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RECCWEX - Regional Climate Change and Extremes

The regional scale is where climate change impacts manifest. However, there is a clear lack in understanding and reproduction of climate induced extremes at the regional scale, especially concerning generation of intense rain and flood events, probability of exceedance of important thresholds (low flows, droughts) and feedbacks across hydrology/vegetation/climate.
Our scientific interest in regional climate extremes is triggered by a high uncertainty in projections and the burning need to improve understanding and reduce uncertainty. A crucial issue for determining possible mitigation and adaptation options is to assess the risk of floods and droughts in vulnerable regions on the high-resolution regional scale and to quantify them in terms of e.g. intensity, duration, and frequency. The most crucial research topics are:
How will water-related extreme events (droughts and floods) manifest in certain regions under global change?
Where are regional hot spots?
Are new and never observed extremes possible (e.g. in terms of floods or droughts, low flow conditions)?
What is the feedback climate/vegetation/hydrology and how can this knowledge be used to design landscapes in order to counteract regional climate impacts?
Where are the gaps in modeling to cover the research questions above?
What is the range of uncertainty/confidence in regional scenarios of future droughts and floods?
An important strength of regional research in PIK is the in-house availability of multi-disciplinary research groups combining climate and hydrological modeling, statistical climate analysis and other related research areas. Additionally, these groups enjoy good working relations with many other national and international partners working in the field. Therefore, and given the crucial research need, PIK forms a nucleus for research of extreme events at the regional scale.

Federführende Institution / Lead Partner: 
Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung e.V. (PIK)
Dr. rer.-nat. Fred F. Hattermann, Tel.: 0331/ 288 2649, E-mail: