Our guest on 03.05.2009 Mojib Latif, Climate Researcher | guest list | DW | 21.08.2009
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Our guest on 03.05.2009 Mojib Latif, Climate Researcher

Our host Peter Craven speaks with Mojib Latif about climate, culture, and proper clothing.


Mojib Latif is one of the Germany’s most well-known climate experts and is among those internationally renowned scientists who first attributed climate change to human causes.

The Hamburg-born expert has received numerous awards for his work, among them the Max-Planck-Prize for Public Science. He is a professor at the Oceanography Institute at the University of Kiel.

Mojib Latif was born on September 29, 1954, in Hamburg and grew up with two brothers and a sister in the Hanseatic city. His father, the Imam Chaudhry Abdul Latif, had come to Germany from Pakistan with the task of establishing an Islamic community. In 1957, he built the Fazle Omar Mosque in Hamburg, the first German mosque of the post-war era.

Perhaps it’s the preacher-legacy of his father that led Latif to step into the public eye to set the environmental record straight. Today, he is better-known than some politicians. And though scientists often avoid the limelight as a rule, interviews and lectures before politicians and school groups are a part of Latif’s everyday life. His favorites are the "children’s universities" for the younger set, with whom his so-called "performances" are much in demand.

Following his school-leaving exams, Latif studied business administration, then meteorology at the University of Hamburg. He wrote his doctoral work in oceanography on the worldwide weather phenomenon El Niño.

Starting in 1983, Latif worked as a scientific colleague at the Hamburg-based Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology. In his additional function as press spokesman, he broadened his reputation beyond scientific circles, gaining an ever-greater degree of public renown. With his audience appeal-filled TV and radio appearances, Latif’s profile rose within the German media landscape, making him the most sought-after expert in the field of climate change.

In 2003, Latif became a professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel. There he directs research on "Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics." In this capacity, Latif has also dedicated himself to further study of climate change, especially as it relates to human influences. The professor, who has published numerous studies, books and articles on this topic, has assumed the role of alerting the public about the potential effects of climate change, advocating a radical reduction in carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

Latif has published more than 120 scientific publications in the past 20 years. Add to that four books, in which the scientist clearly explains the complex connections between our climactic system and future scenarios that could affect everyone; a textbook about modern climate research is forthcoming. What keeps Latif going? "What is more beautiful than understanding nature?" he asks.

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