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Environment - Earth Sciences - 29.11.2018
The polar regions communicate via postcards and text messages
The polar regions communicate via postcards and text messages
A new study found two types of climatic connection between the North Atlantic and Antarctica. One is a rapid atmospheric channel and the other a much slower connection through the ocean. During the last glacial period, these links resulted in abrupt climatic changes - and could so again in future. In a study just published in the journal "Nature", an international team of researchers describes how an ocean current repeatedly strengthening and weakening again 60,000 to 12,000 years ago led to an extremely sudden change in the climate.

Earth Sciences - 22.11.2018
How we can get more out of our forests
How we can get more out of our forests
Most European forests are primarily used for timber production. However, woodlands also offer spaces for recreation and they store carbon but it is not clear how forests can be managed for these multiple benefits. A new study under the direction of the University of Bern is now showing how forestry can be improved so that wooded areas can fulfill as many services as possible.

Earth Sciences - 06.11.2018
Tracking an ozone killer
Tracking an ozone killer
35,000 tons of undeclared carbon tetrachloride (CCl 4 ) are released into our atmosphere every year - although applications in which this substance is released into the environment have been officially banned by the Montreal Protocol since 2010. So where does this environmental pollutant come from? Empa researchers tracked down carbon tetrachloride and found the possible sources.

Earth Sciences - Life Sciences - 11.10.2018
Sediment bypass tunnels and biodiversity
Sediment bypass tunnels and biodiversity
Mountain rivers swollen by heavy rainfall deposit large amounts of sediment in reservoirs. To prevent the loss of storage capacity, some reservoirs are equipped with bypass tunnels which convey sediment-laden waters to downstream reaches. The fact that such tunnels offer ecological benefits as well as economic advantages was shown, for example, by a study carried out on the Solis reservoir in Graubünden.

Transport - Earth Sciences - 24.09.2018
A facade that is a power plant and a guarantee of wellbeing
A facade that is a power plant and a guarantee of wellbeing
Anyone who spends most of their day indoors knows the importance of a comfortable atmosphere to work and live in. Researchers from EPFL's Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory are searching for ways to maximize the energy gain from a building's envelope while also optimizing interior comfort in an environmentally friendly way.

Earth Sciences - 06.08.2018
Earthquakes can be attenuated by groundwater
Earthquakes can be attenuated by groundwater
Researchers from EPFL and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris have found that the presence of pressurized fluid in surrounding rock can reduce the intensity of earthquakes triggered by underground human activities like geothermal energy production. Around 100,000 earthquakes are recorded worldwide every year, but not all are naturally occurring.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.08.2018
Tainted idyll: groundwater over-fertilising lagoon in Spain
Tainted idyll: groundwater over-fertilising lagoon in Spain
Lagoons are valuable natural habitats as well as being good for tourism. In the case of the "Mar Menor" in the Spanish province of Murcia, however, such large quantities of nutrients are entering the unique ecosystem via the groundwater that algal blooms are making swimming impossible. Working together with Eawag, Spanish researchers have been modelling the underground water flows in order to develop better cultivation and water management scenarios.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space Science - 19.07.2018
Aquatic research from an altitude of 800 km
Aquatic research from an altitude of 800 km
Thanks to Copernicus - the EU Earth Observation Programme initiated in 2014 - environmental researchers now have access to vast amounts of high-quality satellite data. As this is also invaluable for aquatic research, Eawag is currently expanding its capacity in the area of remote sensing. "That's probably the most successful proposal I've ever made!" says Professor Johny Wüest, his eyes sparkling.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 25.06.2018
Striking the right balance between wind energy and biodiversity
Striking the right balance between wind energy and biodiversity
EPFL researchers have developed a simulator that can calculate the performance of wind farms over 30 years while also factoring in the need to preserve local biodiversity. Tested at a site in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, the simulator could be applied to the Swiss Jura region, which has a similar landscape.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.06.2018
Tall trees are crucial for the survival of the Amazon rainforest
Tall trees are crucial for the survival of the Amazon rainforest
An EPFL study has shown that Amazonian trees measuring more than 30 meters are more resistant to precipitation variations than other, shorter trees. This information is key to more accurately predicting how the rainforest, which is an important component of the carbon cycle, will react to climate change.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 31.05.2018
«Top of Europe
«Top of Europe" for greenhouse gas
The research station at Jungfraujoch is at the top of Europe - and not only because of its unique location. Within the framework of the European research infrastructure «Integrated Carbon Observation System» (ICOS), the laboratory in the heart of the Alps is now officially certified. ICOS provides data to better understand the global carbon cycle and how human activities affect it.

Computer Science / Telecom - Earth Sciences - 17.05.2018
CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research
CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research
The CrowdWater project, developed by doctoral candidates from the Department of Geography of the University of Zurich, is a citizen science project in the area of hydrology, the science of water. The project collects hydrological data on water levels, streamflows and soil moisture from all over the world.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 03.05.2018
Rumblings deep down in Mars
Rumblings deep down in Mars
On 5 May the lander 'InSight' will commence its journey to Mars from California. Its aim is to gather data to enable a better understanding of the formation and evolution of the Red Planet. One of the key instruments on the NASA mission is a seismometer, which was developed and built under the lead of France together with Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.

Earth Sciences - Mathematics - 30.04.2018
600 seismographs listen in on the Alps
600 seismographs listen in on the Alps
Switzerland coordinates an extensive network of 600 seismographs stretching from Perpignan to Prague.

Earth Sciences - 27.04.2018
Soils in Swiss nature reserves contain significant quantities of microplastics
Soils in Swiss nature reserves contain significant quantities of microplastics
It is one of the first research projects into the existence of microplastics in the soil: Scientists at the University of Bern investigated floodplain soils in Swiss nature reserves for microplastics - and made a find. They estimate, that there are around 53 tonnes of microplastics lying in the top five centimetres of the floodplain.

Earth Sciences - Chemistry - 10.04.2018
Arsenic and manganese contamination in Amazonia groundwater
Arsenic and manganese contamination in Amazonia groundwater
Faced with polluted river water, rural communities or aid agencies often drill groundwater wells to obtain water supplies. But data collected systematically for the first time in the Amazon basin show that this "solution" can create new problems: the groundwater may contain elevated concentrations of arsenic, manganese and aluminium - up to 70 times over the recommended limit in the case of arsenic, and up to 15 times for manganese.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 14.03.2018
Climate change drives mountain hares to higher altitudes
Climate change drives mountain hares to higher altitudes
A warming climate will shrink and fragment mountain hare habitat in the Swiss Alps. Populations are likely to decline as a result, concludes an international study led by the University of Bern and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). Specialised species like the mountain hare, adapted to life at high altitudes, are particularly affected by climate change.

Earth Sciences - 07.03.2018
University of Basel tests camera for Mars rover
University of Basel tests camera for Mars rover
In 2020, the European Space Agency (ESA) is sending a rover into space to examine the surface of Mars for signs of life. Its on-board equipment includes a high-resolution camera developed in Switzerland, and researchers from the University of Basel are currently testing the camera's operation in an artificial Martian landscape.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 05.03.2018
Sacrificing ground floors can save lives
Sacrificing ground floors can save lives
Disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes and dam failures are rare but can have devastating consequences on a country. A thesis at EPFL has shown that appropriate construction methods can substantially reduce the impact of such catastrophic events. Davide Wüthrich, a PhD student at EPFL, has just finished his thesis on methods for reducing the damage caused when a wave hits a building.

Earth Sciences - Chemistry - 06.02.2018
The ozone layer continues to thin
The vital ozone layer has continued to deplete in recent years over the densely populated mid-latitudes and tropics, while it is recovering at the poles. This is documented by an international research team in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The ozone layer protects life on earth from high-energy radiation.
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