11 Nov 2013 - 11 Nov 2013
Laxenburg Conference Center

Polar Regions under Climate Change (Third joint public lecture of IIASA and Austrian Academy of Sciences) by Peter Lemke

Peter Lemke will discuss the details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the Polar ecosystem and the human society as part of The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences joint public lecture series.

Peter Lemke – Credit: Stephanie von Neuhoff (AWI)

Peter Lemke – Credit: Stephanie von Neuhoff (AWI)

This lecture is the third in a series on scientific topics of mutual interest, aimed at a broad academic audience, decision makers and the public, and will take place on Monday, November 11, 2013, at the Conference Center Laxenburg (Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg).

Polar Regions under Climate Change

High latitudes have received attention recently because of significant changes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean, and on land, especially in the Arctic. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased about twice as fast as the global air temperature. The Arctic sea-ice extent in summer has decreased by 35% since 1979, and the sea-ice thickness during late summer has declined in the Central Arctic by about 40% since 1958. A warming has also been observed at depth in the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. But surprisingly there is no negative trend observed in the Antarctic sea ice. Both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, and the sea level is rising. Most of these observed trends are in agreement with warming scenarios performed with coupled climate models, which indicate an amplified response in high latitudes to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the ecosystem and the human society are still only marginally understood, a disturbing fact in view of the global experiment we are performing with the Earth. Results will be shown from the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a winter expedition the speaker has lead into the ice-covered Weddell Sea (Antarctica).

Watch the recording of the lecture below:

Peter Lemke

Peter Lemke, professor of physics of ocean and atmosphere at the University of Bremen and head of the Climate Sciences Research Division at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research, received his PhD in meteorology from the University of Hamburg in 1980. He has more than 30 years of experience of working in climate, sea ice and atmospheric research. Lemke has participated in eight polar expeditions with the German research icebreaker “Polarstern”. On six expeditions he acted as chief scientist. His special interests are observation and modelling of high-latitude processes, especially the interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean. Lemke served on many national and international committees. Until 1999 he was a member of the Scientific Steering Group of the Arctic Climate System Study (ACSYS) of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) and the chairman of the ACSYS Numerical Experimentation Group which co-ordinated international atmosphere-sea ice-ocean modelling activities. From 1995 to 2006 he was a member of the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Programme and served as its chair from 2000 to 2006. In 1991 Lemke received the German Polar Meteorology Award (Georgi-Preis) and in 2005 he became an Honourable Professor of the China Meteorological Administration, Beijing. He was the Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007. For this activity Lemke received recognition of a substantial contribution to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for IPCC in 2007. Since 2009 he coordinates the Climate-Initiative REKLIM (Regional Climate Change) of the Helmholtz Association (HGF), in which eight centres of the HGF are collaborating. In 2010 Lemke received the Bayer Climate Award. Lemke has been associated with IIASA as the German representative in the Council since 2003. He acted as Chair of IIASA’s Program Committee from 2004 to 2008 and is the Chair of the Council since 2009.

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Monday, November 11, 2013, 18:30-20:30

  • Opening remarks by Georg Brasseur (Austrian Academy of Sciences) and IIASA Director and Chief Executive Officer Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat
  • Peter Lemke: “Polar Regions under Climate Change” 
  • Reception

Venue: Conference Center Laxenburg (Schlossplatz 1, 2361 Laxenburg). See the map below.

Bus transportation from Vienna is available! 

If you are interested in attending, please contact Ms. Claudia Heilig-Staindl ( or 02236-807-266) or Mag. Marie-Therese Pitner ( or 01-51581-3452), indicating also whether you need a bus transfer from Vienna to Laxenburg.

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Last edited: 12 November 2013


Pavel Kabat

IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer


T +43(0) 2236 807 402


Interview: The Arctic is closer than you think

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313