Oeschger News (December 2010)

A high-tech replacement for the Oeschger Counter

More than 50 years ago, Hans Oeschger made science history with the invention of his 14C-measuring device at the University of Bern. Now, a new 14C-analysis instrument is being developed. The OCCR is the driving force behind the project for a new radiocarbon dating system, which will be used jointly by different research groups.

First ice core from temperate Ewigschneefeld

On 12 September 2010 the analytical chemistry group from the Paul Scherrer Institut finished an ice core drilling at 57 m depth on Ewigschneefeld (3462 m a.s.l.) in the Swiss Alps. Ewigschneefeld is a temperate glacier, containing a water table at about 21 m depth. The upper 31 m were drilled electromechanically and for the deeper part a new thermal drill was used, producing ice cores of excellent quality even in the water-filled borehole. The ice core is being analysed in the frame of the SNF-Project "Accelerated release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from Alpine glaciers" in order to investigate the transport of POPs within temperate ice and quantify their release by melting. This project is a collaborative effort, involving scientists from PSI, University of Bern, ETHZ, and EMPA.

OCCR researchers are part of the new EU project CARBOCHANGE

The research group of Fortunat Joos at the Physics Institute of the University of Bern will participate in the new EU FP7 project CARBOCHANGE. CARBOCHANGE is an integrative project with the aims to provide the best possible process-based quantification of net ocean carbon uptake under changing climate conditions and to improve the quantitative understanding of key biogeochemical and physical processes through a combination of observations and models. Fortunat Joos' group is leading the module Data-Model Integration and will contribute with comprehensive Earth system model simulations and with ensemble kalman filter data assimilations. These contributions evolve from earlier work performed within the EU projects CARBOOCEAN on marine carbon sinks, EUROCEANS on marine ecosystem processes, and EPOCA on ocean acidification.

NCCR Climate Summer School – register now!

The 10th International NCCR Climate Summer School will take place in Grindelwald from 4 – 9 September 2011. OCCR members are kindly invited to attend (all fees covered) – but don't forget to register until 31 January 2011! The theme of the NCCR Climate Summer School 2011 is "Climate Change, Extremes and Ecosystem Services". The keynote talks, workshops and an excursion cover the following topics: Ecological implications of climate change and weather extreme; Ecosystem services and climate change: forests, grasslands and croplands; Food security: coping with climate change in agriculture; Global land and water use in a changing climate.

Christian Pfister honored in Peru

OCCR researcher Christian Pfister was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by the University Ricardo Palma in Lima for his merits in historical climatology. Guests at the ceremony on 13 October 2010 included Anne-Pascale Krauer Müller, the Swiss ambassador to Peru.

Mark van Kleunen receives Theodor Kocher Award

OCCR researcher Mark van Kleunen received the University of Bern's Theodor Kocher Award 2010. This award goes to the most promising young researchers. Mark von Kleunen was honored, among other reasons, for having established his own research group in the area of invasion biology in a very short lapse of time and for his excellent lectures on this topic.

New OCCR template for conference flyers available

Organisers of workshops, conferences, etc. within the OCCR can now benefit form a professional layout for their flyers. If you would like to use this design contact Monika Wälti (monika.waelti@oeschger.unibe.ch, +41 31 684 31 45). Remember that on the intranet section of our website you can find many other templates in the OCCR's corporate design. We strongly encourage using these items in your professional contacts and public appearances to help the OCCR gain visibility.

Rixt de Jong receives Marie Curie European Reintegration Grant

OCCR researcher Rixt de Jong is awarded a Marie Curie European Reintegration Grant for her work on Chilean Lake sediments as archives for climate variability during the past 1000 years. The grant forms an essential contribution to the SNSF Ambizione project "Cold-season climate variability in the Chilean Andes during the past millennium". This project aims to develop high-resolution, quantitative reconstructions of summer and winter temperature variability in the Chilean Andes during the past 1000 years based on novel methods. These records will be used to put recent climatic changes in a long-term context, study changes in seasonal contrasts/extremes and to study forcing factors in the greater study area by comparison to GCM ensemble runs.

Call or papers: Climate Economics and Law Conference

On 16 and 17 June 2011, the Climate Economics and Law Conference is taking place at the University of Bern. This conference is organised by Work Package 4 of the OCCR and of the NCCR Climate and covers mitigation, adaptation and technological change as well as trade regulations and unilateral climate policies. Papers can be submitted until 28 February 2011.

New members in the OCCR's scientific committee

The University of Bern's administration has elected the following researchers as members of the scientific committee of the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research:

  • Fortunat Joos (president for a 4 year term)
  • Christian Rohr (successor of Christian Pfister)
  • Stefan Brönnimann for the department of Earth Sciences (successor of Heinz Wanner)

Christoph Raible joins the OCCR Management Centre

Christoph Raible who now works as an Oberassistent at the Department for Climate and Environmental Physics of the University of Bern will join the OCCR Management Centre at the beginning of 2011. On the one hand he will clear the OCCR director of some of his administrative duties. On the other hand he is in charge of coordinating and implementing some of the OCCR's research foci and initiate new common projects, notably in relation with the Mobiliar chair for climate change impact research.

OCCR meeting on 16 February – save the date!

Please note that the next meeting of the scientific committee as well as an OCCR plenary meeting will take place in the afternoon on Wednesday, 16 February 2011. A formal invitation will be sent out shortly to all OCCR members.

Registration for INQUA Congress opens in January 2011

Once every four years, Quaternary researchers from all over the world meet at the INQUA Congress to exchange the latest research results and develop agendas for the years to come. The next INQUA Congress will take place in Bern from 20 – 27 July 2011. The scientific scope of INQUA is: Coastal and Marine Processes, Palaeoclimate, Humans and Biosphere, Stratigraphy and Chronology, Terrestrial Processes, Deposits and History. The congress programme will address these themes during 6 days of oral and poster sessions, plenary presentations, and side meetings. The scientific programme will be garnished with social events at scenic spots, and of course, in the tradition of INQUA Congresses, with attractive field trips before, during, and after the congress week.

6th EARSeL Workshop in Bern, February 2011

The European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories (EARSeL), a scientific network of remote sensing institutes, organises workshops on a regular basis. Their 6th workshop has the theme "Remote Sensing of Snow and Glaciers: Cryosphere, Hydrology and Climate Interactions" and is going to take place at the Institute of Geography of the University of Bern on 7 – 9 February 2011.

OCCR project selected for Science Night 2011

The University of Bern has decided to join the Science Night initiative of the EU's research ministry. On 23 September 2011 researchers in more than 200 European cities will provide the general public a – possibly! – captivating insight into their work. The University's administration had opened a competition for faculties and institutes to present ideas for the event earlier this year. Now, a jury has selected the OCCR's project "The big climate poker" to be realised, among others, as part of the science night. The project aims to create an interactive representation of the climate system and its forcing factors by using sensor equipped giant poker dices.

Researchers count on web users to tap weather data

OCCR researcher Stefan Brönnimann counts on the support of web users to gain access to previously untapped weather records. Immense quantities of data, including records from German radiosondes operated during World War II, are victims of a failed transition into the digital age and still reside in long-forgotten archives around the world. Making this large bulk of data accessible and usable represents an almost impossible task. So, Stefan Brönnimman and his colleagues decided to call upon the assistance of interested laypeople to help digitise historical data. On the homepage http://www.data-rescue-at-home.org, volunteers may type up excerpts from scanned data sheets. The transmitted data are subsequently and thoroughly scrutinised for quality control. Thus, the project initiators aim to digitise 10,000 values per day. Unlike offerings from private information providers in the field, the data processed by the internet community is available to everybody for free.

Researchers joining and leaving the OCCR

The climatology group at the Institute of Geography is complete again:

Stefan Brönnimann has studied Geography at the University of Bern and worked as an assistant professor at ETH Zurich. His research focus is on historical data of the 3-dimensional atmosphere, analysis of large-scale climate over the past 150 years, and modeling and comparison with observation-based data. Stefan Brönnimann is the successor of Heinz Wanner as head of the climatology group at the Institute of Geography.

Alexander Stickler, Postdoc, works on digitisation, compilation, and homogenisation of historical upper-air data, comparisons between different reanalysis products, and analysis of wind profiles in historical periods.

Renate Kocen does a PhD on the homogenisation of historical time series on a subdaily scale.

Yuri Brugnara has started his PhD project on the influence of solar variability on climate from models and observations.

Richard Wartenburger, PhD student, is interested in the comparison of observation-based global 3 dimensional data sets, and in the analysis of drought events and other large-scale climate anomalies. His PhD project is entitled EVALUATE (Extension, Validation and Analysis of Historical Upper-Air Data Sets).

A big welcome to all of you!