South German Climate Office

Background and Goals

Climate change will take different forms in different regions. Farmers, coastal engineers, urban planners and political and business decision makers need first-hand information so that they can equip themselves to deal with climate change in their region. The Helmholtz community has therefore decided to establish a network of climate offices across Germany. The four regional climate offices will collate and communicate research findings on regional climate change, record information needs and integrate these into research programmes:

  1. Northern German climate office - focuses on the research areas of storms, storm floods and waves, and energy and water cycles in Northern Germany;
  2. Climate office for polar regions and sea level rises - covers climate change issues in polar regions, with particular focus on sea levels;
  3. Southern German climate office - provides expertise in regional climate modelling and extreme events such as heavy precipitation and flooding;
  4. Central German climate office - provides information on the impact of climate change in terms of the environment, land use and society, as well as proposing adaptation strategies.

South German climate office - Expertise on climate issues:

The latest research shows that the climate has changed in the past decades, both globally and regionally. This is backed up by numerous scientific studies, some of the results of which are summarised in the IPCC's 4th assessment report. Because of the current discussion on possible effects of climate change, there is a huge demand for scientific facts, detailed regional climate data, advice and competence support.

The Southern German climate office utilises the expertise in fundamental and applied climate research available in the research centre's various institutions and at the University of Karlsruhe (TH). However, it also acts as an interface for other scientific facilities in the Southern German region, which have developed considerable expertise in different areas on the issue of climate change. Federal (e.g. the German Meteorological Office) and state institutions (e.g. the Baden-Württemberg State Institute for Environment, Measurement and Conservation) are already performing important roles in climate monitoring and have significant involvement in important research programmes.

The objective of the South German climate office is to provide scientific information about climate in the South German Region and to answer questions on anthropogenic changes. The climate office acts as an interface between research and practice. It is primarily aimed at decision makers from climate related areas in public authorities, policy, and business. In addition, it provides a link between academics and the general public and media representatives. Thanks to contacts at different levels, specific practical and application issues can be identified and incorporated into research.

The Southern German climate office's activities include providing scientific facts, detailed regional data and specific findings from the region from previous climate studies, and offering advice and expert support in the following areas:

  • Climate data and research results: Based on the measured data and research results available at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), a range of expertise can be provided. This includes producing data for specific requirements, for example urban and spatial planning and municipal energy requirements, and running small measuring programmes as a service. Where these overlap with the activities of the German Meteorological Office or other public institutions and private companies, the work is referred to them.
  • Research work on regional climate scenarios: Based on detailed regional climate model calculations, various scenarios for the past and forecast climate can be produced for specific regions in Southern Germany. The Southern German climate office can be engaged to carry out work on specific issues involving regional climate.
  • Presentations and media articles: The Southern German climate office provides specialist presentations on various themes relating to climate and climate change. These cover a broad spectrum of climate related topics, including the greenhouse effect, physical principles and extent, climate and observed change in Southern Germany, natural disasters and climate change, aerosols and climate, climate change and air quality, and regional climate scenarios for Southern Germany.

Content time

Research area/region

Country
  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Bavaria
Natural spatial classification
  • Alp and North Bavarian hills
  • Alps
  • Erz Mountains, Thuringian Forest and Bavarian Forest

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

Global climate projections from the 4th IPCC assessment report (2007).

Comprehensive climate data is available for the Southern Germany region from various institutions. Data from the KIT includes

- Annual average daily temperature at the Karlsruhe research centre (from 1973)

- Annual total precipitation at the Karlsruhe research centre (from 1973)

- Annual average daily temperature for the last 50 years in Karlsruhe

- Database of historic natural hazards in Baden-Württemberg

- Data from REKLIP stations in Baden-Württemberg

- REKLIP Upper Rhine Central/South climate atlas

Current measurements are available from:

- Weather station at the Rheinstetten gliding airfield

- Weather station on the roof of the physics tower at the University of Karlsruhe

- Panoramic camera on the roof of the physics tower at the University of Karlsruhe

- Measurements on the 200m mast at the Karlsruhe research centre

- Karlsruhe AERONET station

- Karlsruhe research centre precipitation radar

- Early warning of weather risks

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
Further Parameters 

extreme events

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Supporting adaptation to climate change with information and communication.

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)

Participants

Funding / Financing 

Helmholtz Association

Project management 

The South German Climate Office is an institution of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (TIK), a cooperation by the Research Centre Karlsruhe and the University of Karlsruhe.

Cooperation/Partners 

Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, University of Karlsruhe (TH);

Cooperation:
The South German Climate Office takes advantage of the expert knowledge offered by various institutes of the research centre and the University of Karlsruhe (TH) (KIT divisions) for fundamental and applied climate research. Other scientific centres in the South of Germany which have developed high-level expertise in different fields relating to climate change are also incorporated here (associated institutions) .

KIT institutions:
Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, division Troposphere Research (IMK-TRO), Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, division Atmospheric Trace Gases and Remote Sensing (IMK-ASF), Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, division Atmospheric Aerosol Research (IMK-AAF), Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, division Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM), Institute for Hydromechanics, Laboratory of Building and Environmental Aerodynamics (IfH-LGU), Institute for Water and River Basin Management (IWG), Institute for Entrepreneurship (IEP)

Associated institutions:
Land Institute for Environment, Measurements and Nature Conservation(LUBW), Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), German Aerospace Centre, Institute of Atmospheric Physics (DLR-IPA), Meteorological Institute, University of Freiburg (MeteoUniFR), Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Frankfurt (IAU), Institute for Physics and Meteorology, University of Hohenheim (IPM), Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER), University of Trier, Department of Environmental Meteorology University of Mainz, Institute for Atmospheric Physics

Contact

Süddeutsches Klimabüro
Kaiserstraße 12
76128 Karlsruhe

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Fields of action:
 agriculture  biological diversity  coastal and marine protection  energy sector  financial services industry  human health  industry and commerce  spatial, regional and urban land use planning  tourism industry  water regime, water management  cross sectoral