Oeschger News (March 2011)

University Management gets familiar with OCCR activities

On 13 January 2011, representatives of the university's management, including Martin Täuber, the future rector, paid a visit to the OCCR's Management Centre. In short presentations they were introduced to the current and planned research. The visitors showed a strong interest in the OCCR's activities and underlined their support for the Oeschger Centre which was already expressed in November when the university's and the OCCR's management met for their yearly strategic talks. On this occasion the university voiced its general satisfaction with the achievements of the OCCR, all the goals set in the consortium agreement (Leistungsauftrag) 2007-2011 were met. A new consortium agreement (2012 – 2015) will be discussed within the OCCR's Scientific Committee. The university recalled its wish to transform the Graduate School of Climate Sciences into a permanent institution in 2011. For this purpose the OCCR will have to file a request.

Regional Adaptation – a new strategic field of research

The Scientific Committee of the OCCR has met on 16 February 2011. It has decided, among other matters, to open a new strategic field of research in the area of Regional Adaptation. Several research groups will be involved in the development of the planned activities. The Committee has decided as well to create a new PostDoc position at the intersection of climate modelling and hydrological modelling. This research will focus on extreme events. The new position is limited to a duration of 2 years and can be prolonged for another 2 years, it will be affiliated to the hydrology group of Rolf Weingartner.

Lorenz Martin heads Graduate School of Climate Sciences

Lorenz Martin is the new studies director at the OCCR's Graduate School of Climate Sciences. He takes over this position from Martin Grosjean. 

Alpine grassland ecosystems under changing climatic conditions

The Air Pollution/Climate Group at Agroscope Research Station ART in Zürich-Reckenholz has received funding from the Federal Office of the Environment for a four-year project to study the response of alpine grassland ecosystems to increasing atmospheric nitrogen inputs under changing climatic conditions. A previous long-term experiment revealed high nitrogen-sensitivity of these systems, and one aim of the new experiment is to test this sensitivity at a range of sites with different climatic conditions and manipulated hydrological regimes in the Swiss Alps using translocated monoliths. The experiment will combine assessments of vegetation, soil and trace gas fluxes. The results should help to refine the Critical Load concept in the framework of the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. The group is open for collaboration with other interested researchers. For further information, please contact Jürg Fuhrer (juerg.fuhrer@art.admin.ch).

Young Researchers Meeting – save the date!

On 9 and 10 June 2011, the NCCR Climate Young Researchers Meeting will take place at Centre Lœwenberg near Murten. The focus of this year's meeting is on the improvement of soft skills. More specifically, workshops on scientific writing, scientific presentations and project management will be held. Besides the workshops, there will be ample time for informal exchange of ideas between young climate researchers. The Young Researchers Meeting is open to PhD students and PostDocs of the NCCR Climate and of the Oeschger Centre. The offical announcement will be sent out to all OCCR members shortly.

New web-based Holocene Climate Atlas

A new Holocene climate atlas, called HOCLAT, is now available. The atlas was worked out by a team under the leadership of Heinz Wanner and Stefan Ritz. It contains 81 proxy time series representing temperature and humidity/precipitation over a time period of 10'000 years, and 100 maps with century-scale temperature and humidity precipitation anomalies. 

Climate Economics and Law Conference

Work Package 4 of the NCCR Climate (Integrated Assessment Analysis of Global Climate Change, Economy and Society) organises the Climate Economics and Law Conference in Bern on 16 and 17 June 2011. The conference features contributions from a broad spectrum of climate economics and law research issues, namely Mitigation, adaptation and technological change and Trade regulations and unilateral climate policies. Renowned keynote speakers are: Shardul Agrawala (OECD, Paris, F), Peter Holmes (University of Sussex, UK), Matthias Ruth (University of Maryland, USA) and Peter Wooders (IISD, Geneva, CH). The conference aims to foster cross-disciplinary links and welcomes listeners. 

Hubertus Fischer is the new Co-Chair of PAGES

As of the beginning of 2011 Hubertus Fischer of the Department of Climate and Environmental Physics is the Co-Chair of the scientific committee of PAGES (Past Global Changes). He has replaced Heinz Wanner. 

Become an phenology observer

Join the Phaenonet Hazel campaign 2011 and become an observer. François Jeanneret, This Rutishauser and Robert Brügger from the Institute of Geography have supported an initiative by GLOBE Switzerland (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) that aims at building a webtool for collecting phenological observations. The tool allows for near real-time visualisation and provides comparisons. The website is designed to match existing observation programmes such as the Swiss Plant Phenological Network (MeteoSwiss), BernClim (University of Bern) or the Forest Phenology Network (WSL). 

Top Citation Rate for Article by Bernese Team

The article Glacier and Lake-Level Variations in West-Central Europe over the last 3'500 years (J Holocene, 2005) by Hanspeter Holzhauser, Heinz Zumbühl, et al. was identified by Sciencewatch as the Emerging Research Front paper in the field of Geosciences for the month of February 2011. Sciencewatch is a service provided by the news and information company Thomson Reuters, it tracks trends and performances in global research by using a method called Essential Science Indicators – a compilation of science performance statistics and science trends data based on journal article publication counts and citation data. In an interview Hanspeter Holzhauser talks about the unexpected success of his paper. He has also just launched a new book. (Holzhauser, Hanspeter: Zur Geschichte des Gornergletschers. Ein Puzzle aus historischen Dokumenten und fossilen Hölzern aus dem Gletschervorfeld, Geografica Bernensia, 2010). 

Workshop on Hydrological Modelling

On 28 and 29 April 2011, the 9th PhD workshop on hydrological modelling takes place at the University of Bern. Young scientists (Master-, Diploma- and PhD-students) who are interested in hydrological modelling are invited to participate. The workshop is organised by the Hydrology Group of the Institute of Geography and supported by the OCCR and the Swiss Hydrological Commission CHy. 

International Workshop on Small Scale Radiocarbon analysis

An international workshop on Small Scale Radiocarbon analysis will take place at ETH Zurich from 13 – 16 September 2011. It will bring together up to 100 people from various fields who work on small-scale radiocarbon analysis. Radiocarbon dating is mainly known by the larger public for its use in archeology, but there are many more instances where it is very useful to know the age of a particular piece of carbonaceous material – down to the molecular level. In almost all cases, material that is analysed for its radiocarbon content first needs to be isolated, with high purity, from the matrix and this is typically done by chemical treatments and chromatographic methods. The organisers of this workshop include OCCR member Sönke Szidat from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Bern.

Workshop on Environmental Risk and Extreme Events

A workshop on Environmental Risk and Extreme Events takes place at the Centro Stefano Francsini in Ascona from 10 – 15 July 2011. It aims at bringing together researchers in statistics of extremes and in applied domains for whom this branch of statistical science is a key tool, in order to assess the state of the art in modelling of complex extreme events, to highlight ideas emerging from the statistical side that may be useful inapplications, and to identify challenging environmental problems that need statistical innovations from both theoretical and applied researchers. The workshop will comprise invited talks and contributed talks as well as posters. 

Isabelle Larocque promoted to Privatdozent

OCCR member Isabelle Larocque from the group for Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology at the Instiute of Geography was promoted to Privatdozent in Paleoecology. Congratulations!

Thesis defence and NatGeo paper

Seraina Badetscher from the Isotope Geochemistry (Climate Research/Geochemistry) group will defend her doctoral thesis Palaeohydrology, palaeoclimate and palaeoecology in northern Turkey as recorded in stalagmites from Sofular Cave on Tuesday, 29 March 2011, 14:30 at Haller Auditorium, Institut für Geologie, Universität Bern, Baltzerstrasse 3, 3012 Bern. She invites all OCCR members to attend and join for an apéro. By the way, her research has lead to a paper just published in Nature Geosciene

Michael Bock awarded for his doctoral thesis

OCCR member Michael Bock from the group Paleoclimate and Paleo-Biogeochemistry on Ice Cores was doubly awarded for his outstanding doctoral thesis. He received a prize from the Heinrich Greinacher Foundation and he received the award of the faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Bern in the area of physics. Congratulations! 

Researchers joining and leaving the OCCR

Maarten van Hardenbroek is a new PostDoc at the Aquatic Palaeoecology group at the Institute of Plant Sciences. He studied environmental sciences at Utrecht University and University College London and recently defended his PhD thesis at Utrecht University entitled Stable carbon isotopes of invertebrate remains: do they reveal past methane release?

Martín Jacques-Coper is a new PhD student in the Climatology Group of the Institute of Geography. The topic of his PhD thesis is Climate Variability in the Southern Hemisphere. Before studying climate sciences he did a MSc in Geophysics at the University of Chile (2010).

Harald von Waldow is new a Postdoc in the Climate Impact Group, and he is also supporting the IT system of both the Climate Impact and the Climatology group. He obtained a master's degree in geography from the University of Waterloo, Canada. During his PhD at ETH Zürich he worked in the field of environmental fate and transport of persistent organic pollutants. In his research at the OCCR Harald von Waldow will focus on the statistical description of extreme meteorological events.

A big welcome to all of you!