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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.

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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…

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors

Recognizing the Elephant in the Room: Future Climate Impacts across Sectors

12/16/2013 - A pioneering collaboration within the international scientific community has provided comprehensive projections of climate change effects, ranging from water scarcity to risks to crop yields. This interdisciplinary effort, employing extensive model inter-comparisons, allows research gaps to be identified, whilst producing the most robust possible findings. The results provide crucial insights for decision-making regarding mitigation efforts in the face of potential impact cascades. The analyses are to be published in a special feature of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that assembles the first results of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), which aims at bringing research on climate impacts onto a new level.

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PIK wins Potsdam Congress Award

PIK wins Potsdam Congress Award

11/15/2013 - In two categories at once, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has won the Potsdam Congress Award 2013. PIK´s international climate impacts conference “Impacts World 2013” as well as the „Global Sustainability Summer School“ that PIK has organized together with the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) twice already were honoured by Potsdam´s mayor Jann Jacobs at the Potsdam convention center.

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Cities show characteristic heat island effects

Cities show characteristic heat island effects

10/23/2013 - Cities heat up stronger than the rural regions surrounding them – and if climate change continues, this will become a risk for the inhabitants. On the basis of satellite data, researchers have now more comprehensively than ever before investigated this so-called heat island effect for thousands of cities in Europe. This effect can be noticed in everyday life: If you ride your bicycle from the green surroundings into a city on a hot day, you will often notice a temperature change. The larger a city is, the stronger is the effect, previous studies assumed. Now scientists could for the first time show that the urban heat island effect is in fact increasing with the size of the city – yet only up to a certain threshold value. The analysis revealed that even large cities are getting hotter than their surrounding by only two to three degrees on the average.

Cities show characteristic heat island effects - Read More…

World Summit of Agriculture Experts

World Summit of Agriculture Experts

10/16/2013 - The “World Food Prize” is considered as something like the Nobel Prize of Agricultural Science. It will be awarded within the framework of the Borlaug Dialogue Symposium starting today, where numerous internationally renowned experts from science, politics and economy will meet. Among the speakers is also Hermann Lotze-Campen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

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Water management in China: High-ranking delegation discusses with scientists

Water management in China: High-ranking delegation discusses with scientists

09/16/2013 - A high-ranking group of Chinese experts visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for discussions about water management under the conditions of climate change. The Haihe River Commission's delegation was led by its General Director Ren Xianshao, who is directly linked to the Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic. Both sides discussed how a new cooperation project on the river basin of Luan can be realised. This river basin supplies Tianjin with water – the third largest city of China.

Water management in China: High-ranking delegation discusses with scientists - Read More…

Intense exchange with African experts

Intense exchange with African experts

07/01/2013 - Two groups of high-level experts from Africa came to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for an intense exchange on pressing issues like changing precipitation patterns and water availability under unabated global warming. Most importantly, one delegation sought advice for designing the Pan African Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES) at the Abou Bakr Belkaïd University in Tlemcen, Algeria - this institute is supposed to provide expertise for the whole continent. Before visiting PIK, the group met with the German Minister of Economic Development and Cooperation to officially announce financial support for the project.

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Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors

Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors

07/02/2013 - One out of ten people on Earth is likely to live in a climate impact hotspot by the end of this century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Many more are put at risk in a worst-case scenario of the combined impacts on crop yields, water availability, ecosystems, and health, according to a study now published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It identifies the Amazon region, the Mediterranean and East Africa as regions that might experience severe change in multiple sectors. The article is part of the outcome of the Intersectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) that will be featured in a special issue of PNAS later this year.

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Floods in the light of climate change

Floods in the light of climate change

06/21/2013 - The nationwide floods have been keeping the country´s attention for some time now. This week, the Minister for the Environment, Peter Altmaier, visited flooded regions near Dessau/Bitterfeld. He was accompanied by Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), who briefed him on the relation between climate change and extreme weather events, as well as a number of other high-ranking experts. In the previous weeks, Gerstengarbe and other PIK scientists have given several interviews on the subject, mainly on the question if climate change is one of the causes for the floods.

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From Potsdam to Pakistan: Confronting vulnerability by building national climate research capacities

From Potsdam to Pakistan: Confronting vulnerability by building national climate research capacities

05/24/2013 - Pakistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change – risks range from the disastrous 2010 floodings that acted as a wake-up call to retreating glaciers impacting freshwater supply. To confront this challenge, the new Centre for Climate Research & Development (CCRD) took up its work this month – a substantial effort to build up indigenous scientific capacities in a place where substantial climate change impacts are actually happening. The centre has been developed in very close cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). A five-year-agreement envisages joint research projects and the exchange of scientists.

From Potsdam to Pakistan: Confronting vulnerability by building national climate research capacities - Read More…

Scenario 2040 for Germany: How climate change alters our daily life

Scenario 2040 for Germany: How climate change alters our daily life

02/08/2013 - “Two degrees Celsius more in Germany” – scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and sociologists analyzed what this might mean in detail. A book with the same title was just released by Fischer publishing house, addressing a broad public. Hot summers with average temperatures of more than 35 degrees Celsius are only one example of many potential impacts of climate change in Germany: “People in the cities will be affected as well as agriculture and forestry,” says PIK scientist and co-editor Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe. The “Scenario 2040” outlines these impacts and illustrates how climate change alters our everyday life.

Scenario 2040 for Germany: How climate change alters our daily life - Read More…

Website on climate impacts in Germany starts in pilot phase

Website on climate impacts in Germany starts in pilot phase

12/01/12 - For the first time, the new website “KlimafolgenOnline” presents information on regional impacts of climate change all over Germany for local decision makers. The project from the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and WetterOnline is starting its pilot phase and is now open to interested users. Information is provided for experts from forestry to building with resolutions as fine as 10x10 kilometers. The website is also presented at the current climate summit COP18 in Doha.

Website on climate impacts in Germany starts in pilot phase - Read More…

Potsdam hosts first World Climate Impacts Conference

Potsdam hosts first World Climate Impacts Conference

11/15/2012 - The first World Climate Impacts Conference, IMPACTS WORLD 2013, will be held next year in Potsdam, Germany. "Our climate future will be largely determined by the choices we make in the next couple of decades – everything between 2°C and 10°C global warming by 2300 is possible,” says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research which is organising the event together with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). “Impacts science has come of age now and can finally draw the dramatic sectoral and regional pictures associated with specific increases in the Earth’s mean surface temperature”.

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From summer droughts to winter floods: climate impacts in Germany

From summer droughts to winter floods: climate impacts in Germany

09/26/2012 - Global climate change has local impacts from the Baltic Sea to the Alps, from Rhineland to the sands of Brandenburg. For the first time, these impacts can be shown in a comprehensive and consistent manner for the sectors they will particularly affect, including agriculture, forestry, water management and energy supply. About 170 guests from business, politics, administrations, science and associations attended the presentation of findings by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research at the Humboldt University of Berlin early this week.

From summer droughts to winter floods: climate impacts in Germany - Read More…

Most coral reefs are at risk unless climate change is drastically limited

Most coral reefs are at risk unless climate change is drastically limited

09/16/2012 - Coral reefs face severe challenges even if global warming is restricted to the 2 degrees Celsius commonly perceived as safe for many natural and man-made systems. Warmer sea surface temperatures are likely to trigger more frequent and more intense mass coral bleaching events. Only under a scenario with strong action on mitigating greenhouse-gas emissions and the assumption that corals can adapt at extremely rapid rates, could two thirds of them be safe, shows a study now published in Nature Climate Change. Otherwise all coral reefs are expected to be subject to severe degradation.

Most coral reefs are at risk unless climate change is drastically limited - Read More…

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