Oeschger News (November 2012)

OCCR evaluation and future strategy discussed

The OCCR Management and Research Group Leaders were busy in compiling the OCCR Self-Evaluation Report during spring and summer 2012. This Evaluation Report summarizes the major achievements and activities of the OCCR for the first five years 2007 - 2011. After consultation and internal review with the OCCR Research Group Leaders, the Evaluation Report 2007 - 2011 was submitted to the Universitätsleitung (UL) in September 2012, where it was very well received. Fortunat Joos (OCCR President) and Martin Grosjean (OCCR Director) met with the UL on October 26 for the yearly meeting to discuss and review the progress of the OCCR. We are pleased to say that the UL is impressed with the performance of the OCCR and that we are generally well on track. Indicators for performance were: scientific quality and ISI publications, Graduate School (MSc and PhD), cooperation among OCCR research groups and internationally as well as extramural funding and others.
The OCCR Evaluation Report 2007 - 2011 is now edited for publication and will be sent to all OCCR members for personal perusal.

Working Group 3 annual meeting

The WP3 of the OCCR held its annual meeting on 25 October 2012 at the Institute of Plant Sciences. At the meeting, Willy Tinner, Oliver Heiri, and Paul Henne (Terrestrial and Aquatic Paleoecology groups) invited participants to contribute to a new collaborative publication entitled Climate Change Impacts in Switzerland (CCICH). Possible contributions to the CCICH project were presented by the twelve research groups that participated in the meeting. Participants agreed to collaborate on a review article that will highlight the state of knowledge about climate change impacts in Switzerland on the basis of data gained from reconstructions, observations, and experiments. The article will use examples from WP3 research groups to demonstrate the need for, and power of including empirical data in developing management and policy strategies that anticipate climate change impacts. A follow-up meeting is planned for late winter. Additionally PhD students presented posters of their research at the meeting. Christoph Schwörer (Terrestrial Paleoecology group) won the competition for the best poster and was awarded 100 CHF.

Most downloaded paper last 90 days in Quaternary Science Reviews

The paper "Mid- to Late Holocene climate change: an overview" by H. Wanner et al (with OCCR co-authorship of Jürg Beer, Martin Grosjean, Fortunat Joos and Thomas Stocker) published in Quaternary Science Reviews 2008 has been the most downloaded paper of the last 90 days in this journal.

CH2014-Impacts website launched

The Oeschger Centre has established a new webpage for the CH2014-Impacts initiative. It was created to inform the public and the participants about upcoming news. The general aim of CH2014-Impacts initiative is to generate a first cross-sectorial quantitative impact study for Climate Change in Switzerland.

The OCCR makes the news

"Where Bern plays in the Champions League" was the title of an extended article on the activities of the Oeschger Centre in the Berner Zeitung on 13 October 2012. The story couldn't have been more flattering and pictures the OCCR as a top-notch institution attracting scientific talent from all around the world. The Berner Oberländer, a regional paper, has highlighted on 26 September 2012 a fieldwork campaign of Willy Tinner (Terrestrial Paleoecology group) at the Faulenseemoos, a bog close to the lake Thun that forms an important climate and environmental archive and is currently under pressure from agriculture.

New OcCC report on the goals of Swiss climate policy released

The report "Klimaziele und Emissionsreduktion" by the OcCC, the advisory body on climate change of the Swiss government, is released on 23 November 2012. The report that was co-authored by OCCR members Fortunat Joos (President and Earth System Modeling - Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycles group) and Philippe Thalmann (adjunct researcher) gives the OcCC's view on the long-term goals of Swiss climate policy.

Extended study on climate related changes of runoffs

The OCCR's Hydrology Group has won a follow-up project to the CCHydro study ("Klimaänderung und Hydrologie in der Schweiz"). The BAFU financed project is on establishing the differences between climate related changes of runoffs and changes due to natural variability. A better knowledge of the natural variability is key to the interpretation of projected hydrological changes in the view of climate change. For further information contact Rolf Weingartner.

Joint project with the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate

The joint project Climate Modelling of the Weichselian Glacial Period between the OCCR's Earth System Modeling - Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group and the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate was ended in September 2012. The successful project assessed the impact of different glacial boundary conditions on the atmospheric dynamics and the precipitation pattern in the European region. Changes in the precipitation pattern during glacial periods are important as they steer the growth of glaciers and thus, the potential of deep erosion, which has to be considered in the planning of deep geological repositories for radioactive waste. The results are summarized in two peer-reviewed and two scientific reports:

New XRF Lake Sediment Core Scanner

Flavio Anselmetti from the Institute of Geological Sciences (PI), and Co-PIs Willy Tinner and Martin Grosjean from the OCCR's Terrestrial Paleoecology and Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology groups were successful with a SNF R'EQUIP proposal to acquire a new X-ray fluorescence XRF Sediment Core Scanner. This instrument will be installed at the Institute of Geological Sciences and is able to measure elemental compositions of Al and heavier elements at 100 um resolution in lake and marine sediments. This new scanner will complement existing scanning devices and technology (petrophysical multi-sensor measurements and hyperspectral imaging) at the Institute of Geological Sciences and Geography.

Network for young researchers in Europe founded

Oliver Heiri from the OCCR's Aquatic Paleoecology group is one of the founding members as well as a council member of the Young Academy of Europe (YAE). The YAE is bottom-up initiative of recognized European young scientists with outspoken views about science and science policy. It intends to provide feedback on aspects of doing research in Europe from a "younger" perspective, and develop a network for young researchers in Europe across the disciplines. Visit http://www.yacadeuro.org/ for more information on the YAE.

New publication in Nature Geoscience

Raphael Neukom (Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology group) has co-authored the paper "Unusual Southern Hemisphere tree growth patterns induced by changes in the Southern Annular Mode" (Nature Geosciences 28 Oct 2012). More than 3000 tree ring records from South America, Tasmania and New Zealand were used to reconstruct Southern Annual Mode indices suggest that the high frequency of the positive phase since the 1950s is unprecedented in the past 600 years.

The Oeschger Centre on Wikipedia

The OCCR has recently posted its own entry on Wikipedia. For the time being we are only present on the German edition of the Web encyclopedia, but this will change soon. By the way: The OCCR is the first of the 12 research centres of the University of Bern with a Wikipedia entry.

OCCR member wins Greinacher award 2012

Bernhard Bereiter from the OCCR's Earth System Modeling - Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group has won one of the Greinacher awards 2012 (University of Bern) for his doctoral thesis "Atmospheric CO2 Reconstructions using Polar Ice Cores: Development of a New Dry Extraction Device and Insights from Highly Resolved Records". As part of his PhD project, Bernhard Breitner developed a device called Centrifugal Ice Microtome. It is used to extract air out of small ice probes in a totally novel way. This invention has considerably brought down the time used for analysis and improved the reproducibility of CO2 measurements. Congratulations and best wishes!

NCCR Climate Summer School 2013 - register now!

The 12th International NCCR Climate Summer School "From Climate Reconstructions to Climate Predictions" will take place in Grindelwald from 1 - 6 September 2013. This theme has been chosen due to its paramount importance in terms of both scientific challenges and pressing societal concerns. The specific topics to be addressed include:

  • Climate variability of the past two millennia and the next century
  • Calibrating proxies, modeling past climate, data - model comparison, detection and attribution
  • Rapid climate change and feedbacks, tipping points
  • Decadal predictability: theory and processes.

The summer school is open to young researchers (PhD students and young PostDocs). OCCR members are kindly invited to attend (all fees covered), but don't forget to register until 20 December 2012.

Young Researchers Meeting 2013 - save the date!

On 6 and 7 June 2013, the 12th Young Researchers Meeting will take place at Centre Loewenberg near Murten. The focus of the upcoming meeting is on applications for employment outside academia. Besides 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. The official announcement will follow in early spring 2013.

Researchers who have recently joined the OCCR:

Roland Bruggmann is the new database manager in the Environmental History and Historical Climatology group.

Gabriela Schwarz-Zanetti is a new PostDoc in the Environmental History and Historical Climatology group. She studied History and German language and literature at the Universities of Zurich and Bern and received her PhD in 1998. Then she worked for the Swiss Seismological Service. She currently is preparing a major project on the diaries of Joseph Dietrich, a Father from the Swiss monastery of Einsiedeln. The 12'000 pages of these diaries covering the period between 1670 and 1704 shall be made accessible as an online edition, which will reveal thousands of weather related records for the Maunder minimum period.

Andreas Stampfli is a new Research Associate with the Plant Ecology group. He is a PD and runs different projects on Grassland Ecology A warm welcome to all of you!

Researchers who have recently left the OCCR:

Julie Elbert of the group for Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology. She is currently looking for a new position.

Pascal Hänggi of the Hidrology group. He is an energy economist with the electric power company BKW now.

Monique Stewart of the group for Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology. She is a Technical Editor with the American Meteorological Society now.

All the best to you!