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Environment - Life Sciences - 27.01.2021
Major discovery helps explain coral bleaching
Major discovery helps explain coral bleaching
An EPFL scientist has made a major breakthrough in the understanding of coral bleaching - a process that causes corals to lose their color and eventually leads to their death. The process is triggered by warmer ocean temperatures, and, according to the study, it begins much earlier than previously thought.

Environment - History / Archeology - 25.01.2021
Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity
Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity
The absence of monsoon rains at the source of the Nile was the cause of migrations and the demise of entire settlements in the late Roman province of Egypt. This demographic development has been compared with environmental data for the first time by professor of ancient history, Sabine Huebner of the University of Basel - leading to a discovery of climate change and its consequences.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 22.01.2021
Solar System formation in two steps
Solar System formation in two steps
Why are the planets of the inner Solar System dry and rocky, but the outer ones are not? An international team of researchers with participation of the University of Zurich discovered that a two-step formation process of the planets can explain the chronology and split in volatiles like water and isotope content of the inner and outer Solar System.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 22.01.2021
TRAPPIST-1's 7 Rocky Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff
TRAPPIST-1’s 7 Rocky Planets May Be Made of Similar Stuff
The TRAPPIST-1 star is home to the largest batch of roughly Earth-size planets ever found outside our solar system. An international study involving researchers from the Universities of Bern, Geneva and Zurich now shows that the exoplanets have remarkably similar densities, which provides clues about their composition.

Environment - 21.01.2021
Study Identifies European Cities with Highest Mortality Due to Air Pollution
Study Identifies European Cities with Highest Mortality Due to Air Pollution
A health impact study has for the first time estimated the mortality burden attributable to air pollution in more than 1,000 European cities. The study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, includes a ranking of the European cities with the highest rates of mortality attributable to each of the two air pollutants studied: fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Environment - Innovation - 21.01.2021
The stores of the future
The stores of the future
Lidl Switzerland aims to operate its stores even more sustainably and efficiently in the future. Together with Empa, the company now puts this plan into practice. First, the energy consumption and the interaction of various operational systems in existing stores will be analyzed. Then, the Empa researchers will develop an optimized concept for the stores of the future based on the findings of their analysis.

Environment - Economics / Business - 20.01.2021
Modelling the energy transition
Modelling the energy transition
An interdisciplinary research team from ETH Zurich is developing the Nexus-e modelling platform in a project supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. The platform facilitates the analysis of how technological, economic and regulatory developments affect the energy system of the future. Switzerland's energy system will undergo a fundamental transformation in the coming years.

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 - Chemistry - 13.01.2021
How will we achieve carbon-neutral flight in future?
They emit must be systematically stored underground. This is the most economical of various approaches that ETH researchers have compared in detail. It is politically agreed and necessary for climate protection reasons that our entire economy becomes climate-neutral in the coming decades - and that applies to air travel, too.

Environment - 07.01.2021
Packaging database for fact-checking sustainability promises
Packaging database for fact-checking sustainability promises
Researchers have created a database of over 3,000 primary and secondary packaging items from the range of the retailer Denner as a basis for ensuring more environmentally friendly packaging. The presents are unwrapped, the takeaway is eaten and the latest online order has arrived - and now there is packaging everywhere.

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).

Life Sciences - Environment - 17.12.2020
Downstream passage facilities with signals that are understood by fish
Downstream passage facilities with signals that are understood by fish
Europe still has barely any downstream passage facilities that guide fish past the turbines of run-of-river power stations unharmed. Now, an interdisciplinary team of engineers from ETH Zurich and fish biologists from Eawag have developed a rack that uses pressure and flow differences to guide fish out of the main flow and into the safe fish passage.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.12.2020
How climate change is disrupting ecosystems
How climate change is disrupting ecosystems
When it gets warmer, organisms rise higher from the lowlands. Researchers from ETH and WSL investigated what could happen to plant communities on alpine grasslands if grasshoppers from lower elevations settled there. The world is getting warmer and warmer - and many organisms native to lower latitudes or elevations are moving higher.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 16.12.2020
A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
A pair of lonely planet-like objects born like stars
An international research team led by the University of Bern has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting around each other from a very large distance. Although these objects look like giant exoplanets, they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems deprived of a Sun.

Environment - Materials Science - 06.12.2020
Disposable or fabric? Here is what matters
Disposable or fabric? Here is what matters
Anyone who wants to protect themselves and others from a COVID-19 infection wears a mask these days. But what about the environmental impact of this mass product, which is used millions of times over? Are masks made of fabric beneficial for the environment or are disposable masks preferable? Empa researchers have examined these questions using life cycle assessments (LCAs) and identified factors for sustainable design.

Environment - 03.12.2020
Short-term peak concentrations are severely underestimated
Short-term peak concentrations are severely underestimated
The mobile and automated MS2field mass spectrometer allows measurements to be taken of harmful substances in surface waters with high temporal resolution. The initial measurements using the device are revealing the extent to which peak concentrations of pesticides, for example, have been underestimated by traditional methods.

Environment - 26.11.2020
Which factors trigger leaf die-off in autumn?
Which factors trigger leaf die-off in autumn?
Researchers at ETH Zurich have identified a self-regulating mechanism in European deciduous trees that limits their growing-season length: Trees that photosynthesise more in spring and summer lose their leaves earlier in autumn. Leaves of temperate deciduous trees glow in all their yellow and red glory just before falling, signalling that autumn has come.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.11.2020
Natural sewage treatment plants float on the Zambezi River
Natural sewage treatment plants float on the Zambezi River
Sprawling carpets of floating plants are the result of too many nutrients. However, they could become part of solution strategies, Eawag researchers show. They are a beautiful sight to behold: carpets of floating plants such as the water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) in the Zambezi catchment. However, they are also an indicator of inadequate wastewater management in urban and industrial regions of tropical developing countries.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 26.11.2020
The Swiss Alps continue to rise
The Swiss Alps continue to rise
An international team of geologists, headed by members of the University of Bern, has shown for the first time that the Swiss Alps are being lifted faster than they are being lowered through erosion - and are thus growing even higher. To do this, the researchers quantified the erosion of the Alps with the help of isotopes measured in the sand of more than 350 rivers throughout the European Alps.

Environment - 25.11.2020
Adaptive structures cut down the carbon footprint of buildings
Scientists at EPFL have developed new methods to design and control civil structures that are able to automatically adapt to loading. The aim is to reduce the environmental impact of the construction sector. In order to address current environmental challenges, the construction industry must find new ways of building.