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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors - Read More…

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.

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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.

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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…

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