Project computes climate change impact

Will there be a Riesling vintage of 2050? – Computing climate change impacts

ClimateImpactsOnline.com – the internet portal which enables you to investigate the impacts of climate change on Germany by means of your computer, was developed jointly by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the company WetterOnline Meteorologische Dienstleistungen GmbH  as a part of the CIES (Climate Impact Expert System) project.

The CIES project is funded through the Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). CIES Project Lead Prof. Dr. F.-W. Gerstengarbe from PIK explains the benefits: “Our relationship with Climate-KIC allows us to find new ways of implementing our experience and knowledge. Climate-KIC supports us to find opportunities for cooperation and delivers helpful consulting service”.

In the past numerous individual studies on climate impacts in Germany have been prepared by various institutions. These studies differ by aim, region and time period of interest. The goal of the CIES project is to present the regional and local impacts of global climate change on the hydrology, agriculture, forest, energy, tourism and health sectors. To do so, CIES uses a “model chain” developed at the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The simulation models in the chain have been developed in concert and are specifically tuned to each other, having been interconnected in past studies and projects. Collaborating in this project is the company WetterOnline, which provides its longstanding experience processing and presenting weather related data in an accessible way for the public via mobile (such as iPad) and web-enabled devices as used in offices (such as standard PC).

As a major result in 2012, the first version of the CIES online platform – which integrates various information on climate change and climate change impacts for Germany – was developed. The platform was first presented to the public by launching the web portals  climateimpactsonline.com  (English version) and www.klimafolgenonline.com (German version) at the Conference “Climate Impacts for Germany” on 24 September 2012 in Berlin.

The websites offer information on numerous interesting parameters, e. g., climate parameters like temperature or precipitation, or data on climate change impacts, like agricultural yields or ground water recharge. They are designed to give various target groups in Germany access to compact information about the climate projections and sectoral climate effects. Users can view a wide range of parameters, such as temperatures, crop yields, or the risk of forest fires. Data is available for the period 1901-2010 (observed data), and 2011-2100 (simulated data). Parameters are grouped into sectors: climate, agriculture, forestry, hydrology, and tourism/energy. The information provides the basis for specific adaptation options in the individual sectors. This approach will enable a new level of synthesis describing the interactions between sectors. Besides maps the platform makes charts, time series and time tables as well as data for further research available. The information provided is available to users free of cost.

Doha presentationWithin the pilot study, the model chain has been provided for Germany to start with. The aim is, however, to deploy this information for a possibly highest number of regions and users worldwide by developing tailor made product solutions for the respective sectors. Climate-KIC partner Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research therefore presented the project at the Doha Climate Change Conference in December 2012. The CIES project team attracted great interest and made various contacts with governments, NGOs and research institutes from Latvia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India, Nicaragua and many other countries.

Drs. ing. Marcel Bastiaanssen from ARCADIS Nederland BV is very positive: “The regionalized climate models that are developed by the CIES project have shown a lot of potential to be used by customers in the private – and public sector”.

Further collaborations and increased Entrepreneurship and Education activities are currently in preparation. And the Riesling vintage of 2050 will presumably be a good one, check it out on climateimpactsonline.com.