July 2017

General News



General News

Climate and Environmental Physics lands funding from SNFS

The OCCR groups at Climate and Environmental Physics (KUP) have been granted new project fundings by the SNSF. The Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group has received an excellence grant of 1.7 Million CHF for its project “Innovation in ice core science”. The Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group was awarded fundings of 1.7 Million CHF for its project “Pleistocene Earth System Evolution (pleistoCEP)“. The Earth System Modeling – Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycles group received a project grant of 0.95 Million CHF for “Modeling Global Biogeochemical Cycles in the Earth System (bgcCEP)“. And the Environmental Isotopes and Gases group was granted 1.0 Million CHF for the project “Isotopes in Earth System Science (isoCEP)“.

UniBE international 2021

Two OCCR groups have successfully applied for Doctoral Positions offered by the Vice-Rectorate Development of the Univ. Bern for highly motivated and excelling international graduate students. The Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology group was granted funding for the PhD project “Holocene climate variability and anthropogenic impacts recorded in the dynamics of productivity and anoxia in varved Lake Burgä schi” submitted by Luyao Tu. She received her MSc education at the Faculty of Geochemistry and Environmental Science, University of Science and Technology of China.

The Biotic Interactions group will host Doan Van Cong. He finished his Bachelor in Crop Sciences at Cantho University (Vietnam) and has just successfully completed his Master in Plant Protection at University of Pannoia (Hungary) thanks to a grant by FAO. In his PhD project, he will study the consequences of climate change (temperature, moisture, CO2) on useful insects in order to establish a biological pest control approach for the future.

Paleoecology meets evolution biology

In a joint project, the OCCR groups Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology, Terrestrial Paleoecology, Aquatic Paleoecology as well as Quaternary Geology and Paleoclimatology are joining forces with the Institute of Ecology & Evolution of the University of Bern. The team was granted 80’000 CHF to finance a drilling expedition in Lake Victoria by Strategy Fund of the Faculty of Science. The project aims at bringing knowhow developed in paleoclimatology to evolution biology. It is called “Digging deep into Lake Victora's past: 15,000 years of ecosystem dynamics and evolution reconstructed from sediment cores of the world’s largest tropical lake”. In a nutshell, the project will use remains of the cichlid fish in lake sediments to extract and sequence ancient DNA from several-thousand-years-old fossils. This opens up unprecedented opportunities to better understand effects of climate variability and ecosystem dynamics on biotic evolution, faunal turnover and biodiversity. The project was met with enthusiasm at the PAGES open science meeting earlier this year, and should eventually turn into a SNSF Synergia project. Further information on this thrilling endeavour will follow.

New partner for EURO-CLIMHIST

The historical climate database EURO-CLIMHIST has a new cooperation partner. A group of environmental and climate historians at the University of Tallinn, Estonia, led by Ulrike Plath, is currently re-arranging documentary climate data of the renowned climate historian Andres Tarand, both published and unpublished data, to be inserted and published via the EURO-CLIMHIST database. This data will cover the Baltic region and will be available online presumably by mid-2018. This cooperation is funded by the Estonian “Tallinna Ülikooli Uuringufondi TOETUSE TAOTLUS” grant. In addition, extra funding within in the EURO-CLIMHIST project goes to OCCR member Heli Huhtamaa, who will insert comparative data from Finland.

Graphic design and climate change

The OCCR was invited by Bern University of Arts (HKB) to be a scientific partner, alongside with Greenpeace as the practice partner, to oversee a student project. First-year students in graphic design were asked to create a poster related to climate change. In previous years the same course had dealt with societal topics such as racism and Alzheimer disease. In the end, a total of 15 designs were presented to the jury including OCCR representatives. The first prize was awarded to a poster by Balz Aellen entitled “anflüge-abflüge pro tag”.


OCCR Plenary Meeting on 12 September 2017

The next OCCR Plenary Meeting will take place on 12 September 2017 (14 – 17 h) at Uni Tobler, Lecture Hall F 021. Save the date!

Climate Science goes regional

As a side event of the ICDC10 conference in Interlaken, the OCCR organizes an evening of public lectures on the consequences of climate change for the Bernese Oberland. The event will take place on 24 August 2017 at Kursaal Interlaken, and is presented in cooperation with the Forum für Universität und Gesellschaft. It will comprise lectures by OCCR members Martin Grosjean (Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology group), Thomas Stocker (Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group) and Rolf Weingartner (Hydrology group).

Climate containers on tour

From mid-August to mid-September 2017, the OCCR will present a touring exhibition on climate research for the general public, called “Container3 – bringing environmental knowledge to the quarters”. Container3 will be installed in sea containers and tour six city districts of Bern. Additional stops will be the ICDC10  conference in Interlaken and the Science Night at the University of Bern on 16 September 2017. The show is realized in cooperation with the city of Bern which will present, in its own containers, topics related to energy and mobility. The official opening will take place on 17 August on the Casino square in the old part of town including speeches by the Univ. Bern rector Christian Leumann as well as Thomas Stocker and City municipal councillor Reto Nause. The climate science part of the exhibition will highlight six OCCR research projects ranging from the historical reconstructions of floods of the river Gürbe to the “Oldest Ice” project.

Climate Garden

The OCCR is a partner of an exhibition called “The Climate Garden” at the Botanical Garden Bern. It evolves around a public experiment which shows the effect of climate change on biodiversity as well as crops. Several OCCR members contribute to a series of open air talks that are part of the show.

First Swiss Polar Day

The first Swiss Polar Day will take place on 7 September 2017 at WSL in Birmensdorf. Participation is open for polar scientists as well as polar-interested laymen. The program is now available online and the registration is open. The aim of this event is to gather all polar scientists working in Switzerland at one place, and share information on current research projects in the high latitudes areas. Presentations on ongoing work as well as plans for the future will be followed by a round table discussion, as well a networking apéro.

OCCR Young Researchers Meeting 2017

The 16th edition of the Young Researchers Meeting focused on "Career planning for Climate Scientists." In Aeschi, a pleasant village nested above Lake Thun, a number of 46 PhDs and Postdocs from U Bern, WSL, Agroscope, PSI, and ETH Zürich reflected on how to make good decisions in life and get a decent job. Networking strategies, boosting personal resources, hunting for a grant or simply getting a suit and a haircut for the interview - the keynotes and workshops offered a range of theoretical aspects and practical hints for finding a satisfactory position as a Climate Scientist in academia, administration or the private sector. Among others, the inputs by Stefan Brönnimann (Institute of Geography) and Oliver Heiri (Institute of Plant Sciences), and former OCCR members (Regine Röthlisberger, BAFU; Carly Casty, PartnerRe) were highly appreciated.

First Bernese Delegation at StuMeTa

For the first time, a delegation of master students from the OCCR Graduate School of Climate Sciences attended the StuMeTa (Studentische Meteorologen-Tagung) held in Karlsruhe this year. The StuMeTa is a meeting of german-speaking Meteorology students. Social aspects did not go amiss (see picture) besides informative lectures on topics such as hail and climate change, career opportunities at the German Weather Sercive and interactive workshops on climate politics or tropical synoptics. The StuMeTa is a great event to meet meteorology students from all over Europe and exchange experiences, and the delegation can highly recommend it to future students: See you at the StuMeTa 2018 in Cologne/Bonn!

Apéro Series as successful as ever

The spring edition of the “Apéro Series” for young researchers hosted by the Institute of Plant Sciences was met with vivid interest on 19 May. At the botanical garden, about 25 OCCR PhDs and Postdocs followed presentations of individual research projects of their hosts and then the scientific exchange carried on over drinks and snacks. The next edition of this informal get-together will take place this autumn. PhDs willing to organise an Apéro with the help of their research group please get in touch!


Hubertus Fischer receives Dansgaard Award

OCCR member Hubertus Fischer (Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group) was honoured by the American Geophysical Union, the most prestigious professional organization in this field. Hubertus was awarded the 2017 Dansgaard Award for his outstanding work in researching the climate using polar ice cores.

Thomas Stocker to hold Emiliani Lecture

OCCR member Thomas Stocker (Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group) will hold the Cesare Emiliani Lecutre at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting in New Orleans. This honour is bestowed on scientists for meritorious work or service toward the advancement and promotion of discovery in Earth science.

Cameras to the fore! Giving Swiss research a face

Bernhard Bereiter (Postdoc at the Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group) was awarded a „distinction“ for his picture „Sampling an Antarctic Glacier” at the recent Scientific Image Competition of the SNSF. The competition encourages researchers working in Switzerland to present their works to the public and the media. Photographs, images and videos are rated “in terms of their aesthetic quality and their ability to inspire and amaze, to convey or illustrate knowledge, to tell a human story or to let us discover a new universe”. The international jury selected four prize-winning images and awarded eleven distinctions. In total, 239 researchers registered 497 entries.

Martin Pletscher leaves the OCCR

Martin Pletscher who was responsible for IT matters at the OCCR management centre during the last six years is moving on to the private sector. Besides his work for the OCCR, he was pursuing studies in biomedical engineering which he has now concluded with a master’s degree. The OCCR management team thanks Martin for his very dedicated work and always cheerful manner. All the best for your future career! The new IT person at the management is Manuela Roten (manuela.roten@oeschger.unibe.ch).

Researchers who have recently joined the OCCR:

Ling Fang is a new PhD student with the Analytical Chemistry group of the Paul Scherrer Institute. She did an Earth and Environmental science MSc at Seoul National University. Her research interests are the anthropogenic contribution to glacier dissolved organic carbon and developing ice core dating tool based on DO14C analysis, involving measurements of radiocarbon at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS of the University of Bern.
Adam Hasenfratz, previously a PhD student at ETH Zurich, is a new Postdoc with the Paleoceanography and marine biogeochemistry group. In his new position, he will concentrate on a better understanding of the long-term evolution of deep ocean ventilation and carbon storage in the Southern Ocean. In particular, Adam is interested in evaluating the parameters that caused the mid-Pleistocene transition (1.2 to 0.6 million years ago), when the global climate gradually shifted from high-frequency, low amplitude oscillations to the glacial-interglacial climate cyclicity typical for the late Pleistocene. 
Camilla Jensena new PhD student with the Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group. Before studying climate sciences she did a Master of Science in Physics at the University of Copenhagen.
Jörg Rickli is a new Postdoc with the Paleoceanography and marine biogeochemistry group. He did a PhD in marine / isotope geochemistry at ETH Zurich followed by Postdoctoral studies at the University of Bristol, UK and a position as research associate in earth surface geochemistry at ETH Zurich. His project within the OCCR seeks to improve the understanding of the links between the chromium isotope composition of seawater and the export of organic matter from the surface to the deep ocean. Specifically, by measuring the chromium isotope composition of seawater samples across oceanic fronts of the Southern Ocean and relate the findings to biological data and other isotope systems.
Prof. Dr. Pierre Valla is a new scientific staff member with the Quaternary Geology and Paleoclimatology group. He previously held a position as SNSF Ambizione Reserarch Fellow at the University of Lausanne within the project “Tropical volcanic island erosion and landscape evolution”.
Paul Zander will start as a new PhD student in the Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology group in August 2017. He did a Master in Geology at the Northern Arizona University.

Researchers who have recently left the OCCR:

Marcel Bliedtner who was PhD student at the Biogeochemistry and Paleoclimate group now is with the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology EAWAG.

Steffen Boch who was a Postdoc in the Plant Ecology group, moved on to the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

Martín Jacques-Coper who was a Postdoc in the Climatology group, is now a Profesor PAI-Fondecyt at the Departamento de Geofísica, Universidad de Concepción, Chile.

Valérie Fazan who was PhD student in the Mobiliar Group for Climate Change Impact Research, is now looking for new opportunities outside academia. 

Sally Lowick who was a scientific staff member with the Quaternary Geology and Paleoclimatology group has retired.

Abdul Malik who did his PhD in the Climatology group, has been granted an SNSF Mobility fellowship and will be working at the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in London.

All the best for your future career!