Oeschger News (March 2014)

CH2014-Impacts study to be released

More than 20 research groups were involved in generating the first cross-sectorial quantitative impact study for Climate Change in Switzerland. Now, this common effort of the Swiss climate research community has been published. The study that was initiated and coordinated by the OCCR is called CH2014-Impacts – Towards Quantitative Scenarios of Climate Change Impacts in Switzerland and provides quantitative statements in the fields of water, climate indices, cyrosphere, agriculture, forests, biodiversity, health, and energy. To make the results of different groups and disciplines consistent, the temperature and precipitation data prepared in the CH2011 project were used as a common input. With the help of well-established quantitative impact models, the research groups then assessed how future climate change translates into impacts. On 14 March 2014 (afternoon) the CH2014-Impacts Initiative will present the study in a public event at the University of Bern.

The Mobiliar Lab is active on many fronts

The Mobiliar Lab for climate risks and natural hazards that was established by the OCCR and Swiss Mobiliar insurance company in 2013 has now started work on a range of projects. They focus on hail, floods, wind, or mass movements. The Mobiliar Lab currently consists of 2 PostDoc and 4 PhD positions.
The Lab’s aim to play a leading role in hail research is underlined by a meeting organised this summer in Bern. The 1st European Hail Workshop from 25 to 27 June 2014 will bring together researchers studying different aspects of hail and representatives from insurance, business, and agriculture. There is a strong need for research on hail, because despite the large damage potential, a substantial lack of knowledge about hail climatology and risk, hail forecasting, cloud microphysics, and the relationship between hail probability and climate change does exist.

On 18 February 2014 Hans von Storch delivered the first Mobiliar Lab Lecture. The well know German climate scientist pulled the crowds as the Audimax at the University’s main building was filled to bursting.

Switzerland must remain part of European science

In the view of the controversial anti-immigration initiative that won the backing of the Swiss electorate on 9 February 2014, OCCR member Hubertus Fischer (head of the Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group) has initiated an online petition regarding the association of Switzerland to the EU framework programme HORIZON 2020. The petition to the attention of the Swiss Federal Council requests that the pending Association Agreement be approved within the next months in order to avoid further damage to the European Research Area and to allow scientists in Switzerland to fully participate in HORIZON 2020. "I think we as scientists must become vocal now in order not to be misused as a bargain chip", Hubertus writes, "this would vehemently contradict the ideal of free exchange of knowledge to which we are all committed." Please sign now!

Half a century of polar research and new limits to reach

50 years ago, Bernese climate scientists for the first time were involved in a polar ice core drilling expedition. Bernhard Stauffer, Prof. em. of Climate and Environmental Physics, was a member of this expedition to Greenland. In one of the KUP's traditional Monday seminars he will look back at Half a century of polar research at KUP (31 March 2014, 16:15, ExWi building, room B5, Sidlerstrasse 5). As for the future of ice core drilling, OCCR researchers are currently preparing the ground for a new major ice core drilling campaign in Antarctica. Read how Jakob Schwander (Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group) wants to use pinhole technology to search for the oldest ice.

Political scientist Karin Ingold is new member of the OCCR

Karin Ingold was officially appointed member of the Oeschger Centre by the OCCR's scientific committee. She is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Bern and also part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology (Eawag). In a recent interview, Karin responded to the ideas put forward by the prominent German climate scientist Hans von Storch when he delivered the first Mobilar Lab Lecture at the University of Bern on 18 February 2014. "Climate scientists", she said, "must not think they have to conduct research on behalf of politicians."

Pollution history of Wohlensee to be studied

Wohlensee, the run-of-the-river reservoir just downriver of Bern has caught the public's attention when it was reported that the lake emits large amounts of methane. Some media even speculated about whether hydropower should still be considered as a ‘climate neutral’ source of energy. However, it remains unclear whether Wohlensee is representative for other run-of-the-river reservoirs, since the lake has been strongly affected by sewage and industrial pollution in the past. In a project supported by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (Section Climate), OCCR members Flavio Anselmetti (head of the Quaternary Geology and Paleoclimatology group) and Oliver Heiri (head of the Aquatic Paleoecology group) will study the sedimentology of the lake to provide more information about the carbon burial dynamics and pollution history of the lake. The aim is to assess whether there are events in the lake's history which could help to explain the large methane emissions.

The OCCR hosts the Nanocamp 2014

For more than 10 years, the science programme Nano of the TV broadcaster 3sat has been organising summer camps for high school students. 3sat is a joint production of the German speaking countries and thus invites teenagers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to participate in its research camp. In 2014, for the first time the so-called Nanocamp will take place in Switzerland. The OCCR has proudly accepted an invitation to be the scientific partner of the camp and will host 12 students in early July.

Anamaria Häuselmann awarded two prizes

Anamaria Häuselmann, a PhD student in the Quaternary Climate Geology group, received the Best Scientific Poster award at the 16th International Congress for Speleology in Brno, 2013, for her poster Holocene Temperature Fluctuations in Central Europe recorded in Stalagmite M6 from Milandre Cave, Switzerland. In addition, Anamaria was awarded the Young Researcher Prize 2013 accorded by the Speleological Commission of the Swiss Academy of Sciences for the advances made in the STALCLIM- Switzerland project. Congratulations!

New conferences organised by the OCCR

The Oeschger Centre is organising several workshops and conferences over the next months. From 11 to 14 June 2014, the conference Culture, Climate and Environment Interactions at Prehistoric Wetland Sites addresses researchers working in palaeoecology, climate change research, and prehistory. From 25 to 27 June 2014, the 1st European Hail Workshop will bring together researchers studying different aspects of hail and representatives from insurance, business, and agriculture. On 27 June 2014, a workshop on Social Network Analysis in Environmental Politics Research will take place. Find all the details on the OCCR website.

Oliver Heiri holds important new positions

Oliver Heiri has been elected to the board of the Plattform Biologie of the Swiss Academy of Sciences and has become Swiss management committee member for the COST Targeted Network Sci-GENERATION.The main objective of Sci-GENERATION is to improve career perspectives for young, next-generation researchers in public research centres and universities across Europe.

Flavio Lehner receives WMO Research Award for Young Scientists

Flavio Lehner, a Postdoc at the Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group, received the WMO Research Award for Young Scientists 2013 for his publication The freshwater balance of polar regions in transient simulations from 1500–2100 AD using a comprehensive coupled climate model (Lehner, F., C. C. Raible, D. Hofer, and T. F. Stocker, 2012, Climate Dyn., 39 347–363). Congratulations!

Solar Influence on the Terrestrial Climate

Stefan Brönnimann (Climatology group) and Christoph Raible (Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group) are part of the Sinergia Project Future and Past Solar Influence on the Terrestrial Climate (FUPSOL II) which is an extension of the FUPSOL I project. The Sinergia Project investigates solar forcing impact on the climate system using a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-chemistry-climate model (AOCCM) spanning the period 1600–2200 AD. The main aims of FUPSOL II are to better understand the connection of solar variability to weather time scale events. Addtionally, in order to assess the role of the Sun in future climate change, an improved reconstruction of solar spectral irradiance based on new observational data should be provided and solar forcing factors predicted until 2200 AD.

Ralph Winkler promoted to Associate Professor

As of 1 March 2014, Ralph Winkler (Environmental and Climate Economics group) is promoted from Assistant Professor for Microeconomics: Environmental and Climate Economics at the Department of Economics to Associate Professor (ausserordentlicher Professor aoP). Congratulations!

Two new visiting scientists at the OCCR

Neil Edwards will stay with the Earth System Modeling – Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycles group in April and October 2014. He is a reader in Earth Systems Science at the Open University, in Milton Keynes, UK. On his personal webpage he writes: "Most of my current research aims to understand the emergent behaviour of the Earth system in the past and the resulting societal challenges in the future using a combination of models of varying complexity. I am particularly involved with the grid-enabled integrated Earth system (GENIE) framework model, which grew out of the simplified coupled model C-GOLDSTEIN, which I developed together with Bob Marsh, based on my own 3-D, global ocean model GOLDSTEIN". Don’t hesitate to contact Neil on n.r.edwards@open.ac.uk or via fortunat.joos@oeschger.unibe.ch.

Gabi Hegerl will stay at the OCCR from 10 – 24 August 2014. She is a professor of Climate System Science at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interest is in the interface between climate modelling and climate observation, in climate diagnostics and statistical climatology; variability and changes in climatic extremes, on constraining future climate change by estimating the magnitude of already observed radiatively forced climate change, and on the use of palaeo proxy data to study climate variability and change during the last millennium. See Gabi’s personal webpage and don’t hesitate to contact her on Gabi.Hegerl@ed.ac.uk.

News form the OCCR meta-database

Last year, the OCCR meta-database was introduced which provides detailed information and contacts for dozens of data sets used and produced by OCCR researchers. Jörg Franke who is responsible for these services asks users to remind the following: "Before you download any huge data sets or apply for a special login, please check if the data is not already here on our servers. Many new data sets have been added during the last weeks. In case you also have additional data that is not listed yet, please fill just a line in this Excel Table and send it to franke@giub.unibe.ch. Please note and also tell your students that we have all gridded Meteoswiss data at yearly, monthly and daily resolution. Requests for this data must be made through franke@guib.unibe.ch and NOT through MeteoSwiss."

Deep sea drilling in the South China Sea

Ivan Hernandez, a PostDoc at Paleolimnology group, is currently aboard the drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution in the South China Sea. He takes part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 349 from 29 January – 30 March 2014. The IODP is an international research programme that explores the history and structure of the Earth as recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks. IODP builds upon the earlier successes of the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP), the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, which revolutionised our view of Earth history and global processes through ocean basin exploration (see Legacy of Scientific Ocean Drilling). IODP represents the latest generation of these highly successful scientific ocean-drilling initiatives and seeks to greatly expand the reach of previous programmes by collaboration between the United States, Japan, and the European Union, each of whom provides a drilling platform appropriate for achieving the scientific objectives outlined in the IODP Science Plan for 2013–2023.

Researchers who have recently joined the OCCR:

Jonas Beck is a new PhD student with the Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group. He completed an apprenticeship as a "Polymechaniker" at the "Maschinenfabrik WIFAG" in Bern before beginning his BSc in Physics at the University of Bern. He continued his studies in Bern and obtained his Masters degree in 2013 with a thesis on the methane cycle in the Holocene based on measurements of the isotopic ratio of methane in polar ice cores. His research interests include past climate change reconstructions, isotopic composition of methane, and ice core analysis.

Daniel Bernet is a new PhD student with the Hydrolgy group and part of the Mobiliar Lab Team. His research interests are in surface runoff, hydrological modelling and climate change.

Sandro Blumer is a new PhD student with the Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group). He did his MSc at ETH Zurich (Umweltnaturwissenschaften) and, in his PhD project in past climate modelling, will investigate atmospheric blocking during the last millennium, their relationship to cold extreme events as well as the role of the ocean dynamics.

Anna Dal Farra is a new PhD student with the Analytical Chemistry Research group. She completed her Master Degree in Analytical Environmental Chemistry at the University of Ferrara with a thesis on Characterization of XVI Century pigments from the Veneto region through Micro-Invasive analysis.

Michael Döring is a new PhD student with the Environmental Isotopes and Gases group. He studied physics at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena and did his thesis at the Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (IPHT) on Development and measurement of axial LTS gradiometer.

Guido Felder is a new PhD student with the Hydrolgy group and part of the Mobiliar Lab Team. His research interests are in HADES, hydrological modelling, stastics of extremes and flood estimates.

Verena Lanny is a new PhD student with the Paleoceanography and marine biogeochemistry. She gained a MSc in Earth Sciences at ETH Zürich and her PhD project is on Upper ocean (de)oxygenation across the last glacial termination – implications for the South Pacific oxygen and nutrient inventories.

Oskar Lecuyer is a new PostDoc at the Environmental and Climate Economics group. After having studied biology and ecology, he recently finished his PhD on environmental and energy economics at CIRED and EDF R&D, Paris. His research focuses on the conditions for an efficient transition towards a carbon-free energy sector, and the role of public policy in driving this process. During his PostDoc, he will pursue this work and explore interactions with resource economics and environmental taxes.

Lorena Moreira Méndez is a new PhD student in the Atmospheric Radiometry and Processes group. Her research area is stratospheric ozone. She obtained her BSc in Physics and her MSc in Climate Sciences at the University of Santiago de Compostela and University of Vigo. 

Christoph Nehrbass-Ahlet is a new PhD student with the Earth System Modeling – Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycles group. His Research interests are in working on methods to reconstruct atmospheric CO2 and other gas components from ice cores.

Luzius Thomi works with Mobiliar insurance company and is part of the Mobiliar Lab Team. His research interest are in integrated risk management with natural hazards, hazard maps, flood prevention, and resource management.

Simona Trefalt is a new PhD student with the Mobiliar Group for Climate Change Impact Research and part of the Mobiliar Lab Team. She gained a MSc in Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at ETH Zürich and her dissertation project is called Hail Predictability and Severe Storm Wind Gusts.

Chiara Uglietti is a new PostDoc with the Analytical Chemistry Research group and finished her PhD on Understanding the Carbon Cycle through Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen Observations at University of Bern. From 2011 to 2013 she was a PostDoc at Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, working on Trace metal analysis of an ice core from Peruvian Andes. Then she did a PosDoc at the School of Physics, National University of Ireland, Galway, working on Characterising a New Gas Analyser for Eddy Covariance Measurements of Air-Sea Fluxes of Carbon Dioxide.

Andreas Zischg is a new PostDoc with the Hydrology group and part of the Mobiliar Lab Team. He did his PhD at the University of Innsbruck on The Use of Fuzzy Logic in Real-Time Analysis of Avalanche Risk on Roads. His research interests are risk of flooding, climate impact, GIS

A warm welcome to all of you!

Researchers who have recently left the OCCR:

Bernhard Bereiter who was a PostDoc with the Earth System Modeling – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group has left for another PostDoc position. He will work at the SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, USA.

Gabriella Gramlich worked at the Analytical Chemistry Research group on a trace element record from Illimani ice core. She is now at home, caring for her family.

Pierre-Alain Herren finished his PhD thesis at the Analytical Chemistry Research group on Ice core based climate reconstruction from the Mongolian Altai. He now works for the energy service provider Alpiq in Lausanne.

Daniela Leuenberger finished his her PhD at the Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group. She is currently looking for a position

Isabella Mariani finished her PhD thesis at the Analytical Chemistry Research group on Water stable isotopes in Alpine ice core as proxies for temperature and atmospheric circulation. She is currently looking for a position.

Bernhard Stocker was a PostDoc with the Earth System Modeling – Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycles group. He moves to the Chair of Biosphere and Climate Impacts Department of Life SciencesGrand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment (Silwood Park) and Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College, London where he is employed as a PostDoc in the field of vegetation modelling and land carbon cycle.

All the best to you!