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Environment - 12.05.2021
Last ice age: colder than thought
Last ice age: colder than thought
The last ice age, about 20,000 years ago, was significantly colder than previously thought. This is shown for the first time by systematically analysed samples of groundwater collected around the globe and the inert gases dissolved in it. Swiss groundwater from Uster (ZH) also contributed to the results.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.05.2021
The African Wild Dog: An Ambassador for the World's Largest Nature Reserve
The African Wild Dog: An Ambassador for the World’s Largest Nature Reserve
The world's largest nature conservation area lies in southern Africa, comprising 520,000 square kilometers that span five countries. A study has now shown that the critically endangered African wild dog mostly remains within the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) during its long periods of migration.

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 - Agronomy / Food Science - 04.05.2021
Climate action potential in waste incineration plants
The climate action potential of carbon capture during the processing of biomass feedstock is considerable, ETH Zurich researchers have calculated. If this potential is to be fully exploited in practice, however, there are challenges to overcome.   Over the coming decades, our economy and society will need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions as called for in the Paris Agreement.

Environment - Life Sciences - 04.05.2021
Northern Red Sea corals pass heat stress test with flying colors
Northern Red Sea corals pass heat stress test with flying colors
Scientists are beginning to understand why corals in the Gulf of Aqaba, along with their symbiotic algae and bacteria, resist higher temperatures particularly well. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, most of the coral reef ecosystems on our planet - whether in Australia, the Maldives or the Caribbean - will have disappeared or be in very bad shape by the end of this century.

Environment - Life Sciences - 04.05.2021
Nanoplastics - an underestimated problem?
Nanoplastics - an underestimated problem?
The images leave no one cold: giant vortices of floating plastic trash in the world's oceans with sometimes devastating consequences for their inhabitants - the sobering legacy of our modern lifestyle. Weathering and degradation processes produce countless tiny particles that can now be detected in virtually all ecosystems.

Environment - 30.04.2021
New hydropower dam design tested at EPFL
New hydropower dam design tested at EPFL
A team of EPFL engineers has completed proof-of-concept tests for the new Massongex-Bex-Rhône hydropower dam. The tests, involving both a physical scale model and computer simulations, enabled the engineers to fine-tune their design. Engineers at EPFL's Platform of Hydraulic Constructions (PL-LCH) in Lausanne have just finished testing the design for the new Massongex-Bex-Rhône (MBR) hydropower dam.

Environment - 28.04.2021
Uncertainty of future Southern Ocean CO2 uptake cut in half
Uncertainty of future Southern Ocean CO2 uptake cut in half
The Southern Ocean dominates the oceanic uptake of human-made CO2. But how much carbon dioxide can it actually absorb in the future? This long-standing question remained unresolved as projections of different generation of climate models repeatedly showed a wide range of future Southern Ocean CO2 sink estimates.

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.

Life Sciences - Environment - 21.04.2021
A portable device for taking DNA measurements in the field
A portable device for taking DNA measurements in the field
GenoRobotics is an interdisciplinary EPFL project to develop a portable, automated device for extracting and sequencing DNA in any type of environment. The project team hopes their invention will make it easier and faster to map our planet's biodiversity. Preserving the Earth's biodiversity is a crucial challenge.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 19.04.2021
Biodiversity on Swiss Farmland Recorded Nationwide for the First Time
Biodiversity on Swiss Farmland Recorded Nationwide for the First Time
Many plant and animal species depend on habitats shaped by agriculture. Where and with what frequency do which species occur in the agricultural landscape? What is the state of their habitats? How effective are the measures taken to increase biodiversity? Agroscope's biodiversity monitoring programme 'ALL-EMA' records species and habitat diversity in the Swiss agricultural landscape.

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.

Environment - 16.04.2021
Rivers and streams emit much more CO2 at night than during the day
Rivers and streams emit much more CO2 at night than during the day
Scientists have found that streams and rivers - or "running waters" - emit on average four times more CO2 at night than during the day. That matters because most estimates of global CO2 emissions are made using measurements taken during the day, thereby introducing a potential bias into the calculation of the global carbon cycle.

Environment - 16.04.2021
Alpine plants are losing their white
Alpine plants are losing their white "protective coat"
Snow cover in the Alps has been melting almost three days earlier per decade since the 1960s. This trend is temperature-related and cannot be compensated by heavier snowfall. By the end of the century, snow cover at 2,500 meters could disappear a month earlier than today, as simulations by environmental scientists at the University of Basel demonstrate.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 15.04.2021
From a Tweet to Forbes, The Diplomat and beyond
From a Tweet to Forbes, The Diplomat and beyond
Never did Jagannath Biswakarma think that a Tweet about one of his academic articles would receive attention from world-leading media outlets. Yet, that is exactly what happened and how his work was promoted internationally. Bioavailable iron is essential for all living organisms. Iron deficiency amongst plants influences agricultural production.

Environment - 14.04.2021
Ocean temperature reconstructed over the last 700,000 years
Ocean temperature reconstructed over the last 700,000 years
Researchers from the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern reconstructed for the first mean ocean temperatures over the last 700,000 years using ice core data. The new knowledge serves to improve our understanding of the climate system. Bern's ice core researchers were already able to demonstrate in 2008 how the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has changed over the past 800,000 years.

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.

Environment - 13.04.2021
Tree hydraulics and water relations: why trees die as a result of drought
When trees die during a period of drought, they die of thirst. Researchers from the University of Basel have demonstrated in a field study that a rapid collapse in the hydraulic system is responsible for tree death. And they found out that the trees possibly die more rapidly than previously thought.

Environment - 31.03.2021
Carbon-neutral Biofuel from Lakes
Carbon-neutral Biofuel from Lakes
Lakes store huge amounts of methane. In a new study, environmental scientists at the University of Basel offer suggestions for how it can be extracted and used as an energy source in the form of methanol. Discussion about the current climate crisis usually focuses on carbon dioxide (CO2). The greenhouse gas methane is less well known, but although it is much rarer in the atmosphere, its global warming potential is 80 to 100 times greater per unit.

Environment - Life Sciences - 30.03.2021
Precisely determining toxic concentrations
Precisely determining toxic concentrations
Ecotoxicological tests need to be extremely accurate - which often poses challenges in research and practice. Eawag has now developed a computer model that enables even more accurate testing at high throughput; the model is simple, widely applicable and saves resources. How dangerous are chemicals that enter water bodies for aquatic life' To answer this question, tests are needed on organisms - or as is increasingly the case - on isolated cells, which can replace tests on organisms.
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