Oeschger News (January 2013)

Thomas Stocker on future IPCC Assessment Reports

Thomas Stocker (Earth System Modeling - Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics group) is one of nine earth and planetary scientists who were asked by Nature Geoscience to contribute to a special issue to mark its 5th anniversary. In his article entitled "Adapting the assessments" the Co-chair of Working Group I of the IPCC advocates that it is now time to consider how best to provide increasingly complex climate information to policymakers as the current assessment of climate change by the IPCC is nearing completion. "The questions must be raised whether the IPCC's 5- to 7-year assessment cycles can still be maintained with a reasonable effort, whether the volunteer scientists who act as lead authors are equipped with an adequate infrastructure for this Herculean task, and whether enough researchers will continue to donate their time."

Climate and beyond - a successful conference on environmental history

Between 23 and 25 January the conference "Climate and beyond" took place in Bern. It was co-organized by the OCCR and brought together about 60 historians of the earth sciences, environmental historians and natural scientists. The participants came from 15 different countries and included prominent researchers such as Naomi Oreskes (University of California, San Diego) who also gave a public talk. Under the general theme "Knowledge production about planet earth and the global environment as indicators of social change" the social, cultural and political changes induced by earth scientists were explored and the knowledge and institutions they have created over the last two centuries were discussed.

OCCR Plenary Assembly on 15 February 2013

This year's plenary meeting of the Oeschger Centre takes place on Friday 15 February 2013, 14.00 - 17.00 (followed by an Apero), Universität Bern, Main Building, Room 201 (2nd floor). Please note: This is not the UniS building as usual! The program includes a talk by guest speaker Claus Beisbarth. He has recently joined the University of Bern as an Extraordinarius for Philosophy of Science and will talk on "From Socrates to Global Warming - Why Philosophers Think about Climate Change and What They Have to Offer". Don?t miss!

Please register not later than 7 February 2013 by sending an email to Monika Waelti

Oliver Heiri is Teacher of the Year

And the winner is... Oliver Heiri from the OCCR's Aquatic Paleoecology group was elected Teacher of the Year at the University of Bern's Department of Biology. Our congratulations.

Commissioning of the new 14C-AMS laboratory due soon

The installation of a new facility for radiocarbon dating in Bern was launched by the OCCR in 2010 with matching funds from the SNSF, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, and the University of Bern. The accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) system MICADAS is the key device of this new laboratory. The setup of this instrument was recently finished at Zurich by a collaboration of the Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics of ETH and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Bern. The MICADAS will be transferred to Bern in February 2013. The Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA) will then become operational to perform 14C analyses for OCCR groups and external customers.

Official inauguration of the new 14C-AMS laboratory on 3 May

The new facility for radiocarbon dating in Bern - a project launched by the OCCR in 2010 - will officially be inaugurated with a scientific symposium on 3 May 2013 (morning). The event will include scientific presentations, a guided tour of the laboratory, and a lunch. Please save the date! A detailed program and instructions for registration will follow.

Hydrology Day takes place for the first time in Switzerland

From 4 to 6 April 2013 the ?Tag der Hydrologie 2013? takes place in Bern in the context of the UN's International Year of Water Cooperation, 2013. This conference, co-sponsored by the OCCR, is an annual meeting for hydrologists (and related scientists) from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. For the first time in the history of this event they meet in Switzerland. The conference is entitled ?Wasserressourcen im globalen Wandel, Hydrologische Grundlagen ? von der Messung zur Anwendung? and consists of talks, poster presentations, and excursions.

Isotopes conference to take place in Bern in August

The Oeschger Centre and the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Paleoclimate Working Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, jointly organize the conference "The Isotopes of Carbon, Water, and Geotracers in Paleoclimate Research" in Bern from 26 to 28 August 2013. Since isotopes are currently in the focus of intense research the conference wants to bring together observationalists and modelers to exchange their latest insights on the opportunity isotopes offer to quantitatively understand physical and biogeochemical processes and to unravel past and modern climate change. The conference will reach across the disciplines to bring together scientists who work on different climate archives and focus on physical or biogeochemical processes and couplings.

OCCR climate meta-database operational in March

By mid March 2013, the OCCR's meta-database will be operational. It will provide information about all climate data available at the OCCR. OCCR members may either contact Jörg Franke, the OCCR's data consultant for this dataset, or access it directly on a server, in case it is published and freely available such as the 20th Century Reanalysis. This meta-database will facilitate finding specific data, data access, and the search for experts. You will no longer have to request or even pay for data and then wait for days or weeks if another OCCR member already has the data you are looking for. Please note and also tell your students that the OCCR has direct access to 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.

Introductory meeting to the OCCR's climate data service

Since last year, the OCCR provides a climate data service for its members. In addition to the support and advice regarding the use and management of data, an information portal on data sets existing within the OCCR will soon become available. This meta-database will facilitate finding specific data, data access, and the search for experts. On 22 March 2013, 14:00-15:30 Jörg Franke, the OCCR's data consultant will introduce the new information portal and explain its potential and functionality. The presentation will take place at the Seminar room 01 of the Oeschger Center, Falkenplatz 16, Bern. Contact: franke@giub.unibe.ch

OCCR researchers contradict evidence for misdating of tree-ring chronologies

About a year ago, Michael Mann et al. published a paper arguing that climate reconstructions might not capture cold conditions after volcanic eruptions due to a temporary cessation of growth, missing tree rings and associated chronological errors in tree ring based temperature reconstructions. A group of scientists, including OCCR members David Frank, Ulf Büntgen (Dendroclimatology group), and Petra Breitenmoser, (Climatology group) argue in a commentary to Nature Geoscience that the Mann et al. conclusion is based on flawed tree ring growth model simulations and there is no empirical evidence for misdating of tree-ring chronologies.

E-learning modules for regional training centre in Peru

The OCCR's Climatology group is part of CLIMANDES (Servicios climáticos con énfasis en los Andes en apoyo a las decisiones). This initiative is a pilot project under the umbrella of the WMO-led Global Framework for Climate project Services (GFCS). The project seeks to improve climate services for the Peruvian region and to increase the number of professionals and students trained in support of the newly established WMO Regional Training Center hosted by the National Agrarian University La Molina (UNALM) in Lima. The project is coordinated by WMO and implemented by the Peruvian National Service for Meteorology and Hydrology (SENAMHI) and MeteoSwiss, in collaboration with UNALM, the University of Bern, and Meteodat GmbH. CLIMANDES is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and runs from August 2012 to July 2015. The OCCR's Climatology group develops e-learning modules for the Regional Training Center.

Apero series for young OCCR scientists to be launched

For many young scientist who have become OCCR members by starting their PhD, the Oeschger Centre tends to be a bit of a phantom - a virtual network with no actual building and laboratories. To make the OCCR more palpable to our new members we plan to establish a new get-together format especially for PhDs and PostDocs. The aim of this Apero series is to introduce young scientist across all OCCR-fields to one another. Interested groups will host these rather easy going events (no posters, no ppt!, fluent transition from serious discussions to beer and snacks) in turns on Friday afternoons. The first event will be hosted by the KUP groups (Past Climate and Biogeochemical Studies on Ice Cores, Earth System Modeling - Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycles, Earth System Modeling - Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics) in April. Formal invitations will follow.

Daniele Colombaroli awarded with an SNF ?Ambizione? follow-up

Daniele Colombaroli from the OCCR's Terrestrial Paleoecology group was awarded with a SNF "Ambizione" follow-up grant (1 year, CHF 191.000) for his project "Fire, climate change and human impact in tropical ecosystems: long-term biodiversity and stand dynamics of tropical vegetation". This project will mainly focus on the long-term dynamics of tropical plant diversity in East Africa and the response of key-species to the historical variation in the moisture balance.

How to become an entrepreneur - venture challenge at UniBE

Would you like to train your skills as a future entrepreneur? Apply for a limited number of places in a special course organized by "venturelab" at the University of Bern starting 18 February 2013. "venturelab" offers individual training modules specifically designed for start-ups.

Abstract reader oft the INQUA Congress 2011 now available

The XVIII INQUA Congress that took place in Bern in summer 2011 is now definitely closed. The Official Compte Rendu and Volume of Abstracts is now available as part of the Journal of the International Union for Quaternary Research (Quaternary International, Vols. 279 - 280, 565 pp., 16 November 2012). The reader can be ordered from Elsevier.

Researchers who have recently joined the OCCR:

Stefan Hunziker is a new scientific staff member at the Climatology group at the Institute of geography. He obtained a M.Sc. in physical Geography at the University of zürich, then completed his Civilian Service (partly in the OCCR's Lake Sediments and Paleolimnology group) worked on various smaller projects in the Eawag in Luzern, did field work in Chile twice and traveled in South America. He is now involved in the CLIMANDES joint Switzerland-Peru project.

Peter Stucki is a new PhD student with the Climatology group at the Institute of Geography. His PhD project is on windstorms in Switzerland over the last 150 years.

Martin Wegmann is a new PhD student with the Climatology group at the Institute of Geography. After doing a B.Sc. in Geography at the University of Bochum he gained his Master of Climate Science at the OCCR in 2012. His PhD project about circulation and climatic changes in the Arctic during the last 100 years is embedded into a European-Russian research project, including four other international institutions.

Renate Auchmann who finished her PhD in the Climatology group at the Institute of Geography last December is now a PostDoc in the same group.

A warm welcome to all of you!

Researchers who have recently left the OCCR:

Daniel Lachat who finished his PhD the Climatology group last December is now with PMOD/WRC in Davos.

Pavel Michna who finished his PhD the Climatology group last December.

Yuri Brugnara who was a PhD in the Climatology group.

Christian Almer who worked as a PostDoc at the Environmental and Climate Economics Group.

All the best to you!