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Tracing observed climate impacts to greenhouse gas emissions

Tracing observed climate impacts to greenhouse gas emissions

01/28/2016 - Roughly two-thirds of observed climate change impacts related to atmospheric and ocean temperature over the past 40 years can be confidently attributed to human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, an international team of scientists found. For the impacts observed not just on regional but on continental scales, even three quarters are mainly due to our burning of burning fossil fuels. Evidence connecting changes in precipitation and their respective impacts to human influence is still weak, but is expected to grow.

Tracing observed climate impacts to greenhouse gas emissions - Read More…

Leibniz President Kleiner visits PIK

Leibniz President Kleiner visits PIK

01/27/2016 - The president of Leibniz Association, Matthias Kleiner, visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for an exchange on current projects and developments. Among other topics the focus of the meetings was also on research strategies. Kleiner met with PIK Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber as well as with the Chairs of PIK’s four research domains.

Leibniz President Kleiner visits PIK - Read More…

Human-made climate change suppresses the next ice age

Human-made climate change suppresses the next ice age

01/13/2016 - Humanity has become a geological force that is able to suppress the beginning of the next ice age, a study now published in the renowned scientific journal Nature shows. Cracking the code of glacial inception, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found the relation of insolation and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to be the key criterion to explain the last eight glacial cycles in Earth history. At the same time their results illustrate that even moderate human interference with the planet’s natural carbon balance might postpone the next glacial inception by 100.000 years.

Human-made climate change suppresses the next ice age - Read More…

Historic climate agreement: “The spirits of Paris have defeated the ghosts of Copenhagen"

Historic climate agreement: “The spirits of Paris have defeated the ghosts of Copenhagen"

12/14/2015 - 195 states worldwide adopted a breakthrough climate agreement at the UN climate summit in Paris, COP21. Leading scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research actively participated in the historic meeting that put the world on the path to limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and bring down greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero within a few decades. While implementing the treaty will be an enormous challenge, for the first time ever climate stabilization and hence limiting climate risks including weather extremes and sea-level rise comes into reach. It is the beginning, not the end, of a process that now requires rapid implementation strong policy instruments that live up to the aspirations of the agreement.

Historic climate agreement: “The spirits of Paris have defeated the ghosts of Copenhagen" - Read More…

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity

12/11/2015 - A decrease in storm activity over large parts of the US, Europe, Russia, and China is found to influence weather extremes – cold ones in winter, hot or dry ones in summer. This is now shown in a study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The observed changes in storm activity are likely related to changes in other atmospheric dynamics like the jet stream – strong westerly winds circling the Northern hemisphere high up in the sky.

Cold, hot or dry: Persistent weather extremes associated with decreased storm activity - Read More…

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit

11/16/2015 - In the run-up of the much anticipated UN climate summit in Paris, scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) are involved in an unprecedented number of briefings and public events. In this crucial time, stakeholders and media increasingly ask for the perspective of science on the state of the Earth and perspectives for climate policy. Yet PIK scientists also try to directly inform interested citizens. It is impossible to provide a complete list of all such outreach efforts, but here are some noteworthy examples.

Unprecedented number of briefings in run-up of climate summit - Read More…

The warmer the higher: sea-level rise from Filchner-Ronne ice in Antarctica

The warmer the higher: sea-level rise from Filchner-Ronne ice in Antarctica

10/05/2015 - The more ice is melted of the Antarctic Filchner-Ronne shelf, the more ice flows into the ocean and the more the region contributes to global sea-level rise. While this might seem obvious, it is no matter of course for the huge ice masses of Antarctica: parts of the ice continent are characterized by instabilities that, once triggered, can lead to persistent ice discharge into the ocean even without a further increase of warming - resulting in unstoppable long-term sea-level rise. In the Filchner-Ronne region however, ice-loss will likely not show such behavior, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research now found. Published in Nature Climate Change, their study shows that in this area the ice flow into the ocean increases just constantly with the heat provided by the ocean over time.

The warmer the higher: sea-level rise from Filchner-Ronne ice in Antarctica - Read More…

Debate in the run-up to Paris

Debate in the run-up to Paris

09/10/2015 - What´s in store at the next climate conference, COP21, later this year? This week, staff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research gathered for an exchange of insights and perspectives. There were a number of contributions from post-docs and senior scientists on the latest research that stimulated a vibrant discussion.

Debate in the run-up to Paris - Read More…

Snowball Earth: algae triggered cooling millions of years ago

Snowball Earth: algae triggered cooling millions of years ago

08/27/2015 - The advance of certain algae was probably one key contribution to an almost complete glaciation of the Earth millions of years ago. The consequent rise in emissions of organic cloud-condensation nuclei led to increased cloudiness. Thereby, they likely contributed crucially to the cooling of the climate, because clouds reduce solar radiation on the Earth´s surface. This was discovered by a team of scientists in a new study to be published today in the renowned journal Nature Geoscience.

Snowball Earth: algae triggered cooling millions of years ago - Read More…

CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual

CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual

08/03/2015 - Greenhouse-gas emissions from human activities do not only cause rapid warming of the seas, but also ocean acidification at an unprecedented rate. Artificial carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere has been proposed to reduce both risks to marine life. A new study based on computer calculations now shows that this strategy would not work if applied too late. CDR cannot compensate for soaring business-as-usual emissions throughout the century and beyond, even if the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration would be restored to pre-industrial levels at some point in the future. This is due to the tremendous inertia of the ocean system. Thus, CDR cannot substitute timely emissions reductions, yet may play a role as a supporting actor in the climate drama.

CO2 removal cannot save the oceans – if we pursue business as usual - Read More…

Our Common Future Under Climate Change

Our Common Future Under Climate Change

07/10/2015 - This week, thousands of climate and social scientists as well as policy experts have met for the “Our Common Future under Climate Change” conference at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, among them a large number of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). It has been the biggest gathering of high-ranking scientists paving the way for COP21 in December, laying out the state of science for fact-based decision-making.

Our Common Future Under Climate Change - Read More…

PIK researcher appointed new member of the Junge Akademie

PIK researcher appointed new member of the Junge Akademie

06/11/2015 - "Outstanding and dedicated" - Ricarda Winkelmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research is a new member of the Young Academy (Junge Akademie) of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences. The Junge Akademie is the most important interdisciplinary network for German-speaking young scientists. Members of the Junge Akademie are elected for the duration of five years. To be eligible for membership, candidates should have completed their PhD within three to seven years prior to their application. Moreover, they should have published one further outstanding piece of work.

PIK researcher appointed new member of the Junge Akademie - Read More…

PIK scientist appointed professor

PIK scientist appointed professor

06/05/2015 - The Technical University Munich (TUM) appointed Anja Rammig, who has been working at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for many years, for a professorship at its School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan. That makes Rammig part of the growing number of professorships held by PIK scientists or to where they move on, an indication of the great scientific recognition of the research conducted at the institute.

PIK scientist appointed professor - Read More…

Getting connected: PhD-Day at the Potsdam-Institute

Getting connected: PhD-Day at the Potsdam-Institute

06/03/2015 - From social networks for scientists and copyright issues and to visualization tools in climate research or dealing with climate skepticism – topics like these were discussed recently by young scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research at their annual meeting. The PhD-Day offers the opportunity for doctoral candidates to get together, share experiences and for further education in different science related fields. The theme of this year’s meeting was “getting connected”.

Getting connected: PhD-Day at the Potsdam-Institute - Read More…

International praise for young PIK scientists

International praise for young PIK scientists

05/29/2015 - They work on carbon taxes, the German Energiewende and “flying rivers” in the Amazonian basin – the research of several young scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has recently been awarded for its excellence.

International praise for young PIK scientists - Read More…

Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today

03/24/2015 - The Atlantic overturning is one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards. Also known as the Gulf Stream system, it is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe. Scientists now found evidence for a slowdown of the overturning – multiple lines of observation suggest that in recent decades, the current system has been weaker than ever before in the last century, or even in the last millennium. The gradual but accelerating melting of the Greenland ice-sheet, caused by man-made global warming, is a possible major contributor to the slowdown. Further weakening could impact marine ecosystems and sea level as well as weather systems in the US and Europe.

Atlantic Ocean overturning found to slow down already today - Read More…

Earth-Docs wanted: a new kind of research position

Earth-Docs wanted: a new kind of research position

03/18/2015 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is offering a new kind of research position for outstanding young scientists: they can become an Earth-Doc as part of an international research team working across research institutions and disciplines. The state-of-the-art programme has been launched by the Earth League, an international alliance of 17 leading scientists and institutions, co-founded by PIK. Applicants for the new position focusing on the role of social agents in Earth system dynamics should have a background in global sustainability and modelling.

Earth-Docs wanted: a new kind of research position - Read More…

Global warming brings more snow to Antarctica

Global warming brings more snow to Antarctica

03/17/2015 - Although it sounds paradoxical, rising temperatures might result in more snowfall in Antarctica. Each degree of regional warming could increase snowfall on the ice continent by about 5 percent, an international team of scientists led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research now quantified. Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, their work builds on high-quality ice-core data and fundamental laws of physics captured in global and regional climate model simulations. The results provide a missing link for future projections of Antarctica’s critical contribution to sea-level rise. However, the increase in snowfall will not save Antarctica from losing ice, since a lot of the added ice is transported out into the ocean by its own weight.

Global warming brings more snow to Antarctica - Read More…

Four of nine planetary boundaries now crossed

Four of nine planetary boundaries now crossed

01/16/2015 - Four of nine planetary boundaries have now been crossed as a result of human activity, says an international team of 18 researchers in the journal Science. The four are: climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles. The scientists say that two of these, climate change and biosphere integrity, are “core boundaries” – significantly altering either of these would “drive the Earth System into a new state”. The team will present their findings in seven seminars at the World Economic Forum in Davos (21-25 January).

Four of nine planetary boundaries now crossed - Read More…

Honours for young PIK scientists

Honours for young PIK scientists

12/31/2014 - Jonathan Donges of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research received the Wladimir Peter Köppen Prize for his achievements in modelling the climate system. The award of the Cluster of Excellence CliSAP (Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction) in Hamburg honours outstanding doctoral theses of young scientists under the age of thirty years. The jury described Donges dissertation, submitted to Berlin’s Humboldt University, as an innovative and outstanding contribution to current climate research.

Honours for young PIK scientists - Read More…

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