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RD4 Science Highlights
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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Exploring image politics of climate change

Exploring image politics of climate change

12/08/2014 - Scientists as well as professionals in politics, education, media or fine arts have long been struggling to depict climate change, a highly abstract concept by definition. In their recently published book "Image Politics of Climate Change", PIK's Thomas Nocke and Birgit Schneider of the University of Potsdam examine a variety of images picturing global warming sparked by climate change research. They explore how these graphics have not only increased knowledge about the subject, but have begun to influence popular awareness. These visualizations vary significantly depending on their purpose, complexity and style - ranging from colorful scientific diagrams and model visualizations to photographs and paintings of extreme weather events or polar bears.

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New forecasting method: Predicting extreme floods in the Andes mountains

New forecasting method: Predicting extreme floods in the Andes mountains

10/14/2014 - Predicting floods following extreme rainfall in the central Andes is enabled by a new method. Climate change has made these events more frequent and more severe in recent decades. Now complex networks analysis of satellite weather data makes it possible to produce a robust warning system for the first time, a study to be published in the journal Nature Communications shows. This might allow for improved disaster preparedness. As the complex systems technique builds upon a mathematical comparison that can be utilised for any time series data, the approach could be applied to extreme events in all sorts of complex systems.

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From Chaos to Order: How Ants optimize Food Search

From Chaos to Order: How Ants optimize Food Search

05/27/2014 - Ants are capable of complex problem-solving strategies that could be widely applied as optimization techniques. An individual ant searching for food walks in random ways, biologists found. Yet the collective foraging behaviour of ants goes well beyond that, as a mathematical study to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals: The animal movements at a certain point change from chaos to order. This happens in a surprisingly efficient self-organized way. Understanding the ants could help analyze similar phenomena - for instance how humans roam in the internet.

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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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Networks in the climate system: Research gap is closed

Networks in the climate system: Research gap is closed

02/24/2014 - There are networks within the climate system of the earth: Changes at one point can trigger changes at another, far away point – so an El Niño-event in South America can interfere with the Asian monsoon. Up to now, these correlations could only be determined statistically by comparing observation data and time series. A study now for the first time reveals the physical mechanisms behind the statistics. According to an article published by scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the journal Scientific Reports, a new open access journal of the renowned Nature group, flows are of prime interest here.

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