News from the center

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The Science Journalists (WPK) visit the KIT Center for Climate and Environment (ZKU)

On Tuesday morning, March 21, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., we welcomed the WPK - The Science Journalists - to the KIT Center for Climate and Environment (ZKU). First, the managing director Dr. Kirsten Hennrich informed about the focus of the ZKU Soil-Water-Air & Subsurface and the cross-cutting topics of nature-based and technical solutions. The scientific spokesperson Prof. Dr. Christoph Hilgers presented the global challenges of geo-energy to the guests - the associated raw materials, the metals for the German energy transition and the development of geothermal energy globally and nationally. The deputy topic spokesperson for georesources, Prof. Dr. Philipp Blum, then presented shallow geothermal energy using numerous examples. The guests were also given an overview of the successes and failures of shallow and deep geothermal projects, as well as ongoing international large-scale research projects. Exciting questions allowed the challenges of energy and raw material availability and the contribution and potential of geothermal projects to be explained using practical examples in the wider region.

The day before, the topic spokesperson for georesources, Prof. Dr. Jochen Kolb, had already traveled around Karlsruhe with the WPK group and showed the group his research project on lithium extraction in Bruchsal and the ongoing Graben-Neudorf geothermal borehole.

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44th Sparkasse Environment Prize

Sparkasse Karlsruhe Ettlingen has always felt a close connection not only to its customers, but also, in line with its public mandate, to the population, companies and institutions in its business area. For more than 200 years, this has also been expressed in a strong focus on the common good. For this reason, and in agreement with the then University Fridericiana Karlsruhe, Sparkasse Karlsruhe established a foundation on October 29, 1979 to promote outstanding scientific work that serves the common good, in particular the solution of environmental protection problems. In 2023, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Sparkasse Karlsruhe Environmental Foundation will be awarding the Sparkasse Environmental Prize for the 44th time.


Open Day 2023 at Campus North - we were there!

On June 17, 2023, the Open Day 2023 took place on the North Campus and we were also there together with the South German Climate Office and the CEDIM with a large tent all about climate and the environment!


KIT Environment Lecture

Forest ecosystems under drought stress in climate change

Prof. Dr. Christiane Werner


Karlsruhe Environmental Impulses 2023

Raw materials, ethics and circular economy

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Download Graphic Novel

(only available in German)


That was the Knowledge Week 2023...

Knowledge Week Environment & Resources: safe.clean.use

July 3 - 8, 2023, for one week everything at TRIANGEL Transfer | Culture | Space revolved around the environment and resources with lectures, discussions, cinema, theater, workshops and a family day - a review.


Annual conference and award ceremony Sparkassen-Umwelt-Preis 2022

The Sparkassen-Umwelt-Preis was awarded on July 27, 2023 in the Senate Hall of the KIT in the festive setting of the annual conference of the KIT Center Climate and Environment After the greetings from the Presidium by Prof. Oliver Kraft and the City of Karlsruhe by Bettina Lisbach and the Sparkasse Environmental Foundation by Michael Huber, the short presentations of the prize winners and the awarding of the Sparkassen-Umwelt-Preis 2022 took place (moderated by Prof. Olivier Eiff).


Visit from Shanghai

On September 19, the Vice President of Tongji University Prof. Lei Xinghui visited KIT and the KIT Center for Climate and Environment with a delegation to discuss possible cooperation in the field of environmental sciences. The AIDA cloud chamber was also visited in this context. Prof. Dieter Stapf (ITC) and Prof. Hans Henning Stutz (IBF) gave insights into their research work. Prof. Thomas Leisner (IMK-AAF) presented aerosol research at KIT and guided the delegation through the cloud chamber.

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Research for a future worth living

The Earth is characterized by climate and environmental change. Living conditions are changing rapidly and drastically in the 21st century. Demographic, technical and economic developments are affecting the availability and quality of important resources such as air, water, food, energy and raw materials. This makes countries and societies vulnerable. This shows that Climate and environmental research is facing major new challenges.

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10 years KIT Center for Climate and Environment

Here you will find our brochure on 10 years of the KIT Center for Climate and Environment.

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(only available in German)


News from research

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Climate and biodiversity crisis must not be viewed in isolation

Climate change, together with the intensive use and destruction of natural ecosystems, has triggered an unprecedented, progressive loss of species. However, the climate and biodiversity crises are often treated as separate disasters. An international team of researchers, in which the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is also involved, is now calling for a rethink: In their overview study published in the journal Science, they emphasize the urgency of staying as close as possible to the 1.5-degree target and support, among other things, the plan to place at least 30 percent of land, freshwater and ocean areas under protection.

Press release

On the trail of thunderstorms - from source clouds to groundwater formation

Hail, heavy rain and flooding have become more frequent and more severe in their impact on people and the environment in recent years. They are the natural events with the greatest damage potential in Germany. In order to better deal with these extreme weather events in the long term, researchers in the "Swabian MOSES" measurement campaign coordinated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are investigating their development processes and consequences. The aim of the campaign, which is now taking place for the second time, is to understand the full life cycle of thunderstorms - from their formation and intensification to their immediate effects.

to the campaign page

press release


Climate Research: New Dome for the KIT Atmospheric Observatory on the Zugspitze

The refitting of Germany's highest research laboratory required a complete refurbishment of the interior and the entire roof area on which the dome was installed. This work, which was challenging at this height, was carried out in close cooperation with the KIT Planning and Construction Department and with the support of the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn (BZB). The first highlight of the refit was the replacement of the observatory dome on the Zugspitze. On July 24 and 25, 2023, the old slit dome from 1994 was replaced by a new one that can be opened to waist height and allows two remote sensing methods to be used simultaneously without having to adjust the dome.

Press release

Climate protection: carbon sink shrinks due to land use changes

Carbon sinks on the land surface can mitigate the greenhouse effect. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and other research institutions have brought together various data sources and determined that the majority of total European carbon storage takes place through above-ground biomass in Eastern Europe. However, this carbon sink has declined, primarily due to changes in land use.

Press release

Global heatwave 2023: July brought the hottest three weeks on record

The first three weeks of July 2023 were the hottest three-week period globally to date. In Germany, twice as many people were exposed to daily temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and higher in the summer months of 2023 than the average for the years 1980 to 1999, according to a study now published at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). As the researchers at the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM) at KIT further report, the population's exposure to heat was highest in Italy in Europe.

Press release

Factsheet on securing raw materials

Prof. Jochen Kolb and Prof. Christoph Hilgers from KIT and Dr. Peter Buchholz from the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) have summarized the current developments in the field of national and international raw material security.

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(only available in German)


"We have to overcome two crises"

Numerous microorganisms, fungi, plants and animals create a unique biodiversity on Earth. They help to ensure that humans live in a stable climate and that natural cycles function properly. However, climate change is leading to changes in ecosystems and biodiversity. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are investigating how climate protection and nature conservation can be combined.

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More sustainable agriculture through global redistribution of nitrogen fertilizer

A growing world population needs sufficient food. Their production leads to increased nitrogen pollution in agriculture due to over-fertilization, which has a negative impact on people, the climate and ecosystems. Models developed by researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) show that today's grain production could be maintained with significantly less total global fertilization if the use of nitrogen fertilizer were distributed evenly across the world's cultivated areas.

Press release

Land use: Producing more food and storing more carbon at the same time

Doubling food production, saving water and increasing carbon storage at the same time - it sounds paradoxical, but it would be theoretically possible, at least according to the Earth's biophysical potential. However, a radical spatial reorganization of land use would be necessary. This is what researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation Technology (HeiGIT), an affiliated institute of Heidelberg University, have discovered. They have published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Press release

KIT plans climate research in space

The CAIRT satellite mission is becoming increasingly likely. It aims to clarify how the Earth's atmosphere reacts to climate change. The European Space Agency (ESA) has now selected the proposal coordinated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as one of two remaining candidates for an Earth observation mission. The final decision will be made in 2025.

Press release

Jörg Helmschrot and Harald Kunstmann on the World Climate Conference: "Early warning systems for all are a contribution to greater climate justice"

The future of the global climate agreement will be at stake at the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai (COP28) from November 30 to December 12, 2023. Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) want to use this opportunity to draw attention to the growing importance of early warning systems for weather hazards.

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(only available in German)


High-resolution precipitation maps using AI

Heavy rainfall can trigger natural disasters such as floods or landslides. Global climate models are needed to predict the expected changes in the frequency of these extremes due to climate change. In a study, researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have demonstrated for the first time a method based on artificial intelligence (AI) that can be used to increase the accuracy of the rough precipitation fields generated by global climate models. They succeeded in improving the spatial resolution of precipitation fields from 32 to two kilometers and the temporal resolution from one hour to ten minutes. This increased resolution is necessary in order to better predict the more frequent occurrence of local heavy precipitation and the resulting natural disasters.

Press release

Costs of the climate crisis: rescue package for threatened nations

The consequences of the climate crisis are hitting small developing countries particularly hard - not least financially. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Risklayer GmbH - a KIT spin-off - and the University of Cambridge have developed a strategy to protect them from the high costs of climate-related disasters: According to this, public-private partnerships should play a central role in supporting affected countries. The team has published its findings in a report and will present them on Monday, December 4, 2023 at the UN Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP28) in Dubai.

Press release

"The tipping point of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could be imminent - with catastrophic consequences for major seaside cities"

Climate change threatens massive changes in the climate system - the Amazon rainforest is shrinking, the ice in the Antarctic is melting and the Atlantic is changing its currents. In this context, researchers also speak of climate tipping points. The consequences, which researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are also investigating, are unstoppable, extreme regional and global climate changes. The Global Tipping Points Report, coordinated by the University of Exeter, has now presented a current assessment of the topic.

to the article

to the expert page

(only available in German)