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Environment - Earth Sciences - 26.01.2024
Glacier melting destroys important climate data archive
Glacier melting destroys important climate data archive
As part of the Ice Memory initiative, PSI researchers, with colleagues from the University of Fribourg and Ca' Foscari University of Venice as well as the Institute of Polar Sciences of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), analysed ice cores drilled in 2018 and 2020 from the Corbassière glacier at Grand Combin in the canton of Valais.

Environment - History / Archeology - 26.01.2024
Ozone stresses European forests
Ozone stresses European forests
Ozone causes visible damage to the foliage of European deciduous trees, as shown by a large-scale study led by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. The researchers found that some plants under certain environmental condition react particularly sensitively to ozone, which is toxic at ground level.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 25.01.2024
How gases travel laterally through a lake
How gases travel laterally through a lake
At night or during cold winter days, lake water cools faster near the shore than in the middle of the lake. This creates a current that connects the shallow shore region with the deeper part of the lake. An international team led by researchers were able to show for the first time that this horizontal circulation transports gases such as oxygen and methane.

Environment - 24.01.2024
Groundwater levels are sinking ever faster around the world
Groundwater levels are sinking ever faster around the world
A global study shows that the world's groundwater resources are dwindling: levels are falling sharply worldwide, and the decline has accelerated in the 21st century. Nevertheless, there is still reason for hope. At the beginning of November, The New York Times ran the headline, "America is using up its groundwater like there's no tomorrow." The journalists from the renowned media outlet had published an investigation into the state of groundwater reserves in the United States.

Health - Environment - 23.01.2024
Heat islands have an impact on health costs
Heat islands have an impact on health costs
A new study has produced the first cost estimate of the impact that urban heat islands have on human health. The study looked at 85 European cities over the course of three full years, meaning it also took into account the protection that heat islands offer in winter - an aspect that has been little studied until now.

Environment - 19.01.2024
More clutter for more biodiversity
More clutter for more biodiversity
It may look chaotic, but deadwood in the forest does have a function. It has a decisive influence on biodiversity. Researcher Elena Haeler has shown in a study that not only the quantity but also the distribution of deadwood in the habitat plays an important role . Until now, research into deadwood has mainly focused on the amount of wood present.

Computer Science - Environment - 16.01.2024
AI program classifies objects in satellite images faster
An AI program can train neural networks, using just a handful of images, to rapidly characterize in satellite and drone data new objects like ocean debris, deforestation zones, urban areas and more. Images taken by drones and satellites give scientists a wealth of information. These snapshots provide crucial insight into the changes taking place on the Earth's surface, such as in animal populations, vegetation, debris floating on the ocean surface and glacier coverage.

Environment - Life Sciences - 15.01.2024
Monitoring of genetic diversity is insufficient
Monitoring of genetic diversity is insufficient
Genetic diversity plays a critical role in enabling species to adapt to climate change. An international study, jointly conducted with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), indicates that ongoing endeavors to monitor genetic diversity in Europe are inadequate and incomplete.

Environment - 15.01.2024
Brumadinho dam collapse: The danger emerged after the decommissioning
Brumadinho dam collapse: The danger emerged after the decommissioning
In 2019, the tailings dam at a Brazilian iron ore mine failed. The mudslide caused a catastrophe for people and the environment. A team of researchers at ETH Zurich has now uncovered the physical mechanism that may have triggered the accident. The disaster near the small town of Brumadinho in southeastern Brazil occurred shortly after midday: on 25 January 2019, at a nearby iron ore mine, the tailings dam - a storage area for the sludgy, fine-grained residues from ore processing, or "tailings" - collapsed.

Environment - Chemistry - 12.01.2024
Capturing greenhouse gases with the help of light
Capturing greenhouse gases with the help of light
Researchers at ETH Zurich are developing a new method to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. It involves molecules that become acidic when exposed to light. Their new process requires much less energy than conventional technologies. If we want to slow down global warming, we need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment - 08.01.2024
Building more to reduce emissions
Building more to reduce emissions
The construction industry as a CO2 sink? Researchers at Empa's Concrete & Asphalt lab are working on this. By incorporating biochar into concrete, they are exploring the potential of CO2-neutral or even CO2-negative concrete. For optimal applicability, they process the biochar into pellets and use them to replace conventional aggregates.

Life Sciences - Environment - 29.12.2023
Warrior and nurse ants
Warrior and nurse ants
Matabele ants are able to detect and treat infected wounds in their fellow ants. The work carried out at the University of Lausanne's Department of Ecology and Evolution on this African species is the subject of a publication in "Nature Communications" and a documentary.

Paleontology - Environment - 21.12.2023
A long-known deposit yields new secrets
A long-known deposit yields new secrets
Paleontologists lack the fossils they need to trace the evolutionary history of the Amazon region, a region characterized by unparalleled biodiversity. By exploiting data from a site known for over a century, Juan Carrillo, a researcher at the University of Fribourg, and his colleagues from other institutions, have made exceptional discoveries that shed new light on this little-known past .

Environment - Earth Sciences - 20.12.2023
Permafrost: a ticking time bomb beneath our feet
Permafrost: a ticking time bomb beneath our feet
Nearly a quarter of the Earth's land surface is permanently frozen. These areas, known as permafrost, are found in northern polar regions and at high altitudes.

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 14.12.2023
Accurate snow measurement thanks to AI and satellites
Accurate snow measurement thanks to AI and satellites
Snow measurement has never been so fast and accurate: researchers have developed an artificial intelligence capable of determining snow depth across Switzerland using satellite images. How much snow is there up in the mountains, and where exactly is it? The answer is of just as much interest to the winter tourism industry and operators of hydropower plants as it is to winter sport enthusiasts looking to gauge the risk of avalanches.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 12.12.2023
Heavy metals in the rivers of Greenland
Heavy metals in the rivers of Greenland
Field studies by Eawag researcher David Janssen in southern Greenland show that the heavy metals in the rivers are largely of natural origin, and that the influence of mining and agriculture is negligible, at least during the period observed. The rivers in Greenland can transport unusually high concentrations of heavy metals, including copper, zinc, gold, silver, platinum, lead and mercury.

Materials Science - Environment - 01.12.2023
Replicating the structure of bird feathers
Modelled on nature: researchers have developed a new material that replicates the structure responsible for the blue feathers of the North American song bird, among many other birds. It also has other striking advantages. The eastern bluebird is a special bird. The blue of its feathers is unique. However, this colour is not based on pigments but on the special structure of the feather.

Environment - 30.11.2023
Treat wastewater in an environmentally sustainable way with worms
Treat wastewater in an environmentally sustainable way with worms
This research project explores vermifiltration as an alternative method for wastewater treatment. The aim is to fill knowledge gaps about greenhouse gas emissions, scaling-up, long-term operation, micropollutant abatement and treated wastewater reuse options. Vermifiltration is a non-sewered sanitation technology that uses a symbiotic relationship between Eisenia Fetida earthworms and microorganisms to treat wastewater.

Agronomy / Food Science - Environment - 30.11.2023
Inoculation Against Diseased Fields
Inoculation Against Diseased Fields
Plant Biology Farmland often harbors a multitude of pathogens which attack plants and reduce yields. A Swiss research team has now shown that inoculating the soil with mycorrhizal fungi can help maintain or even improve yields without the use of additional fertilizers or pesticides. In a large-scale field trial, plant yield increased by up to 40 percent.

Environment - Psychology - 30.11.2023
Climate: why disinformation is so persistent
Climate: why disinformation is so persistent
A team from the University of Geneva has tested six psychological interventions to combat climate misinformation. It shows how difficult it is to combat these messages, which are resistant to scientific information. Melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, extreme heat waves: the consequences of climate change are more visible than ever, and the scientific community has confirmed that humans are responsible.