News 2023


Great collaboration between OCCR researchers

December 2023

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the OCCR has provided scientific evidence and legal advice to the European Court of Human Rights. The team has published its experience in preparing evidence for a case in which a group of older women are suing the Swiss government in the journal Nature.
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Climate facts 2023

4 December 2023

The future global climate policy will be negotiated at COP 28 in Dubai.
But where are we today? Where is climate change already making itself felt? Four researchers from the OCCR get to the heart of current developments in their field in short video statements in the University of Bern's uniAKTUELL web journal.
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Climate extremes disrupt fungal–bacterial interactions

4 December 2023

OCCR member Maddy Thakur contributes a comment piece to the special issue of Nature Microbiology in regard to COP 28 in Dubai. In this issue, the journal focuses microbes and climate change. “Climate changes can destabilize soil microbial communities”, the comment reads “but compound and sequential extreme climate events will magnify the destabilizing effects to other trophic levels — thereby impacting terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.”
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Great honour

20 November 2023

Michael Sigl, head of the OCCR research group Palaeovolcanism and Climate Impacts, has been honoured with the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for 2024. This prestigious prize is awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of ice research or short-term climatic changes in the past, present and future. Michael Sigl's research focusses on the effects of past volcanic eruptions on society, among other things.
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Successfully launched discussion

31 October 2023

The conference co-organised by the OCCR "Climate protection and subsidies: Do we need reforms?" on 20 October 2023 was a complete success. The event raised awareness of subsidies in the climate law debate among a wide audience. For example, the renowned radio programme "Echo der Zeit" on Swiss Radio SRF took up the topic.

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Phosphorous – too much in lakes, too little in the soil

27 October 2023

Over-fertilised waterways, impoverished soils: the use of phosphorous in agriculture is creating a dilemma, and it all began thousands of years ago. This has been verified by an analysis coordinated by the OCCR. An international team has made a reconstruction of how much phosphorous around the world has been washed from soils into lakes and stored there over the last few thousand years. Data from 108 lakes around the world enabled the researchers to make a global projection of phosphorous entry into lakes for the first time.
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New professor for climate physics

22 August 2023

OCCR member Thomas Frölicher has been appointed by the Executive Board of the University of Bern as a full professor of climate and environmental physics as of 1 August 2024. He succeeds Thomas Stocker, who will retire in summer 2024. Thomas Frölicher is a specialist in ocean and climate modelling and has been an SNSF assistant professor at the University of Bern since 2017.
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The ocean supermodeller

21 August 2023

OCCR member Thomas Frölicher is featured in the Swiss National Science Foundation's "Faces of Science" profile series. "Research is so much more than results and publishing," writes the SNSF. "It is also a human adventure story." The profiles are therefore not only about professional careers, but also about everyday challenges and exciting successes. The video about Thomas Frölicher is entitled "The ocean supermodeller". "Faces of Science"

New book on palaeoecology

15 August 2023

OCCR member Willy Tinner is one of the editors of a new book entitled
“Quaternary Vegetation Dynamics of Europe”. Based on palaeoecological studies by many authors, this book gives an overview of the changing history of the European plant cover during the past 2.6 million years, characterized by numerous cold and warm periods. For the first time, a detailed synthesis is presented of the many findings on European vegetation dynamics, which are complex and increasingly difficult to summarize.
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Could artificially dimming the sun prevent ice melt?

13 August 2023

With methods of so-called geoengineering, the climate could theoretically be artificially influenced and cooled. Researchers of the OCCR have now investigated whether it would be possible to prevent the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet by artificially "dimming the sun". The results, which have just benn published in Nature Climate Change, show that artificial influence does not work without decarbonization and entails high risks.
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Tree rings show: it has never been this warm in the last 1200 years

2 August 2023

OCCR member Georg von Arx is co-author of a paper just published in the journal Nature that could have far-reaching implications for understanding the climate of the past. The study, based on a new 1200-year time series using tree rings, shows that the medieval climate anomaly was cooler than previously thought. The authors used a new method to reconstruct temperatures from tree rings. They directly measured the cell wall thickness of the wood cells in the annual tree rings.
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Global warming caused 60 percent of Swiss heat deaths in the summer of 2022

4 July 2023

Climate change is intensifying heat, leading to a significant increase in heat-related health problems. About 60 percent of the more than 600 heat-related deaths in the summer of 2022 in Switzerland can be attributed to human-induced global warming. This is shown by a study just published in “Environmental Research Letters” journal led by OCCR member Ana Vicedo.
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Switzerland is looking for the largest hailstone

5 June 2023

To mark its 10th anniversary, the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks at the University of Bern is holding a competition on hail, looking for photos of large hailstones. The Mobiliar Lab works at the interface between science and practice and investigates how hail, floods and storms occur, and how damage can be reduced. It develops tools for better handling of natural risks.
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"We should shine a much brighter spotlight on international research networks"

31 May 2023

Martin Grosjean, the director of the Oeschger Center, is also the co-chair of PAGES (Past Global Changes) since 2023. He shares his views in an interview about the role of international research networks and the importance of PAGES for the University of Bern’s reputation.
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Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation was more stable than thought

3 April 2023

A study by OCCR researchers published in the Nature Geoscience journal concludes that at the end of the last ice age there was not, as previously assumed, a complete collapse of the ocean circulation in the Atlantic, which provides a mild climate in Europe. This realization has implications for the discussion on climate tipping points.
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