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Environment - Life Sciences - 01.03.2024 - Today
Glacier shrinkage is causing a 'green transition'
Glacier shrinkage is causing a ’green transition’
Glacier-fed streams are undergoing a process of profound change, according to scientists in a paper appearing in Nature Geoscience. This conclusion is based on the expeditions to the world's major mountain ranges by members of the Vanishing Glaciers project. Microbial life will flourish in mountain streams because of ongoing glacier shrinkage.

Environment - Social Sciences - 27.02.2024
Sustainability of cultural institutions: an initial analysis
Sustainability of cultural institutions: an initial analysis
Do museums, theaters and cultural institutions have a good record in terms of social and environmental sustainability - Researchers at the University of Lausanne have conducted an international survey of over 200 major institutions.

Chemistry - Environment - 20.02.2024
A sustainable fuel and chemical from the robotic lab
A sustainable fuel and chemical from the robotic lab
Artificial intelligence and automated laboratory infrastructure are massively accelerating the development of new chemical catalysts. With these tools, researchers at ETH Zurich are developing catalysts for efficiently and cost-effectively synthesising the energy source methanol from CO2. Catalysts are chemistry's hard-working little helpers.

Environment - 15.02.2024
Advancing forest monitoring
Advancing forest monitoring
Forests are under pressure and rapidly changing. In order to be able to react to these changes, forest monitoring is of crucial importance. The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL launched an initiative (SwissAIM) to improve forest monitoring. A new study sheds light on why the initiative is needed.

Environment - Transport - 13.02.2024
Vehicle tires as a source of microplastics
Vehicle tires as a source of microplastics
Tire wear of motor vehicles is responsible for a large proportion of microplastics in the environment. Researchers from Empa and the company wst21 have summarized the results of various studies in a recently published basic report in response to postulate Po 19.3559 and presented approaches for reduction.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 12.02.2024
When the global climate has the hiccups
When the global climate has the hiccups
Climate changes usually happens over long periods of time, but during the last glacial period, extreme fluctuations in temperature occurred within just a few years. Researchers at the University of Basel have now been able to prove the phenomenon also occurred during the penultimate glacial period. In recent geological history, the so-called Quaternary period, there have been repeated ice ages and warm periods.

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.

Microtechnics - Environment - 30.01.2024
Robot swings its way to unexplored treetops
Robot swings its way to unexplored treetops
It abseils from a height and swings around obstacles: robot Avocado will one day manoeuvre through the canopy of the rainforest and collect data for researchers about this hard-to-reach habitat. It's called Avocado and does actually look a bit like one: currently being developed by researcher on, the innovative robot has a robust housing similar in shape to the green fruit.

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.
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