Oldenburg Climate Symposium


Sophie Eggert

0471 4831 - 2520

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Oldenburg Climate Symposium 2024

10th + 11th September 2024: „Climate, People and Ocean”

The second edition of the Oldenburg Climate Days will once again offer a wide-ranging program for scientists and interested Oldenburg residents alike. Under the motto "Climate, People, Ocean", this year's focus is on the oceans and their role for society and the climate in a changing world.

Dialogue and discussion across disciplines form the core of the Climate Days and are also reflected in the lecture program: the eight (English) lectures will be given by internationally renowned scientists from the natural and social sciences. The supporting program includes interactions at the interface of art and science as well as workshops with and for young scientists.

Two further program highlights are aimed in particular at the interested Oldenburg public.    

  • On September 10, the documentary "Expedition Arctic 2" will be shown at cine k. Two scientists who took part in this expedition will be guests and will be available to answer questions from the audience after the screening.
  • Prof. Dr. Edenhofer is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). In an evening lecture on September 11, he will give current insights into research at the interface of climate and ocean. This lecture will be held in German.

You can register for the lecture program here

Click here for the general program

The lecturers

Session: Learning from the past

Wolfgang Kießling

Geozentrum Nordbayern

Marine life's responses to ancient hyperthermal events

Text follows

Bärbel Hönisch

Columbia Climate School

Reconstructions of Cenozoic atmospheric CO2 and ocean carbon cycle perturbations

Confident knowledge of past atmospheric CO2 levels is fundamental to our understanding of the drivers of past climate changes, evolutionary transitions and extinctions, and the sensitivity of our climate system to past, present and future carbon emissions. Over the past few years, a team of terrestrial and marine paleo-CO2 proxy experts has collaborated to compile published paleo-CO2 reconstructions and develop a dedicated database. Vetting and categorising these data in the light of current proxy understanding has led to a much-refined Cenozoic CO2 record that covaries with independent climate estimates such as temperature, sea level and the evolution of C4 grasses. This refined CO2 record provides a reliable reference for climate scientists and modelers who aim to compare their data to or drive their models with paleo-CO2 information. However, significant data gaps remain to be filled and further proxy development and data intercomparison are essential to improve these reconstructions and establish a rigorous and reliable record of paleo-CO2. I will report on these efforts and provide some examples of marine carbonate chemistry perturbations across the Cenozoic.

Session: Move, adapt or ?

Iliana Baums

Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity

How corals adapt to a changing climate

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Malin Pinsky

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz

Marine species in hot water and on the move

Ocean life is on the front lines of climate change, with marine ectotherms living closer to their upper thermal limits and shifting their distributions faster than species on land. Marine communities are also rapidly turning over to new species compositions. I will discuss how large-scale observations are transforming our understanding of climate impacts on ocean life, some of the unique conservation challenges these dynamics create, and potential adaptation solutions.

Session: Climate Change and Coasts

Kerrylee Rogers

University of Wollongong

Rising tides, shifting shores and the resilience of coastal ecosystems to climate change

Sea-level rise will significantly alter coasts and associated ecosystems, such as mangroves and tidal marshes. Palaeoecological evidence and model projections suggest that inundation and erosion will increasingly dominate shoreline processes, impacting the extent and condition of coastal ecosystems. Observational data indicate that these ecosystems have some capacity to adapt to the changing conditions imposed by sea-level rise. Critical factors include sediment supply and vegetation productivity, which contribute to vertical growth of substrates. These processes underpin a positive relationship between inundation and vertical accretion that creates negative feedback under conditions of rising sea levels and contributes to coastal ecosystem and shoreline resilience.

Applying this feedback relationship, inundation and sedimentation are lowest at the landward margin of coastal ecosystems. Lateral expansion of inundation with sea-level rise is inevitable at the landward margin, only hindered by tidal obstructions from infrastructure, engineering structures (e.g., ditches, levees, and drains), and steep slopes that restrict tidal ingress and squeeze coastal ecosystems between land and sea. Conversely, at the seaward margin, where inundation frequency is higher, enhanced sedimentation aids vertical adjustment, while erosion may alter the lateral extent. Focusing on the dynamics of these margins, anticipated shoreline changes under varying conditions of sea-level rise and sedimentation can be classified.

Efforts to validate these predicted change classes using dense spatio-temporal data from the Landsat archive highlight the influence of sea-level rise and other climatic phenomena on coastal ecosystem condition and extent. Chenier and bars arising from storms and cyclones, and formation of beach ridges and spits associated with wave action modulate coastal ecosystem extent and condition. This may variably improve resilience to sea-level rise by providing a sediment subsidy or attenuate inundation; or reduce condition by causing erosion or impoundment of tidal waters. Climatic phenomena, such as ENSO, which affects temperature, precipitation, and tides, are implicated in widespread coastal ecosystem dieback. Concurrent drought conditions and extreme fire weather have caused unprecedented fire damage to coastal ecosystems and death of vegetation, raising concerns that compounding of climate change processes will restrict the negative feedback that underpins the resilience of coastal ecosystems. Monitoring coastal ecosystems using satellite technology can provide near real-time capability to identify declining conditions and could support early warning systems that guide actions to enhance resilience.

Session: Global Ocean and Climate Change

Christopher Zappa

Columbia University in the City of New York

Title Talk

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Annette Breckwoldt

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research

Title Talk

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The event is neither recorded nor offered as a hybrid event.


The registration is free.

The Oldenburg Climate Symposium takes place every two years and has a different "Climate, People, X" theme each year. In 2024, the "X" is the ocean.

The Oldenburg Climate Symposium 2024 are an officially recognised activity of the UN Ocean Decade

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