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Environment - 04.07.2023
A dazzling white ghost
A dazzling white ghost
The woodcock's habits are discreet and nocturnal. A true ghost of the forest, it is rarely seen. We now know that its tail feathers are the purest white in the bird world. Sempach. The woodcock is active at night and lives secluded in damp forests. A veritable ghost of the forest, it is usually discovered by scaring it off on a hiking trail: a brown-spotted bird the size of a pigeon.

Environment - Innovation - 30.06.2023
4000 scenarios for a climate turnaround
4000 scenarios for a climate turnaround
Using an extensive computer simulation of the climate, the global economy and the global energy system, researchers at PSI have been analysing different ways of mitigating climate change, together with colleagues from the US, China, Ireland, Finland and Sweden. CO2 emissions from human activities account for about 42 billion tonnes per year.

Environment - 28.06.2023
EPFL spin-off closes the loop on PET recycling
EPFL spin-off closes the loop on PET recycling
EPFL spin-off DePoly has developed a method for recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at ambient temperature, even when it's dirty or mixed with other plastics.

Microtechnics - Environment - 26.06.2023
FireDrone supports the fire department
FireDrone supports the fire department
Researchers from Empa and Imperial College London are developing a heat-resistant drone that can analyze the source of danger at close range in the event of a building or forest fire. This allows firefighters to optimize the strategy of a high-risk operation before entering the danger zone. Where others rush out, they have to go in: Firefighters put themselves in dangerous situations during rescue operations - sometimes right in the midst of a sea of flames.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.06.2023
How an ocean-fertilising bacterium forms aggregates
Trichodesmium, a common and ecologically important bacterium, fertilises nutrient-poor regions of the oceans and thereby enables higher life. Crucial to its success is its ability to form aggregates in order to react quickly to changes in its environment. researchers have shown how the microbes organise themselves in this process.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.06.2023
Global warming accelerates CO2 emissions from soil microbes
Global warming accelerates CO2 emissions from soil microbes
When Microorganisms decompose organic material in the soil, they actively release CO2 into the atmosphere. This process is called heterotrophic respiration. A novel model shows that these emissions could surge by up to 40 percent by the end of the century - most significantly in the polar regions. In brief It is projected that by the end of the century, CO2 emissions from soil microbes will escalate.

Environment - 21.06.2023
Solar cooker with energy storage in Madagascar
Solar cooker with energy storage in Madagascar
Solar stoves with thermal energy storage for families in Madagascar are intended to prevent even more forest from being lost in Madagascar.

Environment - Innovation - 21.06.2023
The 2°C warming target remains in sight
The 2°C warming target remains in sight
Can the 120 countries that signed the Glasgow Climate Pact keep to the pledges they made for 2100? Researchers at EPFL have developed detailed models for calculating long-term CO2 emissions-reduction trajectories and analyzing their impact on global warming. Their findings offer a glimmer of hope. The study by EPFL's Laboratory of Environmental and Urban Economics (LEURE) has sounded a rare note of optimism amid an otherwise bleak climate outlook.

Environment - Chemistry - 14.06.2023
Climate Change Releases Carbon Stocks Deep Underground
Climate Change Releases Carbon Stocks Deep Underground
Subsoils are the largest storehouses for carbon, as well as one of the most important sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Global warming is accelerating the decomposition of soil humus. It is also affecting the waxy and woody compounds which help plants store carbon in their leaves and roots and were previously thought to be stable.

Environment - Life Sciences - 12.06.2023
Climate Change: Rising Rainfall, not Temperatures, Threaten Giraffe Survival
Climate Change: Rising Rainfall, not Temperatures, Threaten Giraffe Survival
Giraffes in the East African savannahs are adapting surprisingly well to the rising temperatures caused by climate change. However, they are threatened by increasingly heavy rainfall, as researchers from the University of Zurich and Pennsylvania State University show. Climate change is expected to cause widespread declines in wildlife populations worldwide.

Environment - 12.06.2023
How much microplastics is there in Swiss rivers and lakes?
How much microplastics is there in Swiss rivers and lakes?
Plastic particles less than five millimeters in size, also known as microplastics, often settle far away from their point of origin. researchers have now developed a model that can be used to calculate the concentration of microplastics in Swiss lakes and rivers. Every year, 14,000 tons of plastic end up in Swiss soils and waters, in part in the form of microplastics: Particles in the micro to millimeter range.

Environment - Life Sciences - 12.06.2023
Black rhinos: horns or life!
Black rhinos: horns or life!
Pre-emptively decorating endangered black rhinos to protect them from poaching. A doctoral student in biology at the University of Neuchâtel (UniNE) has studied the impact of this measure on the animals' behavior in ten nature reserves in South Africa. Vanessa Duthé presents her analysis today in the leading scientific journal PNAS, as part of the Black Rhino Conservation Project she initiated .

Environment - Chemistry - 06.06.2023
Traces in the water
Traces in the water
How we are contaminating our waters with microplastics and a multitude of chemicals. A plastic sandwich wrapper bobs in the water where the Limmat River flows out of Lake Zurich. The current carries it downstream through Zurich's historic centre before eventually depositing it on the bank of Werd island.

Environment - Innovation - 01.06.2023
Swiss energy system could be independent and carbon-neutral by 2050
Swiss energy system could be independent and carbon-neutral by 2050
Researchers from EPFL and HES-SO Valais have modeled the Swiss energy system under the hypothetical constraints of carbon neutrality and energy independence by 2050. The results show that these two constraints could be met while reducing energy system costs by about 30% compared to 2020. A carbon-neutral and independent Swiss energy system in 2050 is theoretically achievable using the currently untapped local renewable energy resources.

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.

Environment - 31.05.2023
The fascinating vultures are back
The fascinating vultures are back
Not so long ago, seeing a griffon vulture in Switzerland was an extraordinary sight. For the past ten years, the species has been regularly crossing our skies.

Environment - 23.05.2023
Climpact: Flying, Fondue and CO2
Climpact: Flying, Fondue and CO2
Everything we do has a carbon footprint but are our perceptions of the emissions we generate on a daily basis aligned with reality? To find out, two researchers have launched Climpact a new tool to help separate fact from fiction. Whilst the environment, including our climate, came out as the main concern for Swiss people in 2022 , a global survey by the market research firm IPSOS has found that misconceptions are rife about the most effective climate solutions.

Environment - 17.05.2023
Countries would be well advised to assist each other with regard to gas
Countries would be well advised to assist each other with regard to gas
If European countries collaborate, they can avoid severe energy scarcity due to a gas shortage. This is the finding of a new study by researchers.

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.

Life Sciences - Environment - 11.05.2023
Plastic gobblers found in alpine and arctic soils
Plastic gobblers found in alpine and arctic soils
Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL have discovered microbes that degrade plastic at cool temperatures. This opens up new perspectives for recycling certain types of plastic. Most known microbes require at least 30°C for their decomposition work. Microorganisms are great hope for the development of a circular economy for plastics.
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