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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.

Forests around the world affected by climate change - Read More…

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.

UN Climate Conference COP20: The challenges of climate change and poverty - Read More…

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.

Ethics and economics: study on values in simulations - Read More…

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”.

Brandenburg young researcher's award honours Anne Biewald - Read More…

„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.

„Confronting the new normal“: World Bank launches PIK climate report - Read More…

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.

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

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.

Local food supply could help propel global food security - Read More…

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.

Antarctica could raise sea level faster than previously thought - Read More…

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.

CO2 is fertilizing hidden hunger - Read More…

"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.

Two PIK researchers appointed professor at Humboldt University - Read More…

Dangerous nitrogen pollution could be halved

Dangerous nitrogen pollution could be halved

05/13/2014 - The most important fertilizer for producing food is, at the same time, one of the most important risks for human health: nitrogen. Chemical compounds containing reactive nitrogen are major drivers of air and water pollution worldwide, and hence of diseases like asthma or cancer. If no action is taken, nitrogen pollution could rise by 20 percent by 2050 in a middle-of-the-road scenario, according to a study now published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Ambitious mitigation efforts, however, could decrease the pollution by 50 percent. The analysis is the very first to quantify this.

Dangerous nitrogen pollution could be halved - Read More…

“Outstanding young scientist” awarded

“Outstanding young scientist” awarded

05/13/2014 - The European Geosciences Union (EGU) gave the award “Outstanding Young Scientist” of its division Energy, Resources and the Environment to Tabea K. Lissner from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The PhD-student received the prize at the annual meeting of more than 12,000 scientists form 106 countries in Vienna last week. She was honoured for contributing “to important advancements in the work needed to tackle the challenges associated with the provision of energy and other social resources,” according to the laudatio.

“Outstanding young scientist” awarded - Read More…

Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: making sense of uncertainties

Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: making sense of uncertainties

05/06/2014 - Overlapping impacts of climate change such as drought or flooding, declining crop yields or ecosystem damages create hotspots of risk in specific parts of Africa. These are for the first time identified in a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The uncertainties in assessing the impacts do not necessarily hamper but can inform development strategies, according to the scientists. Likelihood and potential severity of impacts can be weighed to decide on suitable adaptation measures.

Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa: making sense of uncertainties - Read More…

Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“

Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“

03/28/2014 - Water levels of the Elbe and other big German rivers are currently as low as normally in late summer. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have examined extremely low water levels as well as floods for a long time, but the current observed aridness goes beyond the scientists´ scenarios. This could have serious impacts on shipping and agriculture. Individual actors already warn of a record drought. -

Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“ - Read More…

Capacity-building workshop on forthcoming World Bank Report

Capacity-building workshop on forthcoming World Bank Report

03/21/2014 - To share insights on a forthcoming report for the World Bank, including data and modelling, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) recently hosted a workshop for regional scientists. The report will provide analyses of climate change impacts on issues ranging from heat extremes to sea-level change in the Middle East and North Africa, agriculture in the Western Balkans/Central Asia and forests in Russia. It is the third in a series entitled “Turn down the heat” and is being produced in collaboration with Climate Analytics (CA). The aim is to identify development challenges created by global warming in order to assess social vulnerabilities.

Capacity-building workshop on forthcoming World Bank Report - Read More…

Global food trade can alleviate water scarcity

Global food trade can alleviate water scarcity

03/18/2014 - International trade of food crops led to freshwater savings worth 2.4 billion US-Dollars in 2005 and had a major impact on local water stress. This is shown in a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Trading food involves the trade of virtually embedded water used for production, and the amount of that water depends heavily on the climatic conditions in the production region: It takes, for instance, 2.700 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of cereals in Morocco, while the same kilo produced in Germany uses up only 520 liters. Analyzing the impact of trade on local water scarcity, our scientists found that it is not the amount of water used that counts most, but the origin of the water. While parts of India or the Middle East alleviate their water scarcity through importing crops, some countries in Southern Europe export agricultural goods from water-scarce sites, thus increasing local water stress.

Global food trade can alleviate water scarcity - Read More…

Global food markets: Climate impacts would be more costly than bioenergy effects

Global food markets: Climate impacts would be more costly than bioenergy effects

01/15/2014 - Ambitious greenhouse-gas mitigation consistent with the 2 degrees target is likely to require substantial amounts of bioenergy as part of the future energy mix. Though this does not come without risks, global food markets would be affected much more by unmitigated climate change than by an increased bioenergy demand, a study led by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now finds. Agricultural prices could be about 25 percent higher in 2050 through direct climate impacts on crop yields in comparison to a reference scenario without climate change. By way of contrast, a high bioenergy demand as part of a scenario with ambitious mitigation appears to raise prices only about 5 percent.

Global food markets: Climate impacts would be more costly than bioenergy effects - Read More…

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