Everyday experience makes it difficult for us to envision a prevailing climate which differs substantially from the modern one. Although we have sometimes severe winter conditions, it is almost incomprehensible that northern Germany was covered by a thick ice cap during the last ice age, when the local temperatures were approximately 15 °C lower than today, as indicated by geoscientific data. We investigate those states of the climate system for selected time intervals of the Earth’s history by the help of computer models.
These models represent key components of the Earth system such as atmosphere, ocean, ice and biosphere. By analyzing the model results and comparing them to geoscientific reconstructions, we gain new insights into processes and mechanisms of the climate system.