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10th Swiss Global Change Day - Meeting Report

(ev) On 31 March 2009 the Swiss global change research community met for the 10th time on the Swiss Global Change Day in Bern. About 300 participants attended the Anniversary Event and took the opportunity to network and to discuss with people from related fields. About 80 posters were presented showing the range of research activities in Switzerland.

Teaser: 10th Swiss Global Change Day - Meeting Report

Six key note speakers presented new findings, highlights and challenges in the broad field of global environmental change research:

Edouard Bard from the Collège de France talked about paleo-oceanography as a storybook to understand climate change. He elaborated on the notion that part of the puzzle to understand the forcing and feedback of the climate system by orbital parameters and atmospheric carbon dioxide may be found in the comparison between marine sediments and polar ice cores, which comprise multiple glacial cycles. (--> Presentation, 0.5 MB)

Naomi Oreskes from the University of California dealt with the question whether consensus was the goal of science. She showed that climate researchers largely agree on the reasons and impacts of global warming. However, not only some skeptics but even some researchers have wondered if emphasizing consensus might lead to downplaying doubts. (--> Presentation, 4.1 MB)

Markus Fischer from the University of Bern focused on the feedback effects between climate, land use and biodiversity. He considers biodiversity not just as a response variable reacting to land use and climate but rather suggests that declining biodiversity is also the cause of many changes of ecosystem processes. Accordingly, political and economic decisions aiming at sustainable and climate-neutral land use need to take the role of biodiversity into account.

Konstantinos Boulouchos from ETH Zurich elaborated on the dream of low-carbon individual transportation, the future of which will be in its electrification. He is convinced that huge technology breakthroughs will be necessary for this to happen and that the shape of the whole industry will have to change. Thus, he urges to start now, in order to be where we should around 2050.

Nicolas Gruber from ETH Zurich focused on the role of nitrogen in the global carbon cycle. He showed how the availability of nitrogen impacts the capacity of the earth's biosphere to continue absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Furthermore, he explored the question how changes in the carbon cycle alter the nitrogen cycle. (--> Presentation, 3.6 MB)

Robert Watson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK summarized the current state of knowledge regarding the key global environmental issues, such as climate change and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the implications for poverty alleviation and food and water security. He outlined policy options and discussed key research needs in the fields mentioned. (--> Presentation, 1.6 MB)

In the poster session the best posters in each of the fields WCRP, IGBP, IHDP and DIVERSITAS were selected by a jury and honored with a travel award of SFr. 1000.- each. The following posters were awarded:

WCRP (awards were sponsored by the ACP, the Commission for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, SCNAT):

  • Paulo Ceppi: Extreme value analysis of wind observations over Switzerland
  • Michael Sigl: The variability of d18O in an Alpine ice core reflects long-term trends of past summer temperatures

IGBP (awards were sponsored by the Swiss IGBP Committee, SCNAT):

  • Matteo Mota: Piégage du CO2 atmosphérique: La voie oxalate-carbonate en Amazonie et ses potentials d'application
  • Nadine K. Ruehr: Winter soil respiration fluxes in a Swiss mountain forest

IHDP (awards were sponsored by the SAGW):

  • David Gallati: Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation to water scarcity - case study Valais
DIVERSITAS (award was sponsored by the Swiss Biodiversity Forum, SCNAT):
  • Robin Engler: Future distribution of plant species under climate change: Towards more realistic projections?

ACP Award
The Commission for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) awarded two outstanding contributions to the atmospheric sciences. The awards were given to:

  • Claudia Marcolli, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (IACETH), ETH Zurich
  • Christian Ruckstuhl, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego

The Swiss Global Change Day emitted 6.9 tons of CO2. The emissions were compensated through myclimate at a cost of 263 sFr.

Further details about the 10th Swiss Global Change Day, you find in the flyer.

10th Swiss Global Change Day - Meeting Report
10th Swiss Global Change Day - Meeting Report