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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.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 26.03.2021
AI provides debris flow warnings
AI provides debris flow warnings
When it comes to debris avalanches and mudslides, there is usually very little warning. Using seismic monitoring and machine learning, researchers from ETH Zurich and WSL have developed an alarm system that can provide early warning of debris flows at Illgraben. Debris flows are a mixture of boulders, sediments and water.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.03.2021
Losing rivers
Losing rivers
ETH Zurich and University of California Santa Barbara researchers reveal the extent to which rivers across the USA are losing flow to aquifers. Water is an ephemeral thing. It can emerge from an isolated spring, as if by magic, giving birth to a babbling brook. It can also course through a mighty river, seeping into the soil until all that remains downstream is a dry streambed, the nearby trees offering the only hint as to where the water has disappeared.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 12.03.2021
Glaciers and enigmatic stone stripes in the Ethiopian Highlands
Glaciers and enigmatic stone stripes in the Ethiopian Highlands
Although past temperature variations in the tropics are of great importance to understanding the global climate system, little is known about their extent and chronological course. Researchers under the leadership of the University of Bern have now been able to demonstrate strong local cooling in the tropics during the last glacial period on the basis of glacier fluctuations and large stone stripes in the Ethiopian Highlands.

Earth Sciences - Transport - 04.03.2021
How do you know where volcanic ash will end up?
How do you know where volcanic ash will end up?
A team from the University of Geneva studied the ash from volcanic eruptions and discovered two effects of ash sedimentation that will improve our ability to predict the danger posed by volcanic ash clouds. When the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted in April 2010, air traffic was interrupted for six days and then disrupted until May.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 04.03.2021
Volcanoes might light up the night sky of this planet
Volcanoes might light up the night sky of this planet
Until now, researchers have found no evidence of global tectonic activity on planets outside our solar system. Under the leadership of the University of Bern and the National Center of Competence in Research NCCR PlanetS, scientists have now found that the material inside planet LHS 3844b flows from one hemisphere to the other and could be responsible for numerous volcanic eruptions on one side of the planet.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 18.02.2021
Human impact on solar radiation levels for decades
Based on the long-term Potsdam radiation time series, ETH Professor Martin Wild and his collaborators have shown that variations in the intensity of sunlight over decades are down to ultra-fine, man-made dirt particles in the atmosphere. In the late 1980s and 1990s, researchers at ETH Zurich discovered the first indications that the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface had been steadily declining since the 1950s.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2021
Streams in agricultural areas benefit from beavers
Streams in agricultural areas benefit from beavers
Beavers are master builders that reshape aquatic landscapes with their dams and lodges. The environments they inhabit experience an increase in the biodiversity of aquatic organisms, for example. Now, for the first time, an Eawag study from the wine-growing region known as "Zürcher Weinland" has shown that this is also true for streams in areas given over largely to agriculture.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2021
Emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance back on decline
Emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance back on decline
After a mysterious and sharp increase between 2012 and 2017 that could be traced to eastern China global emissions of a potent (and banned) substance notorious for depleting the Earth's ozone layer - the protective barrier that absorbs the Sun's harmful UV rays - have fallen rapidly in recent years and are now as low as never before since measurements began in this region in 2008, according to new atmospheric analyses published in "Nature" today.

Earth Sciences - 29.01.2021
Witnesses to Earth's early history
Witnesses to Earth’s early history
Determining the composition of rock in the deepest layer of the Earth's mantle is impossible to do directly. But thanks to isotope measurements of volcanic rocks, ETH researchers are now able to show that the mantle is still home to material from the planet's earliest days. What exactly are the deepest parts of the Earth made of? Geoscientists apply highly sophisticated techniques in pursuit of this question.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 15.01.2021
Changing resilience of oceans to climate change
Changing resilience of oceans to climate change
Oxygen levels in the ancient oceans were surprisingly resilient to climate change, new research suggests. An international team of scientists led by ETH Zurich used geological samples to estimate ocean oxygen during a period of global warming 56 million years ago - and found limited expansion of seafloor anoxia (absence of oxygen).

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.01.2021
Wastewater treatment plants retain 96 percent of mercury
Wastewater treatment plants retain 96 percent of mercury
Each year, around 130 kilograms of mercury flow into Swiss wastewater treatment plants, which filter out the lion's share from the waste water. This is shown by a survey of almost thirty wastewater treatment plants conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN).