Home » The 2023 Congress » Programme » Inaugural WTUN Lecture – Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) (Hybrid/Public)

Inaugural WTUN Lecture – Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) (Hybrid/Public)

Tuesday 10 October 2023
11:00 – 12:00
Augustiner Kloster

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf

This session will be introduced and moderated by Prof Jens Wolling, Professor for Communication Research and Political Communication at the University of Ilmenau (TU Ilmenau).

Stefan Rahmstorf is Co-Head of Research Department on Earth System Analysis of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of Physics of the Oceans at the University of Potsdam. 

A physicist and physical oceanographer by training, Stefan Rahmstorf’s research focusses on paleoclimate, ocean circulation, sea level, extreme weather events and Earth System modeling.

After working at the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute and the Institute of Marine Science in Kiel, Stefan Rahmstorf joined PIK in 1996. He holds a professorship of Physics of the Oceans at the University of Potsdam since 2000. From 2004 to 2013 Stefan Rahmstorf advised the German government as a member of its Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU).

He is not only an outstanding and highly cited scientist but also a sought-after science communicator and speaker, winning e.g. the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union in 2017. He co-founded the award-winning Realclimate and KlimaLounge blogs and is Europe’s climate scientist with the most Twitter followers (2020).


“The public climate debate is often completely detached from what is known and debated among experts. It is strongly influenced by targeted disinformation, well-paid lobbying, media with political agendas often owned by super-rich people, populist politicians and elderly gentlemen desperately defending their worldview against inconvenient findings.

There is thus a huge disconnect between the expert discussion and the public debate on climate science and climate solutions. With thirty years of experience both in advancing climate science and communicating it to the public at large, I will present some observations and examples from both fronts, ranging from paleoclimate reconstructions (the ‘hockey stick’ curves) to heat pumps.”


Stefan Rahmstorf is professor of Physics of the Oceans at Potsdam University and head of the Earth System Analysis department of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. He is a member of the Academia Europaea and served the German government from 2004-2013 in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). He was also one of the lead authors of the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC. In 2007 he became an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales and in 2010 a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. In 2017 Stefan Rahmstorf was the first scientist outside the US to be awarded the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union. He has published over 130 scientific papers (40 of which in the leading Nature and Science journals and PNAS) and co-authored four books. Available in English are Our Threatened Oceans and The Climate Crisis.


  • Since 2005: Head of Research Department 1 Earth System Analysis (RD1) at PIK
  • Since 2000: Full Professor of the Physics of the Oceans, University of Potsdam
  • Since 1996: Research scientist at PIK
  • 1991-1995: Research scientist at the Kiel Oceanographic Institute
  • 1991: Post-doctoral scientist at the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, Wellington (New Zealand)


  • 1998: Habilitation at Kiel University with a postdoctoral thesis on the Stability of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation
  • 1987-1990: PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) at Victoria University and the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, Wellington (New Zealand)
  • 1986-1987: Master’s Thesis at University of Konstanz on general relativistic hydrodynamics with the title Stability of Density Fluctuations in an Expanding Universe in Harmonic Coordinates (diploma in physics with highest marks)
  • 1983-1986: Physics studies (diploma) at Constance University
  • 1982-1983: Post-graduate study in oceanography, University College of North Wales / Bangor University (Wales)
  • 1980-1982: Physics studies (intermediate diploma) at Ulm and Constance universities

Major engagements and other professional roles (selection)

  • Strategic board member of the Office for Climate Education (OCE) (since 2018)
  • Scientific Advisory Board of National Geographic Germany (since 2012)
  • Editorial Board of the open-access-journal Environmental Research Letters (since 2006)
  • Member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU, 2004-2013)
  • NOAA panel on Abrupt Climate Change (2001-2008)
  • Lead author of AR4 (2004-2007) and contributing author to TAR (1999-2001) for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Sustainability Council of the state government of Baden-Württemberg (2002-2005)

Source- https://www.pik-potsdam.de/members/stefan/homepage


© World Technology Universities Network 2024