(The Lecture will be given in German without translation)
Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has been Director of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research since he founded the institute in 1992. He is Professor for Theoretical Physics at the University of Potsdam, Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).
Increasingly, the modern theory of complex systems contributes to our understanding of the forces and interdependencies that cause the confusing dynamics of the global climate system on all timescales. In particular, research recently succeeded in largely solving the riddle of the quasi-periodic icing of the Northern Hemisphere during the past 2.5 million years. Due to massive greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the planet’s natural environment is now being shaped by anthropogenic forces that may activate so-called “tipping elements” in fundamental components of the climate system (ice sheets, mega-ecosystems, atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns, etc.). The lecture will attempt to retrace the most important aspects of historical climate dynamics as well as to identify the most critical developments likely to be triggered by ill-considered human interventions.