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Climate Research

Against the background of the debate on contemporary climate change, it is critical to distinguish anthropogenic climate change from natural climate variability. By drawing on historical sources, climates of the past can be reconstructed while also analyzing the societal mechanisms for adjusting to changing climatic conditions.
For interpreting and evaluating contemporary debate about climate and climate change, it is important to know how climate evolved historically. On the one hand, historical climate analysis offers crucial points of comparison of contemporary climates with periods of natural or quasi-natural climatic fluctuations and extremes. On the other hand, many contemporary ideas, perceptions, but also fears, errors and myths about the climate are historically rooted. For example, the question of whether or not future climate can be predicted has been a societal desire and need since time immemorial – a need that has always been met with information differing significantly in accuracy. Climate has always been subject to human interpretation and often controversial discourses, such as differentiating between earlier "God given" climates and today’s stereotypical "man-made" climate. Analyzing historical climates allows for comparisons between the present and the past and thus provides ample opportunities for better understanding both historical and contemporary climatic processes. Retrospective assessment of the climate and climate change is typically based on standardized, official instrument time series. However, relevant data series usually only date back to the mid-19th century. Using historical analyses, additional data can be included, drawing on early, non-standardized instrument recordings, which date back to the 17th Century. Beyond that time frame, more relevant data can be gleaned from written sources, such as city chronicles, personal and harvest diaries, annals and many other forms of written tradition.

Research Interests related to Climate Research

  • Clim’ability
    Project Manager
    Glaser R
    Start/End of Project
    01.01.2016 until 31.08.2022
    Despite being one of the biggest challenges of our times, global climate change and its long term implications especially on a regional scale are still being underestimated, which might be due to the slow but steady character of change (in central European climate). Companies are rarely aware of their exposition to climate change induced risks and thus lack knowledge about possible adaptation measures. The companies in the Upper Rhine region are affected by complex vulnerability patterns. For this reason, the project’s goal is to develop individualized evaluation methods and adaptation strategies for local companies. The transnational aspect – the Upper Rhine region consists of a French, a German and a Swiss subregion - is a particular challenge for this project: risk perception as well as risk management approaches differ from country to country due to a specific political, institutional, historical and cultural setting. Here’s an overview of this project’s goals: vulnerability assessment and visualization in the Upper Rhine Metropolitan Region // conception of a survey that enables companies to self-check their vulnerability // climate risk consulting services (adaptation strategies) for affected companies // establishment of an expert network on climate change in the Upper Rhine Region // development of a CRE (collaborative research environment) as a central platform for data and information flow. The project is based on a past ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche)-funded project on climate change adaptation in the Upper Rhine Region that expired in December 2014. The results of Clim’Ability might serve as a model for other regions. Within the project, our team will be responsible for a regionalized in-depth vulnerability assessment and for the development of a web-based CRE that is supposed to serve as a platform for data and information exchange.
    Contact Person
    Scholze N
    Phone: +49-761-203-9127
    Journal Articles
    • Scholze N, Riach N, Glaser R: Assessing Climate Change in the Trinational Upper Rhine Region: How Can We Operationalize Vulnerability Using an Indicator-Based, Meso-Scale Approach? Sustainability, 2020; 12 (6323) : 1-21:
    • Scholze N, Glaser R, Roy S: Klimavulnerabilität von Unternehmen in der Metropolregion Oberrhein und ihre Visualisierung anhand von Wirkpfaden. revue d`Allemagne et des pays de langue allemande, 2018; 50 (2) : 325-335
    • Scholze N, Daus M, Glaser R: Le tourisme de neige en Forêt Noire: conséquences du changement climatique et stratégies d’adaptation 29.03. 2018 (Atelier de développement: Changement climatique: Quels futurs pour l’enneigement du massif des Vosges? Colmar)
    • Scholze N, Glaser R, Kahle M: Clim’Ability – Klimaanpassungsstrategien für Unternehmen in der Metropolregion Oberrhein 2016 (35. Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreis Klima)