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Environment - Health - 24.10.2019
The Effects of the Scorching Summer of 2018 on Health
The Effects of the Scorching Summer of 2018 on Health
The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) analysed the health consequences of the hot and dry summer of 2018 for the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The results were published today in the report "Heat and Drought in Summer 2018 - Effects on Humans and the Environment". The report shows that heat and drought had negative impacts on human health, forests, agriculture, water and glaciers.

Environment - Life Sciences - 16.10.2019
Important species interactions can destabilize aquatic ecosystems in response to nutrient inputs
Important species interactions can destabilize aquatic ecosystems in response to nutrient inputs
Ecosystems provide numerous benefits, supplying food, clean water and other resources. So, it is vital that ecosystem stability is maintained in the face of disturbances such as drought, heatwaves or nutrient inputs. Nutrient inputs can be particularly problematic in aquatic ecosystems if they lead to algal blooms.

Environment - Life Sciences - 10.10.2019
Babies burdened by environmental estrogens in mothers' wombs
Babies burdened by environmental estrogens in mothers’ wombs
Early childhood life in the womb is particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants. A team from Empa and the University of Vienna has now for the first time been able to show how a pollutant from contaminated food - the environmental estrogen zearalenone - spreads in the womb and is metabolized into harmful metabolites.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 09.10.2019
Liquifying a rocky exoplanet
Liquifying a rocky exoplanet
A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.

Life Sciences - Environment - 08.10.2019
High-speed evolution observed in daphnia
High-speed evolution observed in daphnia
Daphnia, also known as water fleas, play an important role in the food web of lakes: they feed on phytoplankton and are eaten by predators such as fish. Their food resources show marked seasonal variation: in eutrophic waters, the summer is particularly challenging for daphnia, as the phytoplankton community is dominated by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which are of poor nutritional quality and often contain toxins.

Environment - Health - 07.10.2019
The impact of ambient air pollution on hospital admissions
Air pollution is the centre of debate on many fronts, from air protection measures involving road traffic, to technological innovations to reduce harmful emissions.

Materials Science - Environment - 07.10.2019
The Wood Paradox
The Wood Paradox
It can be deformed as required and is three times stronger than natural wood: the wood material developed by Marion Frey, Tobias Keplinger and Ingo Burgert at Empa and ETH Zurich has the potential to become a high-tech material. In the process, the researchers remove precisely the part of the wood that gives it its stability in nature: lignin.

Transport - Environment - 03.10.2019
The right carbon tax to reduce the impact of transport in Switzerland
The right carbon tax to reduce the impact of transport in Switzerland
Using macroeconomic modeling, EPFL researchers have identified the most effective carbon tax for Switzerland to meet the Paris Agreement targets: a uniform levy on gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil, rising steadily to 1.70 francs per liter by 2050.  The Swiss transport sector has become the country's leading CO2 emitter, accounting for 41% of total emissions.

Environment - 27.09.2019
From sink to source: turbulence in water releases hormones from sediment
From sink to source: turbulence in water releases hormones from sediment
Natural, human oestrogens, as well as synthetic substances such as the contraceptive pill, pesticides and industrial chemicals, are transported mainly via our wastewater into surface waters. These so-called hormonally active agents can upset the normal hormone balance of aquatic organisms such as fish, and affect their development, health and reproduction.

Environment - 24.09.2019
Better working environment in road construction
Better working environment in road construction
Brooding heat, hot fumes and noisy machines - asphalting roads is hard work. Empa researchers have analysed whether and how much harmful emissions are produced when regular "hot asphalt" or so-called warm asphalt is laid. The result: the more ecological warm asphalt also outperforms the conventional method in terms of emissions.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.09.2019
Astonishing diversity of sticklebacks discovered in Lake Constance
Astonishing diversity of sticklebacks discovered in Lake Constance
Most recreational fishermen do not take notice of the little threespine stickleback fish - it is too small and spiny to make a good meal. In Lake Constance however, the professional fishermen involuntarily became acquainted with it a few years ago. That's because the stickleback population has exploded in the lake, resulting in half of the fish biomass belonging to this species and them often clogging the fishermen's gill nets.

Environment - 23.09.2019
Daylight levels affect our thermal perception
Daylight levels affect our thermal perception
A pioneering study carried out at EPFL shows that the amount of daylight in a room can influence our thermal comfort and how well we tolerate heat or cold. The findings could be used to improve existing building standards and decrease energy consumption.  The difference between reality and our perception of reality has long intrigued Western philosophers.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.09.2019
Origin of the diversity of sticklebacks in Lake Constance deciphered
Origin of the diversity of sticklebacks in Lake Constance deciphered
Most recreational fishermen do not take notice of the little threespine stickleback fish - it is too small and spiny to make a good meal. In Lake Constance however, the professional fishermen involuntarily became acquainted with it a few years ago. That's because the stickleback population has exploded in the lake, resulting in half of the fish biomass belonging to this species and them often clogging the fishermen's gill nets.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 19.09.2019
Dry run for cropping systems
Dry run for cropping systems
Globe magazine , News By: Michael Keller To safeguard the long-term future of agricultural production in Switzerland, ETH and Agroscope are investigating how resistant the country's crop­ping systems are to drought. The heatwave of 2018 was yet another warning to both farmers and the public on the effects of climate change: in the future, Switzerland will see less and less rain during the summer months.

Environment - 17.09.2019
Wood that shapes itself
Wood that shapes itself
Researchers from ETH Zurich, Empa and the University of Stuttgart have developed a new technique involving a controlled drying process that makes wooden panels bend into a pre-set shape without the use of any mechanical force. Wood is a renewable resource and a popular, sustainable construction material.

Environment - 17.09.2019
Montreal Protocol prevents depletion of ozone layer, but
Montreal Protocol prevents depletion of ozone layer, but
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017, was the first UN multilateral environmental agreement to be universally ratified (197 Parties by 2008). The aim of this treaty is to protect the stratospheric ozone layer - essential for life on Earth - by phasing out the production and controlling emissions of ozone-depleting substances (chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs).

Environment - Microtechnics - 12.09.2019
"Flying fish" robot can dive and fly
A bio-inspired bot uses water from the environment to create a propelling gas and launch itself from the water's surface. The robot had been developed by researchers at Imperial College London. It can travel 26 meters through the air after take-off and could be used to collect water samples in hazardous and cluttered environments, such as during flooding or when monitoring ocean pollution, report the team lead by Mirko Kovac, who also heads the joint "Materials and Technology Center of Robotics" at Empa, in the latest issue of "Science Robotics".

Environment - Earth Sciences - 12.09.2019
Gloomy forecast for the Aletsch Glacier
Gloomy forecast for the Aletsch Glacier
The largest glacier in the Alps is visibly suffering the effects of global warming. ETH researchers have now calculated how much of the Aletsch Glacier will still be visible by the end of the century. In the worst-case scenario, a couple patches of ice will be all that's left. Every year, it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world: as the largest ice flow in the Alps, the Great Aletsch Glacier is a major tourism draw in the Swiss region of Upper Valais, second only to the Matterhorn.

Environment - Social Sciences - 11.09.2019
Global Sustainable Development Report calls for urgent, coordinated action
Global Sustainable Development Report calls for urgent, coordinated action
A world without poverty, in which everyone's well-being is ensured: achieving this goal by 2030 is still possible, but only if the relationship between people and nature is fundamentally changed and social inequalities are reduced. That is the conclusion of the 2019 UN Global Sustainable Development Report, drafted by an independent group of scientists co-chaired by Peter Messerli, University of Bern, and Endah Murniningtyas.

Environment - 10.09.2019
Treating more wastewater with less energy
Treating more wastewater with less energy
More and more people are moving to cities and agglomerations in Switzerland, which is putting extreme pressure on some wastewater treatment plants: Because they are having to treat greater volumes of wastewater, their energy consumption is skyrocketing. And some WTPs are close to reaching capacity. Together with various project partners from industry, Eawag has now been testing out a new kind of technology for the past six months at the Sihltal WTP.