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Debate in the run-up to Paris

Debate in the run-up to Paris

09/10/2015 - What´s in store at the next climate conference, COP21, later this year? This week, staff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research gathered for an exchange of insights and perspectives. There were a number of contributions from post-docs and senior scientists on the latest research that stimulated a vibrant discussion.

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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.

Renowned climate scientists explain climate change - Read More…

Our Common Future Under Climate Change

Our Common Future Under Climate Change

07/10/2015 - This week, thousands of climate and social scientists as well as policy experts have met for the “Our Common Future under Climate Change” conference at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, among them a large number of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). It has been the biggest gathering of high-ranking scientists paving the way for COP21 in December, laying out the state of science for fact-based decision-making.

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Getting connected: PhD-Day at the Potsdam-Institute

Getting connected: PhD-Day at the Potsdam-Institute

06/03/2015 - From social networks for scientists and copyright issues and to visualization tools in climate research or dealing with climate skepticism – topics like these were discussed recently by young scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research at their annual meeting. The PhD-Day offers the opportunity for doctoral candidates to get together, share experiences and for further education in different science related fields. The theme of this year’s meeting was “getting connected”.

Getting connected: PhD-Day at the Potsdam-Institute - Read More…

Global warming brings more snow to Antarctica

Global warming brings more snow to Antarctica

03/17/2015 - Although it sounds paradoxical, rising temperatures might result in more snowfall in Antarctica. Each degree of regional warming could increase snowfall on the ice continent by about 5 percent, an international team of scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research now quantified. Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, their work builds on high-quality ice-core data and fundamental laws of physics captured in global and regional climate model simulations. The results provide a missing link for future projections of Antarctica’s critical contribution to sea-level rise. However, the increase in snowfall will not save Antarctica from losing ice, since a lot of the added ice is transported out into the ocean by its own weight.

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US Government Accountability Office seeks exchange with climate scientists

US Government Accountability Office seeks exchange with climate scientists

02/23/2015 - The Government Accountability Office of the US Congress (GAO) considers climate change impacts such as floodings or droughts to be a financial risk. To study the German perspective on this issue, it sent a high-ranking delegation to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as well as to some other institutions in Europe. This will result in a report on how to improve climate services in the US.

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The Global Calculator: new tool for climate information launched

The Global Calculator: new tool for climate information launched

02/06/2015 - Informing businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations about options for cutting CO2 emissions and the trade-offs for energy and land is the ambition of a new web platform called the Global Calculator. An international team led by the United Kingdom’s Department of Energy and Climate Change and co-funded by the European Union’s Climate-KIC launched the tool last week. Scientists that contributed to the community effort came from institutions such as the London School of Economics, the International Energy Agency, the Chinese Energy Research Institute, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and its spinoff Climate Media Factory (CMF).

The Global Calculator: new tool for climate information launched - Read More…

Forests around the world affected by climate change

Forests around the world affected by climate change

12/19/2014 - Around the globe, forests are found to be undergoing strong changes due to human influence already today. Degradation of woods due to man-made climate change cannot be ruled out for the future, a Special Feature to be published next week in the Journal of Ecology, led by a team of scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), now shows. To understand and improve the resilience of forests, a combination of approaches from small-scale field experiments to large-scale computer simulations can help, according to the studies. Taking a risk perspective, the scientists caution that global warming puts additional pressure on some of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth.

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UN Climate Conference COP20: The challenges of climate change and poverty

UN Climate Conference COP20: The challenges of climate change and poverty

12/05/2014 - Delegates from more than 190 nations are gathering in Peru these days for the UN Climate Conference COP20. Among the conference participants are also scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, namely Chief-Economist Ottmar Edenhofer who is also a leading scientist in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Already in November, he spoke at the joint briefing by the Federal Foreign Office and the German Climate Consortium. Researchers of PIK, with their expertise in earth system changes and in solutions for the climate challenge, were frequently interviewed in the run-up to the summit.

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Ethics and economics: study on values in simulations

Ethics and economics: study on values in simulations

12/05/2014 - Computer simulations of the impacts of global trade policy, for example, generally contain ethical value assumptions. In order to make these assumptions more transparent, and to enhance our understanding of possible trade-offs, scientists have developed a novel methodological approach and applied it to agro-economic modelling of global water scarcity. Their newly released study, the result of an unusual collaboration between economists, scientists and philosophers, contends that the incorporation of value assumptions in scientific scenarios can improve the usability of those scenarios for decision-makers in politics and business.

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Brandenburg young researcher's award honours Anne Biewald

Brandenburg young researcher's award honours Anne Biewald

11/25/2014 - Anne Biewald of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has been awarded with the young researcher's prize of the state of Brandenburg. The prize honours outstanding achievements by young scientists of the state’s universities or other research institutions. “We need such motivated young researchers,” said Sabine Kunst, Brandenburg’s minister of science at the awards ceremony. “They help to bring Brandenburg forward and contribute to the state’s international competiveness. We recognise the importance of this by commending these young people - who also represent many other committed scientists in Brandenburg - for their outstanding work”.

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„Confronting the new normal“: World Bank launches PIK climate report

„Confronting the new normal“: World Bank launches PIK climate report

11/23/2014 - Weather extremes such as heat waves that up to now were highly unusual are likely to become the new normal, according to a report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now launched by the World Bank. Climate Change impacts are already being felt today and will grow even if warming is limited below 2 degrees. However, with unabated warming of probably 4 degrees within our century, the consequences increase drastically. The report is the third in a series, entitled “Turn down the heat” by the World Bank – now focused on how climate impacts and social vulnerability interact, or how the poor are hit hardest in Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and East and Central Asia.

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Protecting forests alone would not halt land-use change emissions

Protecting forests alone would not halt land-use change emissions

11/17/2014 - Global forest conservation measures meant to mitigate climate change are likely to drive massive cropland expansion into shrublands or savannahs to satisfy the ever-growing hunger for arable land. The consequent changes in land use could cause substantial greenhouse gas emissions, a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change shows. In contrast to previous assumptions, conservation schemes that focus only on forests may thus fail to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from land-use change. If ecosystem protection policies aim at climate protection, they need to cover the whole range of land types, according to comprehensive computer simulations. To compensate for such restrictions on land use, intensification of agriculture to generate higher yields is important.

Protecting forests alone would not halt land-use change emissions - Read More…

Climate change: Limiting short-lived pollutants cannot buy time on CO2 mitigation

Climate change: Limiting short-lived pollutants cannot buy time on CO2 mitigation

11/04/2014 - Reducing emissions of non-CO2 gases and air pollutants with climate effects would bring health benefits and near-term climate co-benefits - but the impact on long-term climate change might be lower than previously estimated, according to a new study of the potential of air pollution and carbon dioxide mitigation in climate stabilization scenarios.

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Educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' wins special innovation award

Educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' wins special innovation award

10/15/2014 - The educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' (a play of words on vegetable field/field for learning) has been designated an "Excellent Place in the Land of Ideas", a special award which honors innovative projects helping to make rural areas fit for the future. A certificate signed by German President Joachim Gauck was handed over to the initiator of the GemüseAckerdemie Christoph Schmitz by Brandenburg's agriculture minister Jörg Vogelsänger.

Educational project 'GemüseAckerdemie' wins special innovation award - Read More…

Local food supply could help propel global food security

Local food supply could help propel global food security

9/4/2014 - Local or regional food supply could help ensure food security across continents, a new study conducted by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) says. It explores under which conditions a shift to local food supply may result in food self-sufficiency. The researchers found that by increasing crop yield in a number of ways, every continent could become food self-sufficient by 2050. This could substantially diminish the current demand for international agricultural trade, although it will continue to be relevant to some regions. The study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that actions at a local level could help achieve food self-sufficiency in many regions.

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Antarctica could raise sea level faster than previously thought

Antarctica could raise sea level faster than previously thought

8/14/2014 - Ice discharge from Antarctica could contribute up to 37 centimeters to the global sea level rise within this century, a new study shows. For the first time, an international team of scientists provide a comprehensive estimate on the full range of Antarctica’s potential contribution to global sea level rise based on physical computer simulations. Led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the study combines a whole set of state-of-the-art climate models and observational data with various ice models. The results reproduce Antarctica’s recent contribution to sea level rise as observed by satellites in the last two decades and show that the ice continent could become the largest contributor to sea level rise much sooner than previously thought.

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CO2 is fertilizing hidden hunger

CO2 is fertilizing hidden hunger

06/27/2014 - While CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are a driver of climate change with potentially negative impacts on crop yields, they are also a fertilizer for the plants. However, this effect comes at the expense of a deterioration of the current nutritional value of food, new research by the Harvard School of Public Health and others shows. This might lead to hidden hunger, researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research argue in a recent commentary published in Nature Climate Change. Diets with sufficient calorie content could come with an insufficient supply of vitamins and minerals.

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"Excellent researcher, warm manners": farewell symposium for Gerstengarbe

"Excellent researcher, warm manners": farewell symposium for Gerstengarbe

06/02/2014 - One of the founding members and key figures of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) was honored with a farewell symposium last week. Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe, assistant director of the institute and co-chair of its research domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities, embarked on his retirement. About 200 peers, colleagues, and friends, gathered to debate an issue dear to Gerstengarbe, a meteorologist who always cared about the practical implications of his findings: 'Climate and Climate Impact Research between Science and Society'.

"Excellent researcher, warm manners": farewell symposium for Gerstengarbe - Read More…

Two PIK researchers appointed professor at Humboldt University

Two PIK researchers appointed professor at Humboldt University

05/23/2014 - Industrial ecology and land use: for these two research areas leading scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have recently been appointed professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin. “We are glad that Professor Helga Weisz and Professor Hermann Lotze-Campen, two renowned climate scientists, are joining HU, and that PIK and HU today are connected through no less than five professorships,” says Peter Frensch, Vice-President for Research at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

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