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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...

PIK scientists at the Chaos Communication Congress 34C3

PIK scientists at the Chaos Communication Congress 34C3

29/12/2017 - For four days between Christmas and New Year´s, thousands of hackers, experts and artists meet every year to exchange news and views and learn about new technological developments and tools. The 34th Chaos Communication Congress (34C3) takes place in Leipzig this year, the organizers expect more than 13.000 participants. Science is represented as well, this year also by experts of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - climate change is one of this year´s main themes.

PIK scientists at the Chaos Communication Congress 34C3 - Read More…

 American Geophysical Union: Rahmstorf awarded with Climate Communication Prize at conference with 20,000 researchers

American Geophysical Union: Rahmstorf awarded with Climate Communication Prize at conference with 20,000 researchers

12/14/2017 - For his achievements in communicating climate science findings Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was honoured with the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Association (AGU). He was awarded at the AGU Fall Meeting, where more than 20,000 scientists gathered at the largest international meeting of Earth and Space Sciences to discuss new trends and research findings.

American Geophysical Union: Rahmstorf awarded with Climate Communication Prize at conference with 20,000 researchers - Read More…

Meeting with Brandenburg´s prime minister addresses commission on the future of the coal region

Meeting with Brandenburg´s prime minister addresses commission on the future of the coal region

13/12/2017 - Brandenburg´s prime minister Dietmar Woidke and other members of the federal state government have convened with the heads of Potsdam´s climate research institutions. At the meeting at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the focus was on the energy policy of Brandenburg, especially in regard to coal mining in the Lausitz region. The director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, proposed a future commission for Brandenburg. Experts could develop recommendations to generate new opportunities for the Lausitz region together with the people who live here.

Meeting with Brandenburg´s prime minister addresses commission on the future of the coal region - Read More…

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

12/12/2017 - A thinning of small areas of floating ice at Antarctica’s coast can accelerate the movement of ice grounded on rocks hundreds of kilometers away, a new study shows. It is known that the ice shelves surrounding the continent regulate the ice flow from the land into the ocean. So far it was assumed that the ice flow is most vulnerable to melting at the base near the grounding line where the ice flows from land into the sea and becomes afloat. Now scientists found that also melting near the fringes and in the midst of the ice shelves can have direct effects reaching very far inland. This could increase ice loss and hence sea-level rise.

Tiny ice losses at Antarctica’s fringes can accelerate ice loss far away - Read More…

ReKliEs-De: Future climate trends in Germany

ReKliEs-De: Future climate trends in Germany

12/11/2017 - More heat-waves and heavy rainfalls, fewer cold spells, an increase in the annual mean temperature by 4°C, this is how the climate in Germany could evolve until the year 2100 in a scenario of unabated climate change - with massive consequences for agriculture and public health. These are the results of the project ReKliEs-De ("Regional Climate Projections Ensemble for Germany") which for the first time estimates current climate projections for the German federal states and river basins. The prospects for Germany in a business as usual scenario are severe - if no active countermeasures will be taken. However, the results also show that if all climate protection agreements will be consistently implemented, the two-degree target agreed in Paris is still achievable.

ReKliEs-De: Future climate trends in Germany - Read More…

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions

12/08/2017 - Different low carbon technologies from wind or solar energy to fossil carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) differ greatly when it comes to indirect greenhouse gas emissions in their life cycle. This is the result of a comprehensive new study conducted by an international team of scientists that is now published in the journal Nature Energy. Unlike what some critics argue, the researchers not only found that wind and solar energy belong to the more favorable when it comes to life-cycle emissions. They also show that a full decarbonization of the global power sector by scaling up these technologies would induce only modest indirect greenhouse gas emissions – and hence not impede the transformation towards a climate-friendly power system.

Transformation to wind and solar could be achieved with low indirect greenhouse gas emissions - Read More…

Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam

Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam

12/05/2017 - Climate change related risks for public health are one of the most important challenges of today. However, the science communities on both sides of the fence have so far not sufficiently interacted to reflect the critical nexus of climate change and health. Taking the first mover advantage, a workshop of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now brought together renowned scientists from climate sciences, health and medicine, psychology, environmental sciences, social sciences and economics. They will develop a publication offering stakeholder and decision-makers orientation on public health and climate policy.

Climate and public health: Leopoldina Dialogue in Potsdam - Read More…

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