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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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