In the coming decades and centuries, the Earth will warm up considerably in response to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions – especially carbon dioxide.
The Earth's climate has changed considerably since industrialisation began – there has been significant global surface warming, decrease in ice cover and sea level rise (IPCC 2013). Due to this, the term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined to describe the powerful influence of humans on the Earth system. But widespread natural climate variations have also been observed in the past. The best known variations are the sometimes very rapid successions of cold and warm periods. To understand these, comprehensive Earth-system models must be developed in order to make reliable predictions on the future climate.
Within the PalMod funding programme, climate dynamics, natural climate variability, and the underlying control processes during the last glacial cycle (the past 130,000 years) and their impact on the climate of the future are being investigated. To this end, the relative contributions of the processes that determined the Earth's climate during the last glacial cycle are being identified and quantified, and the climate of the past 130,000 years to today simulated using Earth system models. To enable these very long simulations over a period of 130,000 years, computer scientists are optimising existing Earth system models, thereby improving their run times.
Based on the results of these model studies, the robustness of climate projections can be better estimated and the meaningfulness of future climate simulations can be accordingly improved. In this way, conditions are created to boost the adaptability of industry and society to future climate changes.
The funding programme consists of multiple funding cycles (2-3 phases with a total duration of about 10 years). As the DLR Project Management Agency, we have designed and prepared the PalMod funding initiative. We are technically and administratively supervising the first phase of the funding initiative currently in progress. An evaluation will take place at the end of the first phase. In the event of a positive evaluation of the results, a second funding phase will be designed. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting the first phase of the funding programme with 54 individual projects running from 2015 to 2019, and which total 19 million euro.