6th Swiss Global Change Day - Meeting Report
A glimps at Swiss research - many posters are ready to download
On 7 April 2005 ProClim- organized the sixth Swiss Global Change Day in Bern. The established yearly meeting provides a platform where the Swiss global change research community can meet. About 250 participants took the opportunity to discuss current problems in a transdisciplinary manner with the invited provocators Marco Berg, Factor Consulting+Management AG, Zurich; Lukas Denzler, journalist, and Christa Markwalder Bär, member of the National Council.
Qualified experts presented new findings, highlights and challenges in the broad field of global environmental change research:
Peter Lemke from the Alfred Wegener Institute from Germany focused on the fate of the Arctic sea ice. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased three times as much as the global air temperature over the last 55 years, which caused a serious decline of sea ice extent and thickness. The complex interactions between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean need to be explored in order to estimate the future development of the Arctic sea ice.
Martin Wild from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich explored the temporal variability of solar and terrestrial radiation at the Earth's surface. Newly available surface information show, that after a decline of solar radiation prior to the 1980s, a widespread brightening is observed since the mid-1980s. The recent absence of the so-called solar dimming of sunlight may have allowed the greenhouse effect to finally develop at full size, as seen in accelerated temperature increases in the 1990s.
Bernhard Stauffer from the University of Bern showed how the climate from the past few hundred years can be reconstructed by analyzing ice core drillings. One important result from this research is the discovery of fast temperature variations during the past ice age, so called Dansgaard/Oeschger events. To find the exact cause of these events may be important in order to answer the question, whether such dramatic climatic variations could occur also in the future, possibly as a cause of Global Warming. (--> Presentation, 1 MB)
Nina Buchmann from the University of Zurich examined the response of terrestrial ecosystems on climate change. To what extent does species diversity influence the stability or resistance of ecosystem functions against environmental perturbations? The question was discussed considering the role of plant diversity for ecosystem functions during and after extreme weather events, which are predicted as a consequence of global climate change for Central Europe. (--> Presentation, 1.8 MB)
Marcel Tanner from the Swiss Tropical Institute of Basel introduced the potential effects of global change on health and disease, considering the key determinants climate, urbanization, migration and mobility of populations, deforestation, water use and reuse, agricultural patterns and pollution. Special emphasis was placed on vector-borne diseases and the diseases of poverty, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Furthermore, the potential of public health and environmental interventions was considered.
Gerhard Petschel-Held from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) emphasized the necessity of studying the Earth as a system. Humans modify the natural environment in many ways and on different scales. There are various attempts to develop typologies for environmental changes. The so-called Syndrome Approach is one of the first of those attempts and seeks to develop a typology of human-environment systems with a focus on non-sustainable development.
In the poster session the best posters in each of the fields of 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 [15 posters presented; awards were sponsored by the ACP (Commission for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics) and ProClim-]:
- Christian Ruckstuhl, PMOD/WRC, Davos: «Europe's temperature increases under anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong 'water vapour feedback'»
- Simon Christian Scherrer, MeteoSchweiz: «Trends in Swiss Alpine snow days - The role of local and large scale climate variability»
IGBP (28 posters; awards were sponsored by the Swiss IGBP Committee):
- Tanya Handa, Institute of Botany, Univ. of Basel: «Growth response of alpine conifers to four years of CO2 enrichment at the Swiss treeline»
- Kerstin Treydte, WSL, ETH Zurich: «Long-term precipitation changes in western Central Asia from tree-ring d18O»
IHDP (5 posters; award was sponsored by the Swiss IHDP Committee):
- Anke Huss, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Univ. of Bern: «Impact of the 2003 heatwave on mortality in Switzerland»
DIVERSITAS (8 posters; award was sponsored by the Swiss Biodiversity Forum, scnat):
- Sonja Wipf, SLF Davos: «Winter climate matters! The reaction of tundra plants to snow manipulation experiments»
List of the posters with pdf's to download.
Details about the 6th Swiss Global Change Day: