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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...

Potsdam Summer School explores the future of cities

Potsdam Summer School explores the future of cities

09/04/2017 - The rapid pace of change around the world is presenting humankind and human environments with tremendous challenges. What solutions and strategies can we employ to future-proof our cities in the age of climate change? Experts from 30 countries will meet to discuss these issues with leading sustainability researchers at the 2017 Potsdam Summer School on 4 – 13 September. Their findings will be presented to the public in a memorandum on 13 September.

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Heavy rains not just in the US: current Monsoon in South Asia

Heavy rains not just in the US: current Monsoon in South Asia

08/31/2017 - Devastating rainfall is being observed not just in Texas, USA, but also due to the Monsoon in South Asia. On this issue, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement by Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Professor at the University of Potsdam and Adjunct Scientist at Columbia University's LDEO, New York:

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Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

Electricity consumption in Europe will shift under climate change

28.08.2017 - Rising temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions will fundamentally change electricity consumption patterns in Europe. A team of scientists from Germany and the United States now analyzed what unchecked future warming means for Europe’s electricity demand: daily peak loads in Southern Europe will likely increase and overall consumption will shift from Northern Europe to the South. Further, the majority of countries will see a shift of temperature-driven annual peak demand from winter to summer by the end of this century. This would put additional strain on European power grids, the study now published in the renowned US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests.

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Storm Harvey: impacts likely worsened due to global warming

Storm Harvey: impacts likely worsened due to global warming

08/28/2017 - Tropical storm "Harvey" is causing severe flooding in Texas. Because many people are asking if there is a link to climate change, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research issued a statement by its Earth System Analysis Co-Chair Stefan Rahmstorf. "Harvey" was not caused by climate change, he says. Yet its impacts – the storm surge, and especially the extreme rainfall – very likely worsened due to human-caused global warming.

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Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three

Importance of solar energy underestimated by a factor of three

08/28/2017 - The growth of solar energy has been grossly underestimated in the results of the models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Costs have dropped and infrastructures expanded much faster than even the most optimistic models had assumed. A new study led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) - founded by Stiftung Mercator and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - shows that in 2050, the percentage of photovoltaics in the global power supply could be three times higher than previously projected. According to the study, published in the journal Nature Energy, the share of solar energy will likely range between 30 and 50 percent, instead of 5 to 17 percent, as suggested before—even if the global demand for electricity continues to rise.

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Better farm water management can help to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals

Better farm water management can help to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals

07/20/2017 - Water use for food production today largely occurs on the expense of ecosystems. About 40 percent of the water used for irrigation are unsustainable withdrawals that violate so-called environmental flows of rivers, a new study shows for the first time. If these volumes were to be re-allocated to the ecosystems, crop yields would drop by at least 10 percent on half of all irrigated land, especially in Central and South Asia. This points to a tradeoff between water and food UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, improvement of irrigation practices could sustainably compensate for such losses at global scale. More integrated strategies, including rainwater management, could even achieve a 10 percent net gain of production.

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AGU prize for climate communication awarded to Stefan Rahmstorf

AGU prize for climate communication awarded to Stefan Rahmstorf

07/20/2017 - The World's largest organization of Earth scientists will honor Stefan Rahmstorf with its Climate Communication Prize. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) gives this award for outstanding promotion of scientific literacy, clarity of message and efforts to foster understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of global warming. The physicist and oceanographer Rahmstorf, co-chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany, is the first scientist outside the US to receive the renowned prize.

AGU prize for climate communication awarded to Stefan Rahmstorf - Read More…

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