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Research Area: Global Adaptation Strategies

 Research questions we investigate are:

    • What are the costs of climate change?
    • Are there limits to the adaptive capacity of our socio-economic system?

      From these overriding research questions we derive two main endeavors which are strongly intertwined:

        • The computation of the impacts of climate change on the global infrastructure and supply network as well as the associated costs with the newly developed global damage transfer model acclimate.
        • The development of global adaptation strategies for this system.

        zeean: Collection and analysis of global economic flows

        A concerted adaptation of the global infrastructure and supply network has to be based on profound knowledge of the mutual economic dependencies of regional sectors in different parts of the world.

        zeean.jpgWe have launched a website zeean (please see for full information) to initiate a community effort to seek, collect and provide detailed information on these interdependencies.

        Building on available data from the EORA World MRIO project, everyone can contribute to zeean by entering further data on GDP and economic flows between regional sectors. This information is cross-checked and validated by other vetted users and provided to the community.

        The effort was launched by a Nature opinion piece and is envisaged to create a community in a similar way as Wikipedia, since it aims at providing information for self-adaptation of the global infrastructure and supply network.

        The zeean database provides economic background information for the global damage model acclimate.

        Zeean was developed and designed by Sven Willner with scientific advice from Robert Bierkandt, Leonie Wenz and Anders Levermann. Torsten Albrecht and Stefan Schinkel have joined the team and operate zeean's further development.

        acclimate: A global damage transfer model

        The Global Adaptation Strategies research group has developed the global damage transfer model acclimate.

        Acclimate is a numerical model that aims to capture the indirect effects of climate extremes on the global supply network. The model incorporates production sites, material storage and transportation, as well as decision dynamics for the response to failures of either of these components. It depicts the forward and backward propagation of disaster induced shock waves in a highly non-linear, time-dependent and spatially explicit way.

        The model focuses on analyzing the indirect effects of local perturbations without taking into account economic growth. More precisely, each agent performs a local optimization where we assume that the agents cannot anticipate future extreme events.

        This short-term response is complemented by middle and long-term adaptation strategies within the production network which may reduce the costs of climatic impacts. For this purpose we are investigating different adaptation strategies which are based on price dynamics.

        The model explores immediate response dynamics following a climatic impact (days to weeks), the subsequent recovery phase of the supply network (weeks to months), and the longer time scale in which the economic system adapts to the changing production and investment environment (months to decades).

        With this model we aim at estimating the economic costs or climatic induced production failures, including indirect costs with potential low-probability but high-damage events, and conduct a systemic assessment of the limits of adaptation of the supply network. The model uses zeean data as a baseline.

        Acclimate was developed and has been implemented by three former PhD students - now PostDocs-, Robert Bierkandt, Leonie Wenz and Sven Willner, together with Anders Levermann. The strong link to Katja Frieler's EXPACT project manifests itself in the close collaboration with Christian Otto. The acclimate description papers can be found in the publications section below.

        Media coverage & popular science descriptions

        Quicklinks: zeean in the media | zeean on Twitter


        September 2014

        Special Report "Climate Protection as a World Citizen Movement" by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (zeean feature on p. 86)

        July 2014

        Road to Paris: Resilient supply networks: Crowdsourcing risk management (blog article)

        Norddeutscher Rundfunk: Wirtschaft und extremes Wetter (German audio interview)

        May 2014

        UK Engineering & Technology Magazine: Climate change: can supply chains take the strain?

        April 2014

        Big Data Blog: Jeder kann mithelfen: zeean als Crowdsourcing Projekt (in German)

        March 2014

        Acclimatise: Why zeean and how to enter data? (audio interview)

        Beautiful Data: Crowdsourcing Science (blog article on zeean)

        February 2014

        Science Codex: Inducing climate-smart global supply networks: Nature Commentary PIK geht mit zeean ins Netz (in German)

        January 2014

        The Guardian: Anders Levermann on limits of adaptation

        Presentations and Posters

        September 2015

        HELIX Annual Meeting, Liège, Belgium: Acclimate - assessing loss propagation in the economic network under unanticipated shocks by extreme weather events

        Potsdam Summer School Facing Natural Hazards, Potsdam, Germany: Amplifying impacts of climatic extremes: Supply chains in a warming world 

        July 2015

        Our Common Future under Climate Change, Paris, France: Current structural changes in economic network amplify heat-stress-induced production losses (poster); A predictive model of production loss under unanticipated shocks by extreme weather events (presentation)

        Sommer ohne Sonne - 4. Teil der Vortragsreihe zum 200. Jahrestag des Vulkanausbruchs Tambora, Stuttgart, Germany: Aus Tambora lernen und Verantwortung übernehmen. Die Herausforderung der Zukunft: Völker für Nachhaltigkeit. Klimawandel - auf welche Veränderungen müssen wir uns einstellen?

        May 2015

        European Climate Change Adaptation Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark: A model framework for evaluating damage propagation under different economic decision rationales - an example of river floods (poster)

        September 2014

        Auftaktveranstaltung Dialogforen Citizen Science, Leipzig, Germany (have a look at the zeean poster in German)

        July 2014

        22nd International Input-Output Conference, Lisbon, Portugal: An inhomogeneous approximation-and-update approach to refine multi-regional input-output tables

        May 2014

        Re:publica 14: Let's understand how the world functions (presentation)


        L. Wenz, S.N. Willner, A. Radebach, R. Bierkandt, J.C. Steckel, A. Levermann (2015): Regional and sectoral disaggregation of multi-regional input-output tables - a flexible algorithm, Economic Systems Research, 27, doi: 10.1080/09535314.2014.987731.

        R. Bierkandt, L. Wenz, S.N. Willner, A. Levermann (2014): Acclimate - a model for economic damage propagation. Part I: basic formulation of damage transfer within a global supply network and damage conserving dynamics, Environment, Systems and Decisions, 34, 507-524, doi: 10.1007/s10669-014-9523-4.

        L. Wenz, S.N. Willner, R. Bierkandt, A. Levermann (2014): Acclimate - a model for economic damage propagation. Part II: a dynamic formulation of the backward effects of disaster-induced productions failures in the global supply network, Environment, Systems and Decisions, 34, 525-539, doi: 10.1007/s10669-014-9521-6.

        I. Linkov, T. Bridges, F. Creutzig, J. Decker, C. Fox-Lent, W. Kröger, J.H. Lambert, A. Levermann, B. Montreuil, J. Nathwani, R. Nyer, O. Renn, B. Scharte, A. Scheffler, M. Schreurs,T. Thiel-Clemen (2014): Commentary: Changing the Resilience Paradigm, Nature Climate Change, 4, 407-409, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2227.

        A. Levermann (2014): Climate economics: Make supply chains climate-smart, Commentary in Nature, 506, 27-29, doi: 10.1038/506027a

        B. Marzeion & A. Levermann (2014): Loss of Cultural World Heritage and currently inhabited places to sea-level rise, Environmental Research Letters, 9, 034001, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/3/034001.

        J. Hinkel, D. Linke, A.T. Vafeidis, M. Perrette, R.J. Nicholls, R. Tol, B. Marzeion, X. Fettweis, C. Ionescu, A. Levermann (2014): Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 3292-3297, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222469111.

        J.A. Church, P.U. Clark, A. Cazenave, J.M. Gregory, S. Jevrejeva, A. Levermann, M.A. Merrifield, G.A. Milne, R.S. Nerem, P.D. Nunn, A.J. Payne, W.T. Pfeffer, D. Stammer, A.S. Unnikrishnan (2013): Letter to the Editor: Sea-Level Rise by 2100, Science, 342, 1445, doi: 10.1126/science.342.6165.1445-a.

        A. Levermann, P.U. Clark, B. Marzeion, G. Milne, D. Pollard, V. Radic, A. Robinson (2013): The multi-millennial sea-level commitment of global warming, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 13745-13750, doi:10.1073/pnas.1219414110.




        f.l.t.r.: Sabrina Dahlemann, Stefan Schinkel, Nicole Glanemann, Anders Levermann, Leonie Wenz, Sven Willner, Christian Otto, Sebastian Klipp, Torsten Albrecht


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