News

Marine heatwaves are threatening ecosystems

15 August 2018

Marine heatwaves can irreversibly damage ecosystems and, therefore, also present a threat to fishing. As a team led by OCCR memberThomas Frölicher showed in a study just published in the journal Nature, the number of marine heatwaves has increased dramatically in past decades. This trend will further intensify as a result of climate change.

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Hot city summer

2 August 2018

A dense network to measure temperature in Bern provides a detailed three dimensional picture of this summer’s heatwave. OCCR researcher show that the differences between single points of measurement within the city of Bern as well as in its surroundings may differ up to 4 °C. This is an important piece of information to plan measures against heat stress.

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Lessons about a future warmer world using data from the past

25 June 2018

A workshop in Bern in April 2017 which was funded by PAGES and the OCCR on the Past Global Changes integrated activity "Warmer Worlds"  has now led to a publication in Nature Geoscience. “Warmer Worlds” uses paleoclimate evidence to assess a future warming. The assessment of past warm periods by an international team of 59 scientists from 17 nations, shows that in response to the warming ecosystems and climate zones will spatially shift and on millennial time scales ice sheets will substantially shrink.

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Top of Europe» for greenhouse gas measurements

18 June 2018

The research station at Jungfraujoch where the OCCR group „Environmental Isotopes and Gases“ plays a prominent role is at the top of Europe – and not only because of its unique location. Within the framework of the European research infrastructure „Integrated Carbon Observation System" (ICOS), the laboratory in the heart of the Alps is now officially certified. ICOS provides data to better understand the global carbon cycle and how human activities affect it. The backbone of ICOS is a network of stations that have to meet the highest quality standards.

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A collective reminder for forgetful Switzerland

28 May 2018

At the OCCR, the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks aims to better inform authorities and the public about the risks associated with flooding. For this reason, it’s creating an interactive online database of images illustrating floods: the “Collective Flood Memory”.

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ERC Advanced Grant for Climate Reconstructions

18 April 2018

OCCR researcher Stefan Brönnimann has received a grant of 3 million Swiss francs from the European Research Council for the next five years. The goal of the funded project PALAEO-RA is to produce a comprehensive reconstruction of global climate of the past six centuries, a palaeo-reanalysis. The reconstruction will provide globally complete, three dimensional monthly fields of many variables and thus allows dynamical interpretations of past climate events. The project combines numerical modelling and mathematical techniques with historical documentary data and measurements, and dynamical analyses.  

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A thermometer for the oceans

4 January 2018

The average sea temperature is an essential parameter of the global climate – but it is very difficult to measure. At least until now, because an international team of researchers including OCCR scientists have now developed a novel method using the concentration of noble gases in the eternal ice. This allows conclusions to be drawn on the changes in sea temperature from the last ice age to the present day.

Surface Water Floods – an Underestimated Risk

23 November 2017

Half of all flood damages are caused by surface water floods. However, recent hazard maps do not take into account this process. On 23 November from 16:15 to 19:00, the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks and the OCCR organize a public event (in German) where different activities regarding research, modelling and mapping of surface water floods as well as prevention strategies will be discussed.

Talk on global climate policy by Robert Keohane

24 October 2017

Robert Keohane who is a Professor of International Affairs at Princeton University, will hold a talk at the OCCR on 15 November 2017 about designing a global climate regime without US leadership. He is the author of several highly renowned books and has been awarded the Balzan Prize 2016 for International Relations: History and Theory which will be presented in Bern later this month.

Exhibition “Our Water” awarded Expo Prize

29 September 2017

The Oeschger Centre is a scientific partner of the exhibition “Our Water: Six Models for the Future“ at the Swiss Alpine Museum (alps). The show has now been awarded Prix Expo 2017 by the Swiss Academy of Sciences. This prize is awarded to exhibitions and related activities that convey the fascination for nature and sciences to a wide public in a thematically competent and experience-oriented way. The jury commended the «independent, courageous, and radical exhibition on a highly topical theme». The exhibition has been prolonged until 7 January 2018.

Eric Strobl is a new professor for environmental and climate economics

2 October 2017

The German economist Eric Strobl is a new full-time professor for environmental and climate economics at the University of Bern and a member of the OCCR. He researches in particular extreme weather events and the role they play for the economic mechanism in developing countries. With this expertise on conducting empirical evaluations of the effects of climate on the economy, the University of Bern is strengthening the exchange taking place between university research and policy, administration and economy. Eric Strobl fills the newly created endowed professorship for environmental and climate economics.

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Prehistoric alpine farming in the Bernese Oberland

6 April 2017

The people in Switzerland were on the move in the High Alps and running alpine pastures 7,000 years ago and therefore much earlier than previously assumed. A study by the University of Bern that combines archaeological knowledge with findings from palaeoecology comes to this conclusion. Prehistoric finds from the Schnidejoch Pass played a crucial part in this.

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OCCR study rehabilitates climate models

7 February 2017

With new methods of reconstruction, climate researchers of the Oeschger Centre have been able to demonstrate that some 9,000 to 5,000 years ago, the Mediterranean climate was considerably warmer than previous studies had suggested. Among other things, previous concerns regarding the reliability of climate models could thus be dispelled.
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Deadly Wartime Weather

12 December 2016

One of the worst meteorological disasters in history took place in the southeastern Alps during the infamous winter of 1916 /17. Avalanches following a massive snowfall event killed thousands of soldiers as well as civilians. Novel insight into the event arises from an interdisciplinary study conducted at the Oeschger Centre. It provides detailed reconstruction based on weather forecast models and shows the potential of combining numerical techniques with historical documents.

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Our Water: Six Models for the Future

1 November 2016

The Swiss Alpine Museum (alps) has teamed up with the Oeschger Centre as a scientific partner for an exhibition. The show is called “Our Water: Six Models for the Future“. OCCR researchers have provided input and guidance for the concept of this challenging exhibition which promises to take a look into the future while making the link between research and fiction. Starting from the current scientific standpoint, four contemporary authors have come up with six models for our future existence with water.

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Studying and networking at the foot of Mount Eiger

20 September 2016

For 15 years now, the OCCR summer school has been attracting both young researchers and experienced scientists to Grindelwald. In a relaxed atmosphere far from the ivory towers of academia, young scientists from around the world can network with their peers and engage with their role models.

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“I am probably considered an individual success story”

31 August 2016

American born tree-ring specialist David Frank came to Switzerland to do a PhD. He stayed for almost 15 years and ended up as the Principal Investigator of the OCCR’s Dendroclimatology group at the WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research). Now, as he explains in this interview, he will move on to direct the oldest and largest lab for tree-ring research in the world, the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson. This is a big achievement not only for David Frank, but for the Oeschger Centre as well.

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Standard work on climate and society

22 June 2016

Heinz Wanner the founding president of the OCCR and retired professor of climatology has published a new book. It is entitled „Klima und Mensch – eine 12'000 jährige Geschichte“ (Climate and man –12'000 years of history) and follows the relationship between climate and the great social upheavals in the past.

New Tambora brochure launched

30 May 2016

Members of the Oeschger Centre, in a common effort, have published an new brochure on the 1815 Tambora eruption an its consequences for climate an society.

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Hail researchers rely on smartphone apps and damaged cars

24 April 2016

Although hail causes extensive damage, there hasn't been a comprehensive monitoring network -- until now. Researchers at the Oeschger Centre's Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks are using data on damaged vehicles plus hail reports from the population to improve hail warnings.

Oeschger researchers heading for major Antarctic expedition

24 April 2016

The Oeschger Centre is part of the newly established Swiss Polar Institute, and several of its researchers will take part in the SPI’s first major project: the first scientific expedition set to completely circumnavigate Antarctica.

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Take the floor - communicating climate science 

21 March 2016

A group of Master students of the OCCR’s Graduate School of Climate Sciences has realized a short documentary called Take the floor that is based on interviews conducted at COP 21. 

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More greenhouse gases from the sea

12 February 2016

The ocean surrounding Antarctica, which oceanographers often refer to as the Southern Ocean, plays an important role in regulating the Earth’s climate evolution. It absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere on one hand, but releases natural carbon as well. How will this buffer work in the future? Will the Southern Ocean continue to help reduce greenhouse gases, or will it increasingly serve as a source of them? At the Oeschger Centre, several climate research teams are searching for answers.
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Timely action needed to meet climate targets

20 January 2016

The Paris Agreement of the UN climate change conference is deemed a historic step for climate protection, but its success depends on rapid implementations. The consequences of delaying global CO2 emission reductions for the climate and the world oceans are assessed in a new study by climate physicists from the University of Bern.

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News Archive (before 2016)