Research on Climate Extremes: An Interview with Prof. Dr. Beate Ratter

19.05.2011

The “Climate Research Made in Hamburg“ interview series takes a look behind the scenes each month to introduce researchers working at the KlimaCampus. Beate M. W. Ratter is a professor at the Institute for Geography at the University of Hamburg and director of the “Human Dimensions of Coastal Areas” department in the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. At the KlimaCampus, Ratter’s work takes place at the interface between the liberal arts and natural sciences, and she is an active participant in the “Climate Change and Regional Geohazards” project.

Extreme climate events can take on catastrophic proportions. The ecological and socioeconomic effects of natural catastrophes are often the results of events typical of a particular area - whether those are earthquakes, tsunamis or storm floods. These incidents represent a permanent threat to the people in these regions, in part because they can be repeated at any time. When those affected are aware of the threat, then they can better prepare and possibly limit the consequences of such extreme events.

Beate Ratter has researched the consciousness of populations with regard to the risks of extreme events in many regions of the world. Her research focuses on how those affected deal with these threats and how media reports and personal experiences influence social memory.

Prof. Dr. Hans von Storch, Director of the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, and Junior Professor Dr. Mike S. Schäfer, Director of the “Media Constructions” working group at the KlimaCampus in Hamburg, discussed with Beate Ratter her “calling”.

To the interview