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Environment - Earth Sciences - 25.03.2024
How micro- and nanoplastics are infiltrating the Arctic ice
How micro- and nanoplastics are infiltrating the Arctic ice
Environmental scientist Alice Pradel cultivates ice cores in the lab to investigate the transport and accumulation of microand nanoplastics. Her aim in doing so is to better understand material flows in the Arctic ice. "Beat the Microbead" is the name of a campaign launched in 2012 with the aim of reducing the use of microplastics in cosmetic products in order to minimise negative effects on the environment and people.

Astronomy / Space - Environment - 22.03.2024
Water persisted in Mars' Gale crater for longer than previously thought
Water persisted in Mars’ Gale crater for longer than previously thought
Imperial College London and NASA researchers have found signs that water was plentiful in Mars' Gale crater for longer than previously thought. Billions of years ago, Mars was home to abundant water, and its Gale crater contained a lake. Gradually, the climate changed, drying the Red Planet and creating the dusty desert world we know today.

Environment - Economics - 22.03.2024
All Countries' Agri-Environmental Policies at a Glance
All Countries’ Agri-Environmental Policies at a Glance
University of Bonn researchers publish dataset of over 6,000 policies from all'over the world There can be no analysis without data. In this spirit, researchers from the University of Bonn and the Swiss Federal Institution of Technology (ETH) Zurich have published a database containing over 6,000 agri-environmental policies, thus enabling their peers as well as policymakers and businesses to seek answers to all manner of different questions.

Environment - 22.03.2024
Researching the spread of drought
Researching the spread of drought
It is important for water management to understand how drought spreads. In a new study, researchers from the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF show that in every third case, atmospheric drought is followed by low water levels. More rarely does drought have a negative impact on groundwater.

Computer Science - Environment - 22.03.2024
How discarded smartphones can help decarbonize the building sector
How discarded smartphones can help decarbonize the building sector
Automated building systems offer a great potential for reducing the energy consumption of properties. Studies on such systems show that optimized solutions can reduce the energy requirements of buildings by around 30 percent on average. In order to avoid the necessity to produce new and emission-heavy computer chips, Empa researcher Hanmin Cai is currently investigating the extent to which damaged smartphones that are no longer used could perform these control and maintenance tasks.

Environment - Campus - 22.03.2024
Research unlocks potential to revolutionise construction waste recycling
Office of the Interim Vice-President (Strategy & Major Projects) & Vice-Chancellor's Chief of Staff Office of the Interim Vice-President (Strategy & Major Projects) & Vice-Chancellor's Chief of Staff There was no time to waste as researchers trawled through skip bins across Melbourne construction sites, capturing hundreds of photos of materials destined for landfill.

Environment - Architecture - 22.03.2024
Think globally, rebuild locally
In order to recycle construction materials, keep them close to home, a new study of Amsterdam suggests. Building construction accounts for a huge chunk of greenhouse gas emissions: About 36 percent of carbon dioxide emissions and 40 percent of energy consumption in Europe, for instance. That's why the European Union has developed regulations about the reuse of building materials.

Architecture - Environment - 21.03.2024
Climate-friendly renovations using straw and hemp
Climate-friendly renovations using straw and hemp
Renovating buildings to improve their energy efficiency is a crucial step towards Switzerland achieving its climate targets. researchers can now reveal the most effective renovation strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: replace fossil-fuel heating systems and harness the potential of bio-based building materials like straw and hemp.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.03.2024
The natural vegetation cover acts as a reservoir of biodiversity in the face of climate changes
The natural vegetation cover acts as a reservoir of biodiversity in the face of climate changes
A team from the Desertification Research Centre (CIDE) collaborates in a study on the role of the so-called 'facilitating plants' in the survival of other plants in adverse conditions. The implications of this work, in which a total of 141 different plant species from the south of the Iberian Peninsula were recorded, are very important in the current context of climate change.

Environment - Life Sciences - 21.03.2024
Climate change disrupts vital ecosystems in the Alps
Reduced snow cover and shifting vegetation patterns in the Alps, both driven by climate change, are having major combined impacts on biodiversity and functioning of ecosystems in the high mountains, according to new research published today. Mountain ranges covering vast areas of the world are warming much faster than surrounding lowland areas, triggering huge reductions in snow cover and rapid upward movement of dwarf-shrubs, such as heather.

Paleontology - Environment - 21.03.2024
Rays were more diverse 150 million years ago than previously thought
Rays were more diverse 150 million years ago than previously thought
New fossil ray species discovered in Bavarica, Germany: Aellopobatis bavarica from the Late Jurassic In a new study recently published in the journal Papers in Palaeontology , an international team of scientists led by palaeobiologist Julia Türtscher from the University of Vienna has explored the puzzling world of rays that lived 150 million years ago and discovered a previously hidden diversity - including a new ray species.

Environment - Life Sciences - 21.03.2024
Species diversity promotes ecosystem stability
What maintains stability within an ecosystem and prevents a single best competitor from displacing other species from a community? Does ecosystem stability depend upon the presence of a wide variety of species, as early ecologists believed, or does diversity do the exact opposite, and lead to instability, as modern theory predicts? Resolving a long-standing debate among ecologists A new study from McGill University and the Max Planck Institute and published recently in Science suggests an answer to this question that has stood unanswered for half a century among ecologists.

Environment - Chemistry - 20.03.2024
Harnessing hydrogen at life's origin
Harnessing hydrogen at life’s origin
Researchers gain new insights into how the first cells on Earth were able to use hydrogen gas as an energy source Hydrogen gas (H2) is seen as a key to sustainable energy for the future. Yet it is an ancient form of energy. Even the very first cells on earth lived on H2, which was produced in hydrothermal vents.

Environment - Health - 20.03.2024
Research gaps in links between Indigenous health and climate change
Research gaps in links between Indigenous health and climate change
Global Futures Findings from a new review strengthen the warnings of a global ecological and relational crisis Though matters of climate change, biodiversity loss and Indigenous Peoples' health and well-being are often considered separately, the three are linked in innumerable ways. While people worldwide are experiencing the impacts of climate change and biodiversity losses, Indigenous Peoples are most disproportionately and acutely affected.

Environment - Paleontology - 20.03.2024
Ancient Giant Dolphin Discovered in the Amazon
Ancient Giant Dolphin Discovered in the Amazon
Measuring between 3 to 3.5 meters, 16 million years old: Paleontologists from the University of Zurich have announced the discovery of a new species of freshwater dolphin in the Peruvian Amazon region. Surprisingly, its closest living relatives can be found in the river dolphins of South Asia.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 20.03.2024
Detecting storms thanks to GPS
Detecting storms thanks to GPS
Researchers at ETH Zurich have succeeded in detecting heavy precipitation events directly with GPS data. The results of their study could significantly improve meteorological monitoring and forecasting. An exceptionally severe storm swept over Zurich on 13 July 2021 shortly before 2 a.m.: howling squalls, constant lightning and torrential rain woke people up with a start.

Environment - 19.03.2024
Fairy circles: plant water stress causes Namibia's gaps in grass
Fairy circles: plant water stress causes Namibia’s gaps in grass
Researchers describe topsoil as "death zone" for fresh grass in the fairy circle Namibia's legendary fairy circles are mysterious, circular, bald patches in the dry grasslands on the edge of the Namib Desert. Their formation has been researched for decades and has recently been the subject of much debate.

Environment - 19.03.2024
Satellite images from US espionage programmes for ecology and nature conservation
The images taken by US spy satellites since the late 1950s have long been classified. They became publicly accessible in the late 1990s and are used, among others, in climate research and archaeology. Researchers from the Conservation Biogeography Lab of the Institute of Geography at Humboldt-Universität led by Tobias Kümmerle also take interest in the black-and-white photographs.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.03.2024
Frequency of heat days systematically underestimated in many studies
Frequency of heat days systematically underestimated in many studies
Many studies on the climate crisis focus on researching temperature extremes on a global scale. Scientists at the University of Vienna have now uncovered an error in an established calculation method, leading to a systematic underestimation in the frequency of heat days. The error is based in the previously unnoticed impact of the seasonal cycle on the extreme threshold due to the incorrect application of so called "moving time windows".

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.03.2024
AI-powered system maps corals in 3D in record time
AI-powered system maps corals in 3D in record time
An artificial intelligence system developed at EPFL can produce 3D maps of coral reefs from camera footage in just a few minutes. It marks a major leap forward in deep-sea exploration and conservation capabilities for organizations like the Transnational Red Sea Center (TRSC). Corals often provide a colorful backdrop to photographs of shimmering fish captured by amateur divers.