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Earth Sciences - Environment - 05.04.2023
The unexpected contribution of medieval monks to volcanology
The unexpected contribution of medieval monks to volcanology
By analysing medieval texts, an international team led by the University of Geneva has succeeded in precisely dating some of the largest eruptions in history. By observing the night sky, medieval monks unwittingly recorded some of history's largest volcanic eruptions. An international team of researchers, led by the University of Geneva , drew on readings of 12th and 13th century European and Middle Eastern chronicles, along with ice core and tree ring data, to accurately date some of the biggest volcanic eruptions the world has ever seen.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 03.04.2023
Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation was more stable than thought
Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation was more stable than thought
A study by the University of Bern concludes that at the end of the last ice age there was not, as previously assumed, a complete collapse of the ocean circulation in the Atlantic, which provide a mild climate in Europe. This realization has implications for the discussion on climate tipping points. The climate does not change linearly.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.04.2023
Emissions of banned ozone-destroying chemicals increasing
Emissions of banned ozone-destroying chemicals increasing
A new analysis has found rapidly increasing emissions between 2010 and 2020 of five ozone-depleting chemicals whose production for most uses had been banned under the Montreal Protocol. The emissions of these five chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, occur in part from leakage during the synthesis of ozone-friendly alternatives to CFCs.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.03.2023
Following the water cycle in the forest
Following the water cycle in the forest
In the Forest Laboratory "Waldlabor" on Hönggerberg, researchers investigate the storage and transport processes of water in the forest. Recently they showed that forest-floor litter and deadwood have a far larger influence on the forest water balance than expected. The forest on Hönggerberg in the north of Zurich is both, a recreational space and a laboratory.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.03.2023
New maps chart our affective relationship with the local environment
New maps chart our affective relationship with the local environment
Researchers have studied Vernier, a city in the canton of Geneva, as the pilot site for an interactive map that explores our relationship with the built and natural environments. "Vernier is an odd place. You pass by oil storage tanks, an Ikea, and an airport - and then suddenly you're walking by cows, the Rhône, and little boats." That's how one resident describes what he sees on his daily walking commute.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 02.03.2023
Forest soils lose a lot of carbon after storm damage
Forest soils lose a lot of carbon after storm damage
Forest soils store large amounts of organic carbon. When storms devastate the forest, this carbon is lost and a large part enters the atmosphere as CO2. Mountain forests are particularly vulnerable to such carbon losses, shows a study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.02.2023
Climate: lessons from the latest global warming
Climate: lessons from the latest global warming
By analysing sediments dating back to the global warming that happened 56 million years ago, a team from the University of Geneva is taking a new look at our climate future. PETM was marked by an increase in the seasonality and intensity of rainfall. This increased the mobility of river channels - the deepest areas of a river - and resulted in the transport of large quantities of fluvial clays deposited on adjacent alluvial plains to the deep ocean.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 26.01.2023
Who done it? Searching for clues with sediments
Who done it? Searching for clues with sediments
The sediments near Horn Richterswil - today a recreation and bathing resort on Lake Zurich - are contaminated with toxic metals, particularly mercury. On behalf of the Canton of Zurich, researchers have used sediment cores to reconstruct when the pollutants entered the lake. In this way, they could help clarify the origin of the contaminants.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.01.2023
Why rivers matter for the global carbon cycle
Why rivers matter for the global carbon cycle
In a new journal article, EPFL professor Tom Battin reviews our current understanding of carbon fluxes in the world's river networks. He demonstrates their central role in the global carbon cycle and argues for the creation of a global River Observation System. Until recently, our understanding of the global carbon cycle was largely limited to the world's oceans and terrestrial ecosystems.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.01.2023
Protecting ecosystems with ecological theory
Protecting ecosystems with ecological theory
Ecosystems respond sometimes very differently to human impacts. However, it is still poorly understood what causes these differences. A team of researchers from Eawag and WSL is now proposing an integrative approach based on four fundamental processes shaping biodiversity on land and in water. The approach provides guidance for how biodiversity in blue (water) and green (land) ecosystems can be better protected.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 11.01.2023
Scientists delve into natural slicks on Lake Geneva
Scientists delve into natural slicks on Lake Geneva
An EPFL researcher has, for the first time, documented slicks - those visually arresting, moving patches of smooth water - and explained what is happening beneath the surface. Natural slicks are a mysterious, intriguing phenomenon for anyone who enjoys looking out over Lake Geneva, including passers-by, commuters - and now local researchers.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.01.2023
Two out of three glaciers worldwide could disappear by 2100
The world could lose over 40 percent of its total glacier mass and 80 percent of all individual glaciers this century. Depending on how successful efforts to curb the climate crisis are, it could be "only" a quarter. This is reported today in the journal Science by an international research team with participation from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.01.2023
Trees as witnesses to environmental pollution
Trees as witnesses to environmental pollution
Trees absorb tiny metal particles from the air and soil and deposit them in their tissues. This has been shown by an experiment conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. These findings open up possibilities for detecting environmental pollution or even remedying it in the future.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 03.01.2023
Life on alien worlds
Life on alien worlds
Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? There's a good chance it does - though it might look very different to life on Earth. Scientists may soon be able to offer a definitive answer. Twenty-seven years ago, at the University of Geneva, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz - now a professor at ETH - discovered the first extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star.

Paleontology - Earth Sciences - 20.12.2022
Giant arthropods dominated the seas 470 million years ago
Giant arthropods dominated the seas 470 million years ago
An international team of scientists has made a groundbreaking discovery at a major new fossil site in Morocco: giant arthropods - relatives of modern animals such as shrimps, insects and spiders - would have dominated the seas 470 million years ago. The excavations were carried out in Taichoute, in Morocco, on a site formerly underwater but today desert.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.12.2022
Chip lets scientists study biocement formation in real-time
Chip lets scientists study biocement formation in real-time
Scientists from EPFL and the University of Lausanne have used a chip that was originally designed for environmental science to study the properties of biocement formation. This material has the potential to replace traditional cement binders in certain civil engineering applications. The chip has the size of a credit card and its surface is engraved with a flow channel measuring one meter from end to end and as thick as a human hair.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.11.2022
Green and blue food webs are wired differently
Green and blue food webs are wired differently
Terrestrial and aquatic food webs respond differently to changes in the environment. Understanding these differences is fundamental to identifying the species most important to an ecosystem and to effectively protecting biodiversity. This is shown by a study led by the research institutes Eawag and WSL and published in the journal Nature Communications .

Earth Sciences - 01.11.2022
Retracing the steps of Swiss explorers in the Himalaya
Retracing the steps of Swiss explorers in the Himalaya
Daring Swiss pioneers took exciting photos and observations of glaciers in the Indian Himalayas in the 1930s. Glaciologists from WSL and the ETH Zurich now repeated their trip to collect up-to-date data. 14.09.2022 -Swiss explorers in Indian Himalaya Six Swiss pioneers explored the hidden valleys of the Garhwal range of the Indian Himalaya more than eight decades ago.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space - 27.10.2022
What seismic waves reveal about Martian crust
What seismic waves reveal about Martian crust
Following two large meteorite impacts on Mars, researchers have observed, for the first time, seismic waves propagating along the surface of a planet other than Earth. The data from the marsquakes was recorded by NASA's InSight lander and analysed at ETH Zurich in collaboration with the InSight Science Team.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space - 27.10.2022
Magma on Mars likely
Magma on Mars likely
Until now, Mars has been generally considered a geologically dead planet. An international team of researchers led by ETH Zurich now reports that seismic signals indicate vulcanism still plays an active role in shaping the Martian surface. Why study the terrestrial neighbour? Exploring Earth's planetary neighbours is no easy task.