In her opening address, Senator Stapelfeldt above all stressed the value of climate research for the city of Hamburg, northern Germany and northern Europe. “From among your ranks come essential new research directions on the impacts of climate change. Your work has a direct effect on this city. We are proud of the Cluster of Excellence CliSAP and will continue to support Hamburg-based climate research in the future,” stated Stapelfeldt.
Following the Senator’s speech, Cluster Speaker Prof. Anita Engels addressed the roughly 200 guests in attendance, calling for even more intensive collaboration between diverse working groups: “We are a multifaceted community with different academic specialties and methods. One of our most important goals for the new year is to bundle our expertise even more so than in the past.”
In his subsequent laudatio, Prof. Hermann Held praised the dissertation of this year’s Köppen Prize recipient, Dr. Jonathan Friedemann Donges, in which the theoretical physicist made significant advances in network analysis methods, which he used to study time series from paleoarchives and climate models. In the course of this work, he completed the first-ever diagnosis of climate changes in northern and eastern Africa from roughly one to three million years ago during the Pliocene and Pleistocene, changes that had previously gone unnoticed. The insights gained could help us to better grasp the evolution of modern human beings. Further, Dr. Donges’ research provides a more systematic approach to describing interconnections in our climate system. As Prof. Held summarized, “His work approaches the climate system from a perspective we’ve never seen before."