March 2021

Paper of the month

The OCCR has introduced a new section on its website called “Paper of the month”. The idea behind this new feature is to provide more visibility to the OCCR’s scientific output. All research groups will be asked in turn to provide suitable papers.

Collaborative projects with MeteoSwiss

The Mathematical and Applied Statistics group hosts two new collaborative projects with the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). Two young researchers just finishing their PhD, Sam Allen and José Araujo, are joining the OCCR on those projects. Sam Allen is being mentored at the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science by David Ginsbourger and Johanna Ziegel on the project "Ensemble Postprocessing for High-impact Events", in close collaboration with Olivia Romppainen (Mobiliar Group for Climate Impact Research) and Pascal Horton (Hydrology group). José Araujo is to be mentored by Johanna Ziegel and David Ginsbourger on the project “Verification of Weather Warnings”. Both projects involve regular interactions with Meteoswiss colleagues, inculding Jonas Bhend and Mark Liniger at Zürich Kloten and Lionel Moret at Geneva.

New members for PAGES Steering Committee

PAGES is calling for applications from scientists to serve on its Scientific Steering Committee (SSC). The deadline for consideration is Friday 2 April. The SSC is the body responsible for overseeing PAGES' activities. New members are sought to fill the places of outgoing members (see the SSC member history list). Several OCCR members were already part of the PAGES Steering Committee. Currently, Willy Tinner (Paleoecology group) serves as co-chair. You are strongly encouraged to apply. 


The SNF has issued a call for running COST actions. The call also covers research activities related to the COST action CA19139 “PROCLIAS -Process-based models for climate impact attribution across sectors”. Andreas Zischg (Mobiliar Group for Climate Impact Research) is part of the management structure of this action. PROCLIAS aims to develop common protocols, harmonized datasets and a joint understanding of how to conduct cross-sectoral, multi-model climate impact studies at regional and global scales allowing for attribution of impacts of recent climatic changes and robust projections of future climate impacts.

Oeschger Young Scientist’s prize

The winners of the 2020 Oeschger Young Scientist’s prize are: Conall Heusaff (first), Sarah Meier (second ex aequo), and Moritz Burger (second ex aequo). This prize is annually awarded to students in their final year for achieving the highest grade point average in the Master's program of the Graduate School of Climate Sciences at the University of Bern. Read the profile stories of the three winners.

Oeschger Young Scientist’s prize

Training program for young researchers working on climate change in Antarctica

The OCCR is part of DEEPICE, the Research and training network on understanding Deep icE corE Proxies to Infer past antarctiC climatE dynamics. Hubertus Fischer (Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group) is the Swiss PI of the project. It aims to train a new generation of European researchers working on scientific issues related to climate change in Antarctica. In turn, DEEPICE is part of the HORIZON2020 Innovative Training Network (ITN), which has started at the beginning of this year. In summer 2021, two PhD students will pay a visit to the University of Bern in the framework of DEEPICE.

OCCR featured on Swiss national TV

The OCCR played host to the well-known cultural magazine Kulturplatz on the German-language Swiss television channel SRF1. Have a look at an in-depth interview with OCCR president Thomas Stocker and see how different artists take up the topic of climate change.

3sat TV show Nano

New OCCR-funded PostDoc

Noelia Otero is a new scientific staff member with the Hydrology group. She holds the position of an OCCR-funded PostDoc and will investigate the impacts of compound hydrometeorological extremes events on energy supply. Noelia is a physicist by training and specialized in atmospheric science and meteorology. She holds a PhD in Natural Sciences from the Freie University of Berlin and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam. 

After her PhD, she obtained a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Geo.X, a partnership of university and non-university institutions dedicated to multi- and interdisciplinary research in the metropolitan region of Berlin and Potsdam. There she worked on a data science project using machine learning techniques to examine temperature and ozone pollution extremes.

Seasonal cycle firn air monitoring

The Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group has received an Exploratory Grant from the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) for a project called “Seasonal cycle firn air monitoring at Concordia Station”. The SPI Exploratory Grants support Switzerland-based scientists active in polar regions (including remote high-altitude regions such as the Andes and the Himalayas) by allowing them to realize new ideas on short-term (for example pilot projects), fund additional field work or launch new collaborations with financial support for logistics. New partnersiphs and collaboration with new teams cross disciplines are particularly encouraged, as well as participation in larger and international activities.

Art exhibition on climate history

Dania Achermann and Chantal Camenisch (both Environmental History and Historical Climatology group) are among the authors of an online climate history art exhibition). The show was realized on the platform Google Arts & Culture which features content from over 2000 leading museums and archives that have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute. The exhibition (in German) is called “Die Wetterseiten der Geschichte: Objekte als Zeugen historischen Klimawandels”. It was initiated by the Leibniz-Institute for History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) and supported by the PAGES working group CRIAS - Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies.

Art exhibition on climate history


Compound weather and climate events

On 12 - 15 January 2021, a workshop on compound weather and climate events took place, organized by Olivia Romppainen (Mobiliar Group for Climate Impact Research) and Jakob Zscheischler (Earth System Modelling – Biogeochemical Cycles group). It was held as a purely virtual event, and proved to be very successful. Read an interview with Olivia Romppainen on the context and outcome of this event, and watch the video recordings of the talks.

What International Negotiators Promise and Domestic Policymakers Adopt

On 10 -12 February, a kick-off workshop of the project “Policy and Politics in the Multi-level Climate Change Regime” took place. It was initiated by the OCCR group Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance and was held in an online format. This project is part of the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) and aims to quantify and qualify the gap between international promises and national implementation. The research questions are: To which degree and under which conditions do countries translate their international commitments regarding climate change mitigation into their domestic policies? And what drives countries to under- or outperform in this respect? The successful kick-off was attended by project partners including International Energy Agency, Potsdam University, Oxford University, National University of Singapore and WWF Switzerland. 

Climate Career Evening 2021

The fourth edition of the Climate Career Evening will take place on 15 April 2021 as a video conference, starting at around 17 h. The speakers are former students of Climate Sciences and now members of the ClimateAlumni network of the Graduate School of Climate Sciences. They will present their professional career in short, informal talks and will be available to answer questions in breakout sessions. The program is still being set up by the Climate Science Student Council (CSSC) and the OCCR; information about the registration procedure will follow in due time.

Integrated History and Philosophy of Climate Data

Dania Achermann (Environmental History and Historical Climatology group) and Julie Jebeile (Philosophy of science perspectives on the climate challenge group) organize a CfP workshop called “Integrated History and Philosophy of Climate Data”. It will take place in Bern on 25-27 August 2021. The workshop will be an exploratory and interdisciplinary meeting to bring together historians, philosophers and climate scientists interested in climate data. Participants will discuss the potential and limits of Integrated History and Philosophy of Science (IHPS) in this context. 
Deadline for abstract submission: 22 March 2021, see also the detailed information.

Young Researchers Meeting 2021

The topic of the YRM 2021 is "Project management and productivity". This year’s meeting will focus on how to manage projects in science and industry, and how to be productive in writing and programming. There will be inputs, parallel workshops and discussions. The organizeres have made a reservation with Hotel Aeschi Park for 10-11 June 2021, and they hope to have in-person teaching and physical socializing. An online version is planned in case of ongoing restrictions. Save the date.


Andreas Zischg makes Science meet art

Andreas Zischg (Mobiliar Group for Climate Impact Research) has been awarded an Agora grant (200’000 CHF) by the SNSF for his proposal “Science-art-performances: Making co-benefits of climate mitigation measures visible and tangible”. In this project, scientists and artists from different disciplines aim to explore new ways of science communication by collaborating and creating science-art performances. These performances should open opportunities to “experience” successful adaptation and mitigation measures of the past and show how climate mitigation measures can enhance the quality of life. For example, it aims to visualize co-benefits of car-free cities and greening public spaces, or nature-based prevention of pluvial floods. The group of artists involved in this project will work with installations, sculptures, music performances, dance performances, and theatre spectacles. In a wider context, these experiments in science communication will demonstrate the value of the arts for science communication beyond climate change and flood risk management.

Farewell to Margreth Keiler

Margreth Keiler has left the OCCR and the Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks. She is now a professor of Interdisciplinary Mountain Research at the Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Austria and is leading the Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The OCCR congratulates her on this new position and would like to thank her for her invaluable contributions to the Mobiliar Lab as a Co-director. Margreth joined the Lab early on and was leading the flood risk project. Under her guidance, the Mobiliar Lab team developed web tools to visualize flood exposure of buildings and infrastructure across Switzerland, future changes in flood exposure and photos of past flood events. The tools receive a very good feedback from users and authorities and are widely used. While leading this project, Margreth very successfully combined science projects and the implementation of research into practice. We all hope to stay in close contact for future collaborations.

Martin Grosjean takes a sabbatical

OCCR Director Martin Grosjean will be on a sabbatical leave later this year. He will be absent from May to July 2021. During this time, his deputy Christoph Raible will take over responsibilities.

Researchers who have recently joined the OCCR:

Sam Allen

Sam Allen is a new Postdoc with the Mathematical and Applied Statistics group. He will work on "Ensemble Postprocessing for High-impact Events" in collaboration with MeteoSwiss. Sam will develop statistical methods to remove systematic biases that manifest in numerical weather forecasts, with particular emphasis on the prediction of high-impact weather events. Previously, Sam was a PhD student in mathematics at the University of Exeter, where he studied the dependence of weather forecasts on atmospheric regimes, and investigated to what extent statistical post-processing methods can utilize this regime information to reduce forecast errors. His PhD thesis is entitled "Advanced statistical post-processing of ensemble weather forecasts".

José Araujo

José Araujo is a new Postdoc with the Mathematical and Applied Statistics group. He will be part of the collaborative project with MeteoSwiss on “Verification of Weather Warnings” at the Mathematical and Applied Statistics group. He obtained his PhD (2021) and MSc (2016) in Actuarial Science from the University of Lausanne, and holds a BSc in Actuarial Science from the University of Yucatan in Mexico. His PhD thesis was dedicated to modeling and assessing risks of non-life insurance portfolios and was supervised by Hansjörg Albrecher and Jan Beirlant. Before arriving in Switzerland for his master’s studies, he worked for a leading Swiss reinsurance company in Mexico, where he grew up.

Geissbühler Dylan

Dylan Geissbühler is a new PhD at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA). He gained a master’s degree in biogeosciences jointly at the Universities of Neuchâtel and Lausanne with a thesis entitled “MISS Catenae (MISS-C) Characterization from Sabkha environments as morphological biosignatures “. His PhD project is on ”Quantification of the 14CO2 inventory for Switzerland, the sources and sinks of CO2 and its impact to biomass and soil carbon”.

Laemmel Thomas

Thomas Laemmel is a new Postdoc at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA). He works on the SNFS-Sinergia project Radiocarbon Inventories of Switzerland (RICH)”.

Montfort Simon

Simon Montfort is a new PhD with the Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance group at the Institute of Political Science. He gained a master’s degree at the Graduate Institute Geneva in International Relations / Political Science with an exchange at ETH Zurich. The title of his thesis was "Naming and Shaming or Compliance Tracking? International Water Treaties and Upstream-Downstream Monitoring along European Rivers". His PhD project will investigate barriers to stringent, i.e. intensive climate policy.

Rindsfüser Nele

Nele Rindsfüser is a new PhD with the Mobiliar Group for Climate Impact Research.  She did master’s degree in Geography at the University of Bern with a thesis entitled “Detection of structural sediment connectivity using graph theory / Application of the Residual Flow Index in an alpine catchment”. The working title of her PhD project is: “Monitoring systems for adaptive flood risk management”.

Staub Michael

Michael Staub is a new lab technician at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA). He is mainly responsible for the maintenance of the equipment and assists projects

Zeppenfeld Chantal

Chantal Zeppenfeld is a new PhD with the Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group. She did a master’s degree in Climate Sciences at the Universtiy of Bern with a thesis entitled “Novel Single Particle Extinction and Scattering Analysis of Mineral Dust in a Northeast Greenland Firn Core”. Her research focus is on quantifying past changes in dielectric and absorbing particles in ice cores.

A warm welcome to all of you!

Researchers who have recently left the OCCR:

Christine Aebi who completed her PhD and works now at the Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium. She was part of the Climatology group (Remote Sensing from Space) as scientific staff member.

Prisca Lehmann who finished her PhD with Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores group now works with the Swiss company Airmes AG which is specialized in the measurement of air quality.
All the best for your future career!

Recent journal publications by OCCR members

See all the publications by OCCR members.