taxing capital or labour – irrespective of whether or not other countries cooperate.

How finance ministers could fall in love with carbon pricing - Read More…

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit

11/16/2015 - In the run-up of the much anticipated UN climate summit in Paris, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are involved in an unprecedented number of briefings and public events. In this crucial time, stakeholders and media increasingly ask for the perspective of science on the state of the Earth and perspectives for climate policy. Yet PIK scientists also try to directly inform interested citizens. It is impossible to provide a complete list of all such outreach efforts, but here are some noteworthy examples.

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit - Read More…

Making sense of emission reduction pledges: modeling experts gather in Potsdam

Making sense of emission reduction pledges: modeling experts gather in Potsdam

11/16/2015 - Economists and scientists this week come from all over the world to Potsdam for the annual meeting of the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC). In the run-up of the UN climate summit in Paris, one focus of the experts’ discussions will be the greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges of governments, the so-called INDCs. To assess their real-world effects is crucial for mapping out policy options for and beyond the summit. Other issues to be debated include the modeling of climate impacts and sustainable development implications, the use of scenarios and the evaluation of model analysis.

Making sense of emission reduction pledges: modeling experts gather in Potsdam - Read More…

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