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Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.11.2021
Network records Europe's greenhouse gas emissions
Network records Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions
An article in the scientific journal "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society" describes for the first time how the European ICOS network ("Integrated Carbon Observation System") helps to better understand the function of carbon sinks and to assess the effects of climate change on them. Half of the carbon emissions released to the atmosphere by fossil fuel use are re-captured by the ocean and land ecosystems.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 10.11.2021
Crushed resistance
Crushed resistance
Geophysicists can use a new model to explain the behaviour of a tectonic plate sinking into a subduction zone in the Earth's mantle: the plate becomes weak and thus more deformable when mineral grains on its underside are shrunk in size. The Earth's surface consists of a few large plates and numerous smaller ones that are continuously moving either away from or towards each other at an extremely slow pace.

Earth Sciences - 01.11.2021
The silent build-up to a super-eruption
The silent build-up to a super-eruption
Geologists from the UNIGE and Peking University have developed a technique that makes it possible to estimate the maximum size of a future super-eruption of Toba volcano in Sumatra. It is estimated that about 5-10 volcanoes worldwide are capable of producing a super-eruption that could catastrophically affect global climate.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 26.10.2021
Fossil rivers of the Sahara tell of the threat of warming
Fossil rivers of the Sahara tell of the threat of warming
A UNIGE-led team has studied the fossil rivers of the Egyptian Sahara to reconstruct the region's rainfall rates that led to a major migration of people away from the Nile valley 10,000 years ago. Why did the people living near the Nile river migrate to central Egypt 10,000 years ago, when the Egyptian Sahara was still green? Geologists led by the University of Geneva , Switzerland, have studied the fossil rivers north of Lake Nasser in Egypt in order to reconstruct the palaeo-hydrology of the region and to determine the rainfall rate of this African humid period.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 15.10.2021
Social media and AI can measure the aesthetic quality of landscapes
Social media and AI can measure the aesthetic quality of landscapes
To measure an ecosystem's beauty and the well-being it produces for people can help inform public environmental policy. Scientists at EPFL and Wageningen University in the Netherlands have developed a novel modeling approach for ecosystem assessments based on deep learning and millions of Flickr photos.

Earth Sciences - 11.10.2021
How to better identify dangerous volcanoes
How to better identify dangerous volcanoes
The more water is dissolved in the magma, the greater the risk that a volcano will explode. A new ETH study now shows that this simple rule is only partially true. Paradoxically, high water content significantly reduces the risk of explosion. Volcanologists have long been troubled by two questions: When exactly will a volcano erupt next?

Environment - Earth Sciences - 27.09.2021
Geologically vibrant continents produce higher biodiversity
Using a new mechanistic model of evolution on Earth, researchers at ETH Zurich can now better explain why the rainforests of Africa are home to fewer species than the tropical forests of South America and Southeast Asia. The key to high species diversity lies in how dynamically the continents have evolved over time.

Physics - Earth Sciences - 10.09.2021
Acoustic illusions
Acoustic illusions
Researchers have devised an ingenious method of using acoustics to conceal and simulate objects. When listening to music, we don't just hear the notes produced by the instruments, we are also immersed in its echoes from our surroundings. Sound waves bounce back off the walls and objects around us, forming a characteristic sound effect - a specific acoustic field.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 22.07.2021
Advancing to the core thanks to marsquakes
Advancing to the core thanks to marsquakes
Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich have been able to use seismic data to look inside Mars for the first time. Marsquakes recorded by NASA's InSight lander provided information about the structure of the planet's crust, mantle and core. We know that Earth is made up of layers: a thin crust of light, solid rock surrounds a thick mantle of heavy, viscous rock, which in turn envelopes a core consisting mainly of iron and nickel.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 22.07.2021
The anatomy of a planet
The anatomy of a planet
Researchers at ETH Zurich working together with an international team have been able to use seismic data to look inside Mars for the first time. They measured the crust, mantle and core and narrowed down their composition. The three resulting articles are being published together as a cover story in the journal Science .

Earth Sciences - Environment - 19.07.2021
1,200 new glacial lakes discovered
1,200 new glacial lakes discovered
A comprehensive inventory of Swiss glacial lakes shows how the lake landscape in the high mountains has changed since the end of the Little Ice Age. Due to climate change, the glaciers of the Alps are melting. When the sometimes huge ice fields retreat, they often leave behind depressions and natural dams in the exposed landscape.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 08.07.2021
Reforestation may help mitigate droughts
Reforestation may help mitigate droughts
Based on observational data from Europe, climate researchers from ETH Zurich have shown for the first time that forests lead to a rise in precipitation. Their analyses also revealed that if the available agricultural land were reforested, the amount of precipitation in Europe could increase by more than 7 percent.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 22.06.2021
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Analysing volcanoes to predict their awakening
Geologists have reviewed the internal and external mechanisms that trigger volcanic eruptions to better anticipate the potential signs of a future eruption. What causes an eruption? Why do some volcanoes erupt regularly, while others remain dormant for thousands of years? A team of geologists and geophysicists, led by the University of Geneva , Switzerland, has reviewed the literature on the internal and external mechanisms that lead to a volcanic eruption.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.06.2021
Chamoli Disaster Could Happen Again
Chamoli Disaster Could Happen Again
Some four months ago, a devastating flood ravaged the Chamoli district in the Indian Himalayas, killing over 200 people. The flood was caused by a massive landslide, which also involved a glacier. Researchers at the University of Zurich, the WSL and ETH Zurich have now analyzed the causes, scope and impact of the disaster as part of an international collaboration.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.06.2021
Research efforts to reduce pesticide contamination
Research efforts to reduce pesticide contamination
With the latest analytical methods, potentially toxic substances can be detected even at very low concentrations. However, the aim of research is not merely to document such contamination but also to understand how it occurs in streams and groundwater, and to propose mitigation measures. In agricultural areas, large volumes of water from fields, roads and paths enter streams via manholes or other artificial drainage systems.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.05.2021
Noble gases used to sniff out the pathways of the Emmental's groundwater
Noble gases used to sniff out the pathways of the Emmental’s groundwater
An Eawag researcher has helped to develop a new approach to tracking how river water enters the groundwater. In the test area within the Emmental, the flow time within the aquifer has been shown to be much shorter than previously assumed. This has potential consequences during dry spells. An Eawag researcher has helped to develop a new approach to tracking how river water enters the groundwater.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.05.2021
Flooding might triple in the mountains of Asia
Flooding might triple in the mountains of Asia
A team of Swiss and international climate scientists has shown that the risk of glacial lake outburst floods in the Himalayan region and the Tibetan plateau could triple in the coming decades. The "Third Pole" of the Earth, the high mountain ranges of Asia, bears the largest number of glaciers outside the polar regions.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 28.04.2021
Global glacier retreat has accelerated
Global glacier retreat has accelerated
An international research team including scientists from ETH Zurich has shown that almost all the world's glaciers are becoming thinner and losing mass' and that these changes are picking up pace. The team's analysis is the most comprehensive and accurate of its kind to date. Glaciers are a sensitive indicator of climate change - and one that can be easily observed.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.04.2021
Biomass production in lakes becomes easier to de-termine
Biomass production in lakes becomes easier to de-termine
The condition of Swiss lakes has improved thanks to stricter protection measures, but less than expected. A new method developed by Eawag for calculating biomass production in lakes provides explanations and a basis for further water protection measures. "No bathing" rules were still imposed on many Swiss lakeshores until the 1980s.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 14.04.2021
How microbes influenced the Earth's atmosphere three billion years ago
How microbes influenced the Earth’s atmosphere three billion years ago
For a long time, climate researchers could not explain the high concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere around three billion years ago. Now an international research team with the participation of Hendrik Vogel from the Institute of Geological Sciences and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern has solved the mystery.
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