Climate Research in Germany

Climate Research in Germany - an overview

In Germany, climate research is based on a diverse, at times strongly subdivided system which includes various actors: federal authorities, German states, the institutions of the Helmholtz Association, the Leibniz Association, and the Max Planck Society, universities, cooperative institutions as well as companies. They all contribute to climate research.

Goals of their actions are:

  • To collect climate data and observe climate development
  • Climate modelling as well as the development of projections and forecasts
  • The evaluation of results of climate diagnoses and projections plus their assessment – also interdisciplinary
  • To provide competent advice for all users in politics, society, economy, and science
  • To construct climate expertise world-wide – capacity building

Institutions focused on climatologic questions, such as the Max Planck Society, the Leibniz Association, or the Helmholtz Association, together with several university institutions, the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ), Germany’s National Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst – DWD), and other members, constitute the German Climate Consortium (Deutsches Klima-Konsortium e.V. – DKK).

Collection of Climate Data and Observation of Climate Development

Especially Germany’s National Meteorological Service (DWD) and most members of the Helmholtz Association, but also various (insurance) companies have a large share in the collection of climate data and observe climate development.

DWD with the NKDZ, CDC, WZN, GCC, and other facilities

Helmholtz Association with HZG, AWI, UFT, KIT, and others


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Modelling, Projecting, and Predicting the Climate

Primarily organisations of the Max Planck Society (such as the MPI-M), the Leibniz Association (such as the PIK), as well as various cooperative institutions (like the DKRZ, ZMAW, CLM community) and a number of university institutions work on climate modelling.


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Competent Advice

Above all, the authorities and programmes of many German states, the federal authorities, such as the DWD (for example regional climate offices) as well as the UBA together with the CSC and regional climate offices of the Helmholtz Association add to the consultancy.


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Evaluation and Assessment of Climate Diagnoses and Projections

Eventually, almost all of the institutional fields mentioned, evaluate and survey climate data and modelling results. Merely the facilities of the Max Planck Society do not work as much on this task, due to their orientation towards basic research.


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Capacity Building - Construction of Global Climate Expertise

To create an international basis for the construction of climate expertise world-wide, the World Climate Conference 3 (WCC-3), which took place in September 2009, decided on the setup of a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). Climate services rely on well functioning observation systems, local climate research, as well as the ability to create climate models for specific applications. Another important element is the communication with all users, in order to provide customer-oriented climate services.

Many nations need modern climate services. Developing countries, especially in Africa, yet also emerging countries in Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe are counted among those. To the capacity building, thus the construction of this ability, numerous institutions of German climate research contribute valuable experience. It reaches from technical infrastructure over to efficient climate and environment counselling.

The first step in the process involves the construction of a running meteorological observation system, its associated data management, as well as the operational support. Secondly, the climate service, especially a long-term filing of weather and climate data, follows together with climate diagnosis.

Today, the demand for climate information, which is vital for the adaption to the prospective climate, becomes the focal point within the context of climate change. The German Climate Consortium (DKK), whose research network develops solution approaches, was founded in 2008 in order to represent climate research in Germany. However, climate change is a global concern. Particularly many developing countries must face serious consequences. To these nations, help must be offered. This cooperation is definitely of mutual benefit, for instance in agriculture or urban planning.

Especially megacities in developing countries face enormous challenges. Already today, they must orientate their city planning in a manner so it can cushion the future rise in temperature caused by the expected climate change. Improved weather forecast and seasonal predictions might optimise the use of resources in agriculture. With climate projects, experts can moreover help examining and consequently rerouting options for the cultivation of alternative agricultural products in time. In this way, they too can make their contribution to the fight against starvation.


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