March 2020

General News





General News

OCCR management centre and Corona

The OCCR management centre is working as usual, but due to the Corona crisis we are no longer able to welcome you at our offices. We are all working from home now. Please, get in touch via e-mail or phone – all our landlines have been diverted to our mobile phones. We hope you are all doing well and wish you all the best during these difficult times.

Contract with Mobiliar insurance company extended

The contract between the OCCR and the Die Mobiliar insurance company has been extended for another four-year period. Die Mobiliar first funded the creation of an extraordinary chair for climate impact research (Mobiliar Group for Climate Impact Research) in 2008. In 2013, the OCCR and Die Mobiliar jointly founded the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks. Both contracts have now been extended until 2024. The funding consists of CHF 1 million per year.

New Postdoc positions funded by the OCCR

The Oeschger Centre’s Scientific Committee has decided to fund a new Postdoc in the field of climate change and biodiversity. This position is part of a new OCCR group called Community Ecology. It is headed by Eric Allan, who is an Associate Professor for Community Ecology.

OCCR extensively featured in University of Bern’s science magazine

Unipress is the University of Bern’s science magazine (in German). It is aimed at the general public and has a circulation of 12’000 copies. The February issue of the magazine focuses on climate science and the work of the OCCR. OCCR members featured in the magazine include Ana Vicedo-Cabrera (Climate Change and Health group) (“Hitzeschutz für die Schweiz”), Claus Beisbart and Vicent Lam (Climate ethics and philosophy of climate science and Philosophy of science perspectives on the climate challenge groups)  (“Klimaforscher im Fokus”) as well as Dania Achermann (Environmental History and Historical Climatology group) (“Berner Nuklearphysiker revolutionierte die Klimaforschung”). Have a look at the entire magazine.

Climate change at school

Climate change at school

Climate change is more and more discussed in classrooms. The OCCR is partner of the project CCESO (Climate Change Education and Science Outreach) which has developed a dossier on the causes and consequences of climate change. The compilation (in German) has been published on the online portal “éducation 21”.

CCESO is an educational project in which universities of teacher education from all parts of Switzerland, GLOBE Switzerland on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), and the Oeschger Centre have developed an educational concept and adequate learning material for all school grades in Switzerland.

New show on weather, climate and science

New show on weather, climate and science

The OCCR is the scientific partner of a new planetarium show at Museum of Transport in Lucerne. The 45-minute video projection is called “Mission Earth” and makes weather, climate and science a tangible experience. The possibilities of the large-dome Planetarium provide an unique opportunity for explaining climate phenomena to the visitors of one of the most popular Swiss museums.


Young Researchers Meeting 2020

The OCCR Young Researchers Meeting 2020 is planned to take place in Aeschi bei Spiez on 4 and 5 June. The topic of the meeting will be related to project management in science. The meeting is open to all young climate researchers based in Switzerland. The decision on whether and how it will take place will be taken near the end of April, at the latest. The program and registration procedure will follow in due time. Save the date for now.

Successful EARSeL workshop

From 3 - 5 February 2020, the 9th EARSeL workshop on Remote Sensing of Land Ice and Snow sponsored by the OCCR was held in Bern. It was organized by the Remote Sensing Research Group at the Institute of Geography (Climatology group). A number of 58 researchers from all over the world came together to exchange their expertise in remote sensing of snow properties, snow hydrology, glacier monitoring, new measurement techniques, and operational monitoring of the cryosphere. The workshop successfully delivered an overview of the current activities within the community. The workshop presentations are available online.

EARSeL workshop on Remote Sensing of Land Ice and Snow

Swiss Climate Summer School 2021

The Swiss Climate Summer School 2021 will take place on the Monte Verità, Ticino. It will focus on the theme “Vegetation, landsurfaces, and climate interactions”. Details on date and program will follow.


Willy Tinner: “Fires like the ones in Australia threaten Europe, too”

Willy Tinner

Willy Tinner (Paleoecology group) is a specialist when it comes to the history of European fires. In an interview with the University of Bern’s web-journal uniaktuell, the paleoecologist talks about the link between the bushfires in Australia and climate change, how the symbolic power of fire helps the climate movement and why Mediterranean countries shouldn’t plant any more pine trees. Read the full interview.

Heinz Wanner becomes scientific advisor

Heinz Wanner (Climatology group) acts as a new scientific advisor of a new program on the influence of climate change in the alpine area around the Titlis. After a comprehensive analysis of natural hazards and infrastructures, a new action plan will identify risks and chances for landscape protection, tourism and agriculture.

Ralph Winkler receives SNSF funding

Ralph Winkler (Climate Economics: Energy, Technological Change and International Cooperation group) was granted funding of CHF 333’000 by the Swiss National Science Foundation for a project called “On the Interactions between Domestic and International Policy and the Prospects for International Climate Cooperation”. The project intends to employ methods of non-cooperative game theory and experimental economics to contribute to the understanding of the obstacles and prospects of international climate cooperation. Theoretical findings will be complemented with lab-based and online experiments. In particular, an experimental protocol will be developed that allows to efficiently conduct multi-stage non-linear public goods games.

Markus Grimmer and Louis Frey awarded Young Scientist’s Prize

2019 Oeschger Young Scientist’s Prize

Markus Grimmer and Louis Frey, who were the top climate master’s students last year, have been awarded the 2019 Oeschger Young Scientist’s Prize. In an interview, they talked about their reasons for doing a master’s degree in climate sciences.

“It was only when I started attending lectures in climate and environmental history that I realized that my interests in physics and history could be combined in a climate master's degree”, Markus Grimmer said. Louis Frey chose the Graduate School of Climate Sciences in Bern "because of the huge selection of courses" and because he could start studying immediately. 

Read more: Markus Grimmer
Read more: Louis Frey

Researchers who have recently joined the OCCR:

Patrick Bigler is a new PhD with the Climate Economics: Energy, Technological Change and International Cooperation group. He graduated with a master in Applied Economic Analysis at the University of Berne. His master thesis was about the impact of labor clauses in preferential trade agreements on bilateral investment. During his PhD he will conduct research in the field of energy economics.

François Yves Burgay is a new Postdoc with the Analytical Chemistry Research group. He gained a master in Environmental Chemistry (Università degli Studi di Torino) as well as in Science and Management of Climate Change (Ca’ Foscari Università di Venezia) and did e a PhD entitled “Development of new analytical techniques to perform iron speciation studies in ice cores and snow” at Ca’ Foscari Università as well. During his Postdoc, he will determine the chemical composition and sources of organic aerosols in the pre-industrial and industrial atmosphere by analysing molecular markers in ice cores from Europe and Central Asian Altai, applying sensitive liquid chromatography coupled to electronspray onization ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry.

Marvin Bundo is a new PhD with the Climate Change and Health group. He did his master in Health Sciences at the UMIT-University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology in Hall, Austria. Before that he gained a master in General Medicine from the Medical University Tirana, Albania.

Evan de Schrijver is a new PhD with the Climate Change and Health group. He holds a bachelor in Global Public Health from Leiden University College The Hague in the Netherlands and pursued a MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His PhD project is on Climate Change Adaptation and Future Health Impacts. The aim of this study is to develop a methodological framework to identify the main drivers of adaptation to climate change, and provide high-resolution projections on climate change impacts in terms of the temperature-mortality association.

Arthur Lopes Jacob is a new PhD with the Climate and Environmental Economics group. He did a master in Environmental Engineering at the Universidad Europea Del Atlantico (Spain) with a thesis entitled “Urban solid waste management from the perspective of the solid waste management index (WMI) in the municipalities of the state of Sao Paulo”. The title of his PhD project is on the effect of droughts in the African Region.

Fessehaye Mussie is a new Postdoc with the Climatology group. He gained a bachelor on Soil and Water Conservation from the University of Asmara, Eritrea in 1997 and a master in Agrometeorology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He then did a PhD at the University of Bern under the research title “Fog as a natural resource in the eastern escarpment of Eritrea”. His current research is on “Association of Eritrean highland precipitation with global sea surface temperature and atmospheric circulation”.

Frerk Pöppelmeier is a new Postdoc with the Earth System Modelling: Climate Dynamics group. He holds a master in Physics from the University of Heidelberg (Germany) and obtained his PhD in Earth Sciences, also from the University of Heidelberg. In his PhD thesis, he reconstructed the water masses of the last ice age in the North Atlantic using neodymium isotopes measured on marine sediment cores. He will now work on the Horizon 2020 project TiPES: Tipping Points in the Earth System with the Bern3D model and use a multi-tracer approach to quantify the ocean fingerprints of abrupt climate change. He will also collaborate with the Institute of Geology and implement and investigate novel paleoceanographic tracers in the Bern3D model.

Anna Schmid is a new PhD with the Climate Economics: Energy, Technological Change and International Cooperation group. She did a master in Applied Economic Analysis with Special Qualification in Regional Economic Development at the University of Bern.

Marcio dos Reis Martins is a new Postdoc with the Climate and Agriculture group. He gained a bachelor in Agronomy and a master in Crop Science at Sao Paolo State University, UNESP in Brazil where he also did his PhD in Crop Science in collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a department of the government of Canada. Before joining the OCCR, he did a Postdoc at Embrapa Agrobiology, a Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation under the aegis of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply.

Antoine Thévenaz is a new PhD with the Paleoecology group. He holds a master in Climate Sciences (Thesis: “Constraining the vertical particle export during the last glacial cycle in Southern Indian Ocean sediment cores”.) from the University of Bern. His PhD project is called “Reconstructing the climate and environment of the Southern Balkans during the Neolithic in relation to land use change in the cradle of European farming”.

Lieveke van Vugt is a new PhD with the Paleoecology group. She did a master in Climate Sciences at the University of Bern with a thesis entitled “12,000 years of vegetation dynamics influenced by climate and land use at Lago Inferiore del Sangiatto, Italian Lepontine Alps”. Her PhD thesis is called “EXPLO - Exploring the interactions between climate, vegetation, fire and society during the Neolithic in Northern Greece”.

A warm welcome to all of you!

Researchers who have recently left the OCCR:

Marcel Häberli, who was a PhD with the Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group.

Jean-Elie Fontaine-Lagrand, who was a PhD with the Earth System Modelling: Climate Dynamics group.

All the best for your future career!

Recent journal publications by OCCR members

See all the publications by OCCR members.