Oeschger News (August 2013)

Mercator Professorship to be installed at the OCCR

The Mercator Foundation has decided to sponsor a new professorship to be installed at the Environmental and Climate Economics group of the OCCR. The title of this assistant professorship (tenure track) is "Empirisch-experimentelle Klima- und Umweltökonomik", it will focus on research in the field of mitigation and adaptation. A job offer will be placed in September 2013, the new professor should start work at the end of 2014.

For further details contact ralph.winkler@vwi.unibe.ch.

OCCR represents University of Bern at SwissECS

On 11 and 12 September 2013 the Swiss Energy and Climate Summit takes place in a huge tent in front of the federal parliament building for the second time. This high profile conference for politicians and business representatives comprises an exhibition zone where the University of Bern was asked to contribute a stand. The Oeschger Centre has gladly accepted the invitation to provide the content for this showcase. Our presentation will concentrate on the new MICADAS 14C dating facilities at the OCCR's Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS. The exhibition comprises a 3D model of the MIni radioCArbon DAting System and a video explaining its functioning.

Regional climate modelling strengthened

The OCCR has decided to strengthen its position in the field of regional climate modelling and created a special position to achieve this goal. This PostDoc position is integrated into the group for Earth System Modeling - Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics and it has been filled with Juan José Gómez-Navarro, an experienced regional climate modeller. He will start work in October 2013.

Mobiliar Lab sharpens its scientific profile

The Mobiliar lab for climate risks and natural hazards established earlier this year, gets a clear scientific profile. The management of the new institution that is part of the Mobiliar Chair for Climate Impact Research in the Alpine Region at the OCCR has just presented a research concept. It states that work will focus on floods, wind, hail and mass movements. The first projects will deal with floods and hail specifically. The research group will consist of one PostDoc and 4-5 PhD positions and is funded with 5 mio CHF for 2013-2020. The research will concentrate on applied projects and should lead to end-user friendly products for the use by practitioners in public administration, engineering companies etc.

OCCR supports high-profile conferences

The conference Remote Sensing of Snow, Glaciers and Ice Caps: Monitoring the Cryosphere in near-real time and for climate studies will take place at the University of Bern, 3-6 February 2014. The number of expected participants is 80. In 2017, the 10th International Carbon Dioxide Conference that was initially co-founded by Hans Oeschger will take place at the University of Bern. 800 to 1000 participants are expected to attend this major event of the carbon dioxide community.

Plenary meetings to be held twice a year

Members wish to be better informed on the wealth of activities within the OCCR, a survey showed. The traditional OCCR plenary was thus held twice this year in February and in August. As the attendance of the summer meeting showed - more than 70 people met on 20 August 2013 - the new format corresponds to a reel need. The OCCR plenary meetings will therefore be organized twice a year on a regular basis.

MICADAS fully operational now

The MICADAS (MIni radioCArbon DAting System) is fully operational now and OCCR members can have their samples dated at a preferential rate.

OCCR groups receive international visitors

Monika Toth from Centre for Ecological Research, Balaton Limnological Institute and member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences paid a visit to the group for Aquatic Paleoecology. Her visit was part of a grant by the COST Action INTIMATE. The Terrestrial Paleoecology group was visited by Graciela Gil Romera from the Department of Geo-environmental Processes and Global Change of the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology - CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain. Her stay was also part of the COST Action INTIMATE and served to plan common research projects. Katarzyna Marcisz from the Department of Biogeography and Palaeoecology, Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Management of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Pozna?, Poland stays with the Terrestrial Paleoecology group until the end of 2013. Her stay is financed by a SCIEX project (RE-FIRE, REconstructing long-term Fire Impact and its Role in wetland Ecosystems) of CRUS (Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities).

Oeschger Lecture to be held by Dietmar Wagenbach

During autumn semester 2013, Dietmar Wagenbach (see Oeschger News May 2013) will teach a course in glaciology as part of the Oeschger Lectures. The lecture will deal with a variety of paleo-climate signs, specifically carried by Alpine glaciers. This information system reaches from various evidences on past glacier extent and mass balance changes to glacial records of different climate proxy parameters. Emphasis will be given to the assessment of the climate significance of these records through applying some basic tools adapted to the given glacio-meteorology and to the typical spatio-temporal scale of Alpine glaciers. It is envisaged to have a one-day excursion to the ice cave of the Chli Titlis ice tunnel as part of the course. The lecture will be given in the seminar room of the Oeschger Centre weekly on Wednesdays from 16:15 to 18:00 (as of 18 September 2013).

Field campaign on La Réunion island

At the end of August 2013, two microwave radiometers of the Institute of Applied Physics will be installed on La Réunion island at the high altitude observatory of Maïdo. The middle atmospheric water vapour radiometer, MIAWARA, operated by PhD student Brigitte Tschanz, will measure the distribution of water vapour in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. Rolf Rüfenacht, another PhD student, will operate WIRA, a wind radiometer, to measure the horizontal wind speed in the middle atmosphere in the tropics what has not been realized so far by any other instrument on a regular basis. The aim of the Maïdo campaign is to investigate the distribution and variability of these important atmospheric parameters. Both instruments will stay on the island for approximately one year and will be remotely controlled from Bern.

A new instrument for the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer

The Institute of Applied Physics receives funding by the Swiss Space Office for the development of the Submillimeter Wave Instrument (SWI) for the ESA L1 mission JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer). SWI will measure atmospheric profiles and surface structures of composition, temperature, pressure and wind of Ganymede, Callisto and Jupiter.

Hydrology group produces new excursion guide

The new guide is part of a series called "Wege durch die Wasserwelt" and can be used to plan school excursions as well as leisure activities. The Hydrology group of the OCCR has been producing 4 guides in the past year dealing with timely themes regarding water in the canton of Bern. The guides are based on scientific information collected in the Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland (HADES) that is edited by the Hydrology group on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (BAFU).

HADES data now available in digital format

Large parts of the Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland (HADES) are now available in digital format and can be downloaded from a new website. This means that hydrological information, that was only available in print until now, can be used in an interactive way via a WebGIS application as well. The HADES dataset is also available as shapefiles to be used in a personal GIS application. For users subscribed to HADES, these additional services are free of charge - a facility that is largely appreciated by users.

Yanlin Zhang wins travel award

Yanlin Zhang, a PhD student at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA), received one of the SCNAT/SCS Chemistry Travel Awards by the Platform Chemistry of the Swiss Academy of Sciences and the Swiss Chemical Society. This award will allow him to present his work entitled "Radiocarbon-based source apportionment of EC and OC in fine particulate matter at a regional background site on Hainan Island, South China" at the 32nd Annual Conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research at Portland.

Two new visiting scientists at the OCCR

Franco Biondi from the University of Nevada, Reno, USA will stay with the group for Dendroclimatology at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL from September to October 2013. His research interests are in droughts, vegetation-climate interactions and the climate of the last 2000 years (dendro). Don't hesitate to contact him via Dave Frank frank@wsl.ch.

Dietmar Wagenbach from the Institute of Environmental Physics of the University of Heidelberg, Germany is a guest at the group for Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores form September 2013 to January 2014. His research interests are in ice and climate. He can be contacted via Hubertus Fischer hfischer@climate.unibe.ch Dietmar will teach a course in glaciology as part of the Oeschger Lectures (see above).

Apéro series and Welcome meeting - save the date!

The next OCCR Welcome Meeting for new members of the Oeschger Centre will take place on Friday, 20 September 2013, 4-6 pm at the Management Centre, Zähringerstr. 25, 3012 Bern. You will get your personal invitation. The second edition of the get-together for OCCR PostDocs and PhDs (Apéro Series) is planned on Friday, 27 September 2013, 4-6 pm. The hosts will send out an invitation flyer soon.

OCCR e-mail signatures - check postal address

We have asked you repeatedly to use your OCCR affiliation in e-mail signatures in order to raise the profile of our institution. Many thanks for doing so! But please don't add the management centre's postal address (Zähringerstr. 25, 3012 Bern) as we have received several parcels recently that were sent here by mistake. In other words: Use your own groups address in e-mail signatures only.

Researchers who have recently joined the OCCR:

Malin Michelle Ziehmer is a new PhD student at the Environmental Isotopes and Gases group. She wrote a master thesis called Towards a 500-year summer temperature reconstruction from Pinus heldreichii on Mt. Olympus and used to work for the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

Guido Felder is a new PhD student at the Hydrology group. He received his master degree from the University of Bern (Sensitivitätsanalyse des hydrologischen Modells PREVAH) and now develops a method to estimate extreme floods.

Matthias Probst is a new PhD student at the Hydrology group. He studied geography at the University of Bern and works as a lecturer for didactics at PH Bern. His PhD project is on the Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland (HADES) as learning aid.

Eveline Zbinden is a new PhD student at the Hydrology group. She did her studies in geography and history at the University of Bern and did a CAS Räumliche Informationssysteme at ETH Zürich. Her PhD project is on European floods in the 14th century.

A warm welcome to all of you!

Researchers who have recently left the OCCR:

Oliver Bossdorf who was a PostDoc at the Plant Ecology group now leads the Gruppe Evolutionäre Ökologie der Pflanzen at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

Abdallah Alaoui who was a PostDoc at the Hydrology group now works in the private sector.

All the best to you!