The Earth system is a very complex and dynamical one basing on various feedbacks. This makes predictions and risk analysis even of very strong (sometime extreme) events as floods, landslides, heatwaves, and earthquakes etc. a challenging task. After introducing physical models for weather forecast already in 1922 by L.F. Richardson, a fundamental open problem has been the understanding of basic physical mechanisms and exploring anthropogenic influences on climate. In 2021 Hasselmann and Manabe got the Physics Nobel Price for their pioneering works on this. I will shortly review their main seminal contributions. Next, I will introduce a recently developed approach via complex networks mainly to analyze strong climate events. This leads to an inverse problem: Is there a backbone-like structure underlying the climate system? To treat this problem, we have proposed a method to reconstruct and analyze a complex network from spatio-temporal data. This approach enables us to uncover relations to global and regional circulation patterns in oceans and atmosphere, which leads to construct substantially better predictions, in particular for the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon, extreme rainfall in South America, the Indian Ocean Dipole and tropical cyclones but also to understand phase transition in the past climate.
Juergan Kurths, Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at the Humboldt University Berlin and a Senior Advisor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Juergen Kurths is a Professor of Nonlinear Dynamics at the Humboldt University Berlin and a Senior Advisor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Before joining this, he was Professor at the University of Potsdam and the Max-Planck Society. Professor Kurths is internationally recognized for his research on complex synchronization phenomena, complexnetworks, time series analysis and their applications in climatology, sustainability research, physiology, and engineering. His main recent interests are inferring complex networks from spatio-temporal data in climatology to characterize the underlyingdynamics and to get new kinds of predictions of extreme events there. This has enabled him to get a successful prediction of the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon, El Nino, or the Indian Ocean Dipole with a strongly extended prediction horizon. Another main direction is to develop stability concepts for complex networks. The new characteristics, basin stability, proposed by him has opened new ways for the design of future power grids where a large amount of renewable energy is included and to estimate risks for power grids due to extreme climate events. Professor Kurths is a fellow of the Academia Europaea, the American Physical Society, the Network Science Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was awarded the Fry Richardson medal of the EGU, the Alexander von Humboldt research award and the Lagrange price. He got several Honorary Doctorates and Honorary Professors.