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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


  • Geomorphic and hydrologic implications of permafrost degradation in the Alps (GeoHype)
    Project Manager
    Blöthe J, Kraushaar S
    Start/End of Project
    01.06.2018 until 01.06.2020
    Description
    High-mountain environments are highly sensitive towards a warming climate, which is dramatically reflected by the shrinkage of alpine glaciers. With more and more glaciers disappearing, attention has moved towards the hydrological importance of ice stored in the periglacial environment, projected to exceed glacier ice volume in the European Alps by the mid-21st century. However, surprisingly little is known about the current state of the ice stored in the periglacial zones of alpine landscapes. Our project aims to disentangle the contribution of active layer and permafrost body to the summer runoff from the upper Kaiserberg catchment in the Austrian Alps. To achieve this goal, we combine repeated electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surveys on the Kaiserberg rock glacier with continuous discharge measurements from two hydrological stations that we installed in the basin. We further collect water samples over the course of the summer that are analysed for δ18O and δ2H isotopes and the radio nuclide 129I , that allow us to differentiate thawing permafrost from active-layer or precipitation derived discharge.
    Financing
    Dr. Hohmann Förderung der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Köln; Hanna Bremer Stiftung
    Publications
    Journal Articles
  • Challenges of Reservoir Management (CHARM)
    Project Manager
    Glaser R
    Start/End of Project
    01.01.2016 until 31.12.2020
    Description
    Weltweit dienen Reservoire essentiellen Zwecken wie der Wasser- und Energieversorgung, dem Hochwasserrückhalt, der Schiffbarmachung der Gewässer und – nicht zuletzt – der Naherholung und dem Tourismus. In Zukunft wird die Bedeutung dieser künstlich angelegten Wasserkörper durch die erwarteten Veränderungen im Zuge des Klimawandels und der demographische Entwicklung weltweit ansteigen. Allerdings führen Dammbauten immer wieder zu Nutzungskonflikten und entsprechenden gesellschaftlichen Spannungen zwischen unterschiedlichen Interessengruppen, da sie mit intensiven Eingriffen in die Landschaft einhergehen. Diese umfassen sowohl ökologische als auch ökonomische, soziale und infrastrukturelle Aspekte. Besondere und neue Herausforderungen sind die mit Schad- und Nährstoffen sowie organischem Material belasteten Sedimentakkumulationen innerhalb der Reservoire, die zu toxischen Blaualgenblüten und zur Produktion klimawirksamer Treibhausgase führen können. Die Sedimentablagerungen beeinträchtigen zudem allein durch ihre Quantität die Funktion und den Betrieb der Anlagen. Für eine nachhaltige, konsensfähige Speicherbewirtschaftung, in der auch diese neuen Entwicklungen und Änderungen Berücksichtigung finden, ist die Ausarbeitung eines integrierten, vernetzten Managementkonzeptes, das eine möglichst umfassende Analyse der relevanten Faktoren vorsieht, von große Bedeutung. Das Vorhaben CHARM wird im Rahmen der Wassernetzwerkinitiative Baden-Württemberg vom Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst gefördert. Beteiligt sind an diesem Projekt die Physische Geographie der Universität Freiburg, das Institut für Wasser- und Umweltsystemmodellierung der Universität Stuttgart sowie das Limnologische Institut der Universität Konstanz. Am Lehrstuhl für Physische Geographie der Universität Freiburg werden die gesellschaftlichen Implikationen und Konflikte von Reservoiren an regionalen Fallbeispielen analysiert, um damit Beiträge zu einem integrierten, vernetzten Managementkonzept zu liefern. Die transdisziplinäre Kooperation der Projektpartner ist notwendig, um einen integrativen, holistischen Analyseahmen gewährleiten zu können.
    Contact Person
    Stork K, Daus M
    Email: katharina.stork@geographie.uni-freiburg.de, milan.daus@geographie.uni-freiburg.de
    Financing
    Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg
    Publications
    Recitations
    • Glaser R, Daus M, Koberger K: Understanding Reservoirs - Managing Reservoirs Sustainably. 08.10. 2018 (Symposium Wassernetzwerk Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart)
  • Clim’ability
    Project Manager
    Glaser R
    Start/End of Project
    01.01.2016 until 31.08.2022
    Description
    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
    Email: nicolas.scholze@geographie.uni-freiburg.de
    Financing
    EU-INTERREG V, EU-INTERREG V
    Publications
    Journal Articles
    • 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
    Recitations
    • 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)
  • Drought impacts, processes and resilience: making the invisible visible (DRIeR)
    Project Manager
    Glaser R
    Start/End of Project
    01.01.2016 until 31.12.2020
    Description
    The Physical Geography Freiburg is part of the interdisciplinary research network DRIeR ("Drought impacts, processes and resilience: making the invisible visible") and involved with a subproject. The DRIeR -consortium consists of researchers from the Universities of Freiburg (hydrology, geography, forestry, forestry and environmental policy), Heidelberg (geography and law) and Tübingen (with Plant Ecology) and is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg within the research program "Wasserforschung Baden-Württemberg" for five years. The aim of the project DRIeR is the analyzation of the various effects and influences by extreme dryness and drought n Baden Württemberg with a particular focus on achieving visibility of the results for the society and the different actors. Therefore the DRIeR-network will develop a sustainable IT- based platform for the internal communication, but also for the knowledge mediation to the public and bearer of public interests. Particular research questions and fields of work are: • Indicators and effect reports for risk modelling • Climate reconstruction by means of historical sources and dendrochronological analyses • Drying experiments for the investigation of resistance and resilience of plants • Hydrologic modelling for the simulation of water availability with different climate and land use scenarios • comparative analyses concerning the juridical framework as well as water-political and environmental directives Finally, the objective is to present concepts for social resilience against dryness and drought and to develop adaptation measures. The Physical Geography Freiburg devotes itself in particular to the climate reconstruction of dryness- and drought-events for a better hazard evaluation within the scope of the risk assessment. Besides, questions concerning the IT- based knowledge- and communication platform will be addressed.
    Contact Person
    Erfurt M
    Email: mathilde.erfurt@geographie.uni-freiburg.de
    Financing
    Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg
    Publications
    Journal Articles
    Recitations
    • Erfurt M, Skiadaresis G, Blauhut V, Tijdeman E: A Drought Catalogue for Baden-Württemberg, 2019 (Science Workshop Hydrology, Aitern 11.02.2019)
    • Glaser R, Erfurt M, Himmelsbach I, Bösmeier A, Kahle M: Drought reconstructions, impacts, processes and resilience since 1500 for the German Southwest, 2017 (Adaptation and Resilience to Droughts – Historical Perspectives in Europe and Beyond. University of Strasbourg (France), 1-2.6.2017)
  • Hisklid: Historische Klimadatenbank
    Project Manager
    Glaser R
    Start/End of Project
    since 01.01.1997 (unlimited)
    Description
    This research group has dealt with the historical climatology of Central Europe since the early 1980s. The term “historical” is defined as the period before the official and standardized measurements, using special instruments, set in – as far as people’s notes are available. The database HISKLID contains all refined and elaborate source texts that were found. Most importantly the database includes descriptive notes of the weather, allusions to extreme weather situations, weather diaries, but also so-called proxy data like harvest dates, icing of rivers and estuaries (or even larger parts of the sea), water levels (usually found on house walls) or dendrochronological evidence. These proxy data are complemented by earlier measurement data using measurement instruments. Data sets, which are highly informative, go back to the year 1000 AD. In many cases the sources even contain information about the effects, repercussions and aftermaths of climatic extremes.
    Contact Person
    Dr. Klaus Braun
    Phone: +49-(0)761-203-9223
    Email: klaus.braun@geographie.uni-freiburg.de
    Financing
    Paläoklimaprogramm (BMFT), Universitätsbund der Universität Würzburg, BayFORKLIM (Bayrisches Forschungsklimaprogramm), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Publications
    Journal Articles
    • Glaser R, Riemann D: A thousand-year record of temperature variations for Germany and Central Europe based on documentary data J Quaternary Sci, 2009; 24 (5) : 437-449