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SPECIAL: Summer extremes of 2018 linked to stalled giant waves in jet stream

Arctic Sea IceRecord breaking heatwaves and droughts in North America and Western Europe, torrential rainfalls and floods in South-East Europe and Japan - the summer of 2018 brought a series of extreme weather events that occurred almost simultaneously around the Northern Hemisphere in June and July. These extremes had something in common, a new study by an international team of climate researchers now finds: the events were connected by a newly identified pattern of the jet stream encircling the Earth. The jet stream formed a stalled wave pattern in the atmosphere which made weather conditions more persistent and thus extreme in the affected regions. The same pattern also occurred during European heat waves in 2015, 2006 and 2003, which rank among the most extreme heatwaves ever recorded. In recent years, the scientists observed a clear increase of these patterns. Read more...

Dutch royal couple visits Telegrafenberg

Dutch royal couple visits Telegrafenberg

05/22/2019 - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited the Albert Einstein Science Park on Potsdam's Telegrafenberg during their stay in the State of Brandenburg today. In the presence of Brandenburgs Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke and Minister of Science Martina Münch, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the GeoResearchCenter (GFZ) signed cooperation agreements with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and TU Delft. The agreements are on geothermal research and research on weather extremes.

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The Long Night of the Sciences at PIK

The Long Night of the Sciences at PIK

20/05/2019 - In a few weeks, over 60 scientific institutions will be opening their doors to the public all across Berlin and Potsdam-Telegrafenberg. On June 15th from 17-24h, events will cover the natural sciences, engineering, social and cultural studies, medicine and much more. Whether it’s in lectures, science shows or in hands-on experiments, there is much to discover and to learn at the Long Night of the Sciences. Here is some information on the programme at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK):

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Petersberg Climate Dialogue: Johan Rockström addresses global leaders on climate action

Petersberg Climate Dialogue: Johan Rockström addresses global leaders on climate action

14.05.2019 - "Science is clear: If we want to stabilize our climate, we need a fundamental change in all sectors of society. Because the bar is high: We need to halve our emissions every decade from now on. Only in this way can we attain zero net emissions by the middle of this century”, Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told international leaders on the occasion of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue. The two-day event is one of the most high-level events in terms of climate policy on the German and international political agenda, bringing together ministers and high-level representatives from 35 countries. The conference was co-hosted by the German Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, and her Chilean counterpart, Carolina Schmidt, who is also President of the next UN Climate Change Conference in Santiago de Chile (COP 25).

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Climate mitigation can – and must – include policies to assure food security

Climate mitigation can – and must – include policies to assure food security

13/05/2019 – Policies that aim at limiting dangerous climate change need to account for food security issues. For the first time, tradeoffs between climate mitigation and food security have now been analyzed in a so-called multi-model assessment: many different computer simulations dealing with the same issue. The costs for food-smart climate policies are around 0.2% of global economic output in 2050, an international team of scientists. However, carelessly designed climate policy could increase the number of people at risk of hunger, at least compared to a baseline scenario, according to the study now published in Nature Sustainability. Compared to today, the number of people at risk of hunger is likely to sink in all scenarios studied. Yet if no climate policy at all would be implemented, the resulting risks for crop failure due to droughts and floods might also lead to hunger and costs. Including these impacts of extreme events is a challenge for future research.

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Johan Rockström speaks at re:publica conference in Berlin

Johan Rockström speaks at re:publica conference in Berlin

07/05/2019 – Participants from all strands of life gather this week in Berlin at the re:publica conference, the festival for and by the digital society. From workshops, to lectures, screenings and meetups – more than 1,000 experts will be sharing input on “digital” topics as diverse as artificial intelligence, copyright law or platform economies. A special focus of this year’s re:publica is on climate and sustainability. PIK-director Johan Rockström will deliver a keynote on planetary boundaries on the festival’s closing day.

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PIK researchers issue new early forecast of Indian Summer Monsoon

PIK researchers issue new early forecast of Indian Summer Monsoon

05/07/2019 - The Indian Summer Monsoon will likely reach Central India between 10th and 18th of June 2019, according to the new forecast method developed at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). This forecast of the monsoon onset date issued more than one month in advance is the earliest and only one available in India to date. PIK scientist Elena Surovyatkina leads the Monsoon forecasts that showed to be successful already three years in a row. The monsoon onset date is of crucial importance for the 1.35 billion people in India – the livelihoods of about 70 percent of its population are directly related to farming and agriculture. Climate change affects monsoon variability and hence makes accurate forecasting even more important.

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New method to better understand much-employed self-learning Artificial Intelligence

New method to better understand much-employed self-learning Artificial Intelligence

11/04/2019 - Recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research result from the combination of deep neuronal networks and reinforcement learning. In the latter, agents are able to learn rewarding behaviours in unknown environments by an iterative trial-and-error behaviour update process. But this process is not yet fully understood. Reinforcement learning agents are a specific area of AI. As AI can have a big impact on society, a better understanding AI systems is crucial to assess potential challenges and risks. Already today, AI is employed to steer cars, manage production lines, or even draft texts. A team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has developed a new method to investigate those algorithms using insights from statistical physics. Published in the journal Physical Reviews E, their insights can help to improve the design of large-scale AI reinforcement learning systems.

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