Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

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Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Former Astrophysical Observatory Potsdam , today Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Category: research Institute
Carrier: legally independent
Legal form of the carrier: Registered association
Membership: Leibniz Association
Facility location: Potsdam
Type of research: Basic research
Subjects: Natural sciences , social sciences
Areas of expertise: Climatology , meteorology , geography , ecology , economy
Basic funding: Federal government (50%), states (50%)
Management: Ottmar Edenhofer and Johan Rockström
Employee: about 300
Homepage: pik-potsdam.de

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research ( PIK ) is a scientific research institute organized as a registered association with its seat in the Brandenburg city ​​of Potsdam . He examines scientifically and socially significant issues in the areas of global change, global warming and sustainable development . Researchers from the natural, economic and social sciences work together to gain interdisciplinary insights that can be used as the basis for decisions in politics, business and civil society.

The most important methodological approaches at PIK are system and scenario analysis, quantitative and qualitative modeling, computer simulation and data integration. The PIK is, among other things, active in the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), it supports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its presentation of the scientific state of knowledge about global warming and helped to create the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment .

The seat is in the Michelsonhaus on the Potsdamer Telegraphenberg .


The institute was founded in 1992 as a non-profit, registered association , with the organs of the general assembly, the board of trustees, the executive board and a scientific advisory board. At the end of 2018, PIK employed 315 people, of which 208 were scientific and 107 scientific support staff. Institutional funding is provided roughly half by the federal and state governments, plus third-party funding for research projects.

The founding director of PIK was Professor of Theoretical Physics Hans Joachim Schellnhuber , who headed the institute until September 2018. PIK is a member of the Leibniz Association , an association of non-university research institutes.

There are four different research areas at PIK. Research Area I Earth System Analysis examines the coupled dynamics of the physiosphere , biosphere and anthroposphere under natural and man-made driving factors. Research area heads are Stefan Rahmstorf and Wolfgang Lucht . Research area II Climate Impact and Vulnerability analyzes and evaluates climate impacts and adaptation options, including socio-economic costs. Research area manager is Hermann Lotze-Campen . Research Area III Sustainable Solution Strategies examines strategies and political instruments to avoid climate change and to adapt to inevitable climate change. Research area heads are Ottmar Edenhofer and Anders Levermann . Research Area IV Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods examines complex networks and dynamic processes in social and natural systems. Research area heads are Jürgen Kurths and Helga Weisz .


The PIK was founded in 1992 with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber as director. It is located in Potsdam in the Albert Einstein Science Park on Telegraphenberg , near the main train station. The main building of the PIK, today called Michelsonhaus, was inaugurated in 1879 as the seat of the world's first astrophysical observatory - the Astrophysical Observatory Potsdam (AOP) and the earliest predecessor of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP). The brick building designed by Emanuel Spieker is crowned by three domes, only one of which is now occasionally used for observing the sky. In the cellar under the east dome, the famous Michelson experiment took place in 1881 , with which Albert A. Michelson looked for the speed of the ether relative to the earth. In the same building, Karl Schwarzschild (1873-1916), the director of the observatory at the time, found Albert Einstein's first exact solution of the field equations of the general theory of relativity in 1915 .

The building used by PIK today is part of a complex that already served the purpose of investigating the relationships between earth, sun and climate. In 1924 the Einstein Tower was added, which was built to experimentally confirm Einstein's theories; this is still part of the AIP.

In 2001, the institute and six other research institutions founded the European Climate Forum . In 2019, together with the Charité, it established the first professorship for climate change and health under the direction of Sabine Gabrysch .


The 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report of the University of Pennsylvania rated the PIK as influential think tank in the area of environmental and climate research (No. 120 overall).

In August 2020, the institute published the recommendation for the generation contract on climate and corona , which is reported across Germany.

Web links

Commons : Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. VR 1038, Potsdam
  2. ^ PIK organization. In: pik-potsdam.de. Retrieved September 14, 2019 .
  3. National Geographic Germany - Sea level continues to rise despite climate protection measures ( Memento of October 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). Article dated June 28, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  4. Süddeutsche.de - US researchers: Heat waves are the result of climate change ( Memento from August 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). Article dated August 5, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  5. Spiegel Online - A weakening sun triggered ancient cold spells . Article by Markus Becker from May 6, 2012. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  6. Der Tagesspiegel - To do justice to the earth . Article by Wolfgang Lucht on April 7, 2012. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  7. General Association of the German Insurance Industry eV - Climate Brochure 2011 ( Memento of the original from September 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Retrieved August 27, 2012. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.gdv.de
  8. Frankfurter Rundschau - Horoscope for the Elbe ( Memento from May 31, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). Article by Kerstin Viering on May 30, 2012. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  9. Frankfurter Allgemeine - The illusion of green growth . Article by Ottmar Edenhofer and Michael Jakob from March 1, 2012. Retrieved on August 27, 2012.
  10. Deutschlandfunk - "Economic growth can be reconciled with climate policy" . Interview by Tobias Armbrüster with Ottmar Edenhofer on June 20, 2012. Accessed on August 27, 2012.
  11. ^ Süddeutsche.de - Kassel in the boiler . Article by Christopher Schrader dated January 25, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  12. ^ First professorship for climate change and health in Germany. In: pik-potsdam.de. June 17, 2019, accessed September 14, 2019 .
  13. James G. McGann: 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. In: Scholarly Commons, Penn Libraries. University of Pennsylvania, January 31, 2018, accessed August 18, 2018 .
  14. ARD-Tagesschau: Climate and corona crisis: generation contract proposed

Coordinates: 52 ° 22 ′ 50 "  N , 13 ° 3 ′ 51.6"  E