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Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2024
Water-worlds, the key to an exoplanet enigma
Water-worlds, the key to an exoplanet enigma
Exoplanets with a radius twice that of the Earth are rare. A team from MPIA, UNIGE and UNIBE has come up with new explanations. Why are so few exoplanets about twice the size of Earth detected? On the basis of computer simulations, a team from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and the Universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Bern (UNIBE) has confirmed that the migration of sub-Neptunes planets - water-worlds - could explain this absence.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 08.02.2024
Erosion promotes species diversity
Erosion promotes species diversity
Madagascar is home to over 11,000 plant species, 80 percent of which are found nowhere else on Earth. A recent study by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and ETH Zurich has put forward a new hypothesis for the underlying cause of Madagascar's rich plant biodiversity, which has been regarded as an unsolved mystery of natural history.

Earth Sciences - 08.02.2024
Why olivine and diamonds are best friends
Why olivine and diamonds are best friends
Hardly any gemstone is more difficult to find than diamonds. Geologists from ETH Zurich and the University of Melbourne have now established a link between their occurrence and the mineral olivine. This could make the search for diamonds easier in the future. In brief The abundance of magnesium and iron in the mineral olivine provides information on whether or not diamonds could be present in a kimberlite rock sample.

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 - 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 - 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 - 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.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 23.11.2023
Predicting earthquakes and tsunamis with fibre-optic networks
Geophysicists at ETH Zurich have shown that every single wave of a magnitude 3.9 earthquake registers in the noise suppression system of fibre-optic networks.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 25.10.2023
Mystery of the Martian core solved
Mystery of the Martian core solved
Mars's liquid iron core is smaller and denser than previously thought. Not only is it smaller, but it is also surrounded by a layer of molten rock. This is what researchers conclude on the basis of seismic data from the InSight lander. For four years, NASA's InSight lander recorded tremors on Mars with its seismometer.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.10.2023
Simulation of the evolution of glaciers over the last 120,000 years
Scientists have developed an unprecedented simulation that allows the last 120,000 years of glacier evolution in the Alps to be visualized in 80 seconds.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 27.09.2023
Why the tropics are so rich in species
Why the tropics are so rich in species
Biodiversity is greatest in the tropics. That fact that it is hot and humid there plays an important role. However, climate alone cannot explain the global biodiversity patterns well. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research have now tackled this old problem from a completely different angle - and identified a new, doubly important reason for high tropical diversity.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 22.09.2023
The seas are in extremis
The seas are in extremis
An extraordinary heat wave is assailing the world's oceans with an intensity that is surprising climate researchers. Environmental physicist Nicolas Gruber provides some context. Record temperatures in the Mediterranean. Huge heat wave in the North Atlantic. The temperature of the oceans at an all-time high.

Earth Sciences - 31.08.2023
Two out of three volcanoes are little-known. How to predict their eruptions?
Two out of three volcanoes are little-known. How to predict their eruptions?
A team from the University of Geneva reveals how three easily measurable parameters provide valuable information about the structure of volcanoes. A step forward in risk assessment and preventive measures. What is the risk of a volcano erupting? To answer this question, scientists need information about its underlying internal structure.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 11.08.2023
Could artificially dimming the sun prevent ice melt?
Could artificially dimming the sun prevent ice melt?
With methods of so-called geoengineering, the climate could theoretically be artificially influenced and cooled. Bernese researchers have now investigated whether it would be possible to prevent the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet by artificially "dimming the sun". The results show that artificial influence does not work without decarbonization and entails high risks.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.07.2023
How Humboldt founded climate research
How Humboldt founded climate research
Alexander von Humboldt was a pioneer of climate research. On his voyages to America (1799-1804) and Asia (1829), he conducted meteorological measurements that he used to develop a modern, holistic model of the Earth's climate.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 19.07.2023
Scientists gain insight into geothermal-technology induced seismicity
Scientists gain insight into geothermal-technology induced seismicity
Scientists have developed a model that sheds light on the seismic risks arising from subsurface fluid injections carried out as part of geothermal energy extraction. To support the shift to a carbon-free economy, energy producers are eagerly looking for ways to safely extract geothermal energy from deep underground.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 31.05.2023
Droughts increasingly reduce CO2 uptake in the tropics
Droughts increasingly reduce CO2 uptake in the tropics
Researchers have found that droughts and land water variability have had increasing effect on the carbon cycle in the tropics over the last sixty years. Most climate models fail to capture this observation. This could mean that terrestrial ecosystems could absorb less CO2 than expected in their role as carbon sinks in the future.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 16.05.2023
Martian crust like heavy armour
Martian crust like heavy armour
A strong quake in the last year of the NASA Mars InSight mission, enabled researchers at ETH Zurich to determine the global thickness and density of the planet's crust. On average, the Martian crust much thicker than the Earth's or the Moon's crust and the planet's main source of heat is radioactive.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 15.05.2023
Climate change: advantage to insect pests
Climate change: advantage to insect pests
Bad news for Swiss agriculture: several species of insect pests would find an advantage if the climate continues to warm up.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 27.04.2023
Flying drones in Kyrgyzstan
Flying drones in Kyrgyzstan
SLF-scientists Joel Caduff and Yves Bühler trained scientists and practitioners in drone-based snow depth mapping in the Kyrgyz mountains. After packing a lot of equipment including ski touring sets and an eBee-X drone, we boarded the plane to Istanbul on March 29 and then to Biskek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.