Humans have had to cope with extreme weather events throughout their history. However, the data shows that the number of certain types of extreme events is on the rise in recent decades. For some types of extremes, such as heat waves, droughts and extreme rainfall events, this is an expected outcome of global warming. Other consequences have surprised climate researchers, such as changes in the jet stream and planetary waves in the atmosphere that have been linked to some unprecedented recent extreme events.
Stefan Rahmstorf obtained his PhD in oceanography at Victoria University of Wellington in 1990. He has worked as a scientist at the New Zealand Oceanographic Institute, at the Institute of Marine Science in Kiel and since 1996 at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. His work focuses on the role of the oceans in climate change.
In 1999 Rahmstorf was awarded the $ 1 million Centennial Fellowship Award of the US-based James S. McDonnell foundation. Since 2000 he teaches Physics of the Oceans as a professor at Potsdam University. Rahmstorf served from 2004–2013 in the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and was one of the lead authors of the 4th IPCC Assessment Report.
Dr. Rahmstorf has published over 100 scientific papers (30 in leading journals such as Nature, Science and PNAS) and co-authored four books. Available in English are Our Threatened Oceans (2009, with Katherine Richardson) and The Climate Crisis (2010, with David Archer).