Swiss Academy of science

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Swiss Academy of science

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Walzer C.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Kowalczyk C.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Alexander J.M.,ETH Zurich | Baur B.,University of Basel | And 14 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The European Alps harbour a unique and species-rich biodiversity, which is increasingly impacted by habitat fragmentation through land-use changes, urbanization and expanding transport infrastructure. In this study, we identified the 50 most important questions relating to the maintenance and restoration of an ecological continuum - the connectedness of ecological processes across many scales including trophic relationship and disturbance processes and hydro-ecological flows in the European Alps. We initiated and implemented a trans-national priority setting exercise, inviting 48 institutions including researchers, conservation practitioners, NGOs, policymakers and administrators from the Alpine region. The exercise was composed of an initial call for pertinent questions, a first online evaluation of the received questions and a final discussion and selection process during a joint workshop. The participating institutions generated 484 initial questions, which were condensed to the 50 most important questions by 16 workshop participants. We suggest new approaches in tackling the issue of an ecological continuum in the Alps by analysing and classifying the characteristics of the resulting questions in a non-prioritized form as well as in a visual conceptualisation of the inter-dependencies among these questions. This priority setting exercise will support research and funding institutions in channelling their capacities and resources towards questions that need to be urgently addressed in order to facilitate significant progress in biodiversity conservation in the European Alps. © 2013 Walzer et al.

Ulbrich U.,Free University of Berlin | Leckebusch G.C.,University of Birmingham | Grieger J.,Free University of Berlin | Schuster M.,Free University of Berlin | And 25 more authors.
Meteorologische Zeitschrift | Year: 2013

For Northern Hemisphere extra-tropical cyclone activity, the dependency of a potential anthropogenic climate change signal on the identification method applied is analysed. This study investigates the impact of the used algorithm on the changing signal, not the robustness of the climate change signal itself. Using one single transientAOGCMsimulation as standard input for eleven state-of-the-art identification methods, the patterns of model simulated present day climatologies are found to be close to those computed from re-analysis, independent of the method applied. Although differences in the total number of cyclones identified exist, the climate change signals (IPCC SRES A1B) in the model run considered are largely similar between methods for all cyclones. Taking into account all tracks, decreasing numbers are found in the Mediterranean, the Arctic in the Barents and Greenland Seas, the mid-latitude Pacific and North America. Changing patterns are even more similar, if only the most severe systems are considered: the methods reveal a coherent statistically significant increase in frequency over the eastern North Atlantic and North Pacific.We found that the differences between the methods considered are largely due to the different role of weaker systems in the specific methods. © Gebrüder Borntraeger, Stuttgart 2013.

Neu U.,Swiss Academy of science | Akperov M.G.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Bellenbaum N.,University of Cologne | Benestad R.,Norwegian Meteorological Institute | And 34 more authors.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2013

The IMILAST intercomparison experiment was initiated involving 15 commonly used detection and tracking algorithms for extratropical cyclones reveals those cyclone characteristics that were robust between different schemes and those that differed considerably. All participating groups computed cyclone tracks for the same period using the same input, such as the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Interim Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim) dataset on whose results the first activity of the experiment was based. Space-time resolution of the input data had a significant impact on cyclone statistics. The experiment also revealed that high resolution was essential to help capture the full life cycles of cyclones and to ensure that small cyclonic windstorms were identified. Researchers used 1.5° spatial resolution and 6-hourly temporal resolution except for one method that used 12-hourly data for a 20-yr period ranging from January 1, 1989 to March 31, 2009.

Vohland K.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Mlambo M.C.,University of Oulu | Horta L.D.,University of Bayreuth | Jonsson B.,Mid Sweden University | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2011

The accelerated loss of biodiversity, impaired ecosystem services, and lack of policy action pose a major threat to human welfare. The installation of an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), as decided upon at the UN general assembly in December 2010, will provide a much needed framework to better coordinate global response to biodiversity loss. The Busan Outcome laid out the foundation of the structure, function and governance of the IPBES. However, the main goal is to make IPBES credible and effective. Here we discuss three main challenges for IPBES: (1) How to identify topics for the agenda and the assessments, (2) how to organise the assessment process, and (3) how to make findings more policy relevant. In this contribution we recommend that scientists actively act as "early warners", identify pertinent topics that unify different stakeholders, and reflect the characteristics of the different regions and scales. Science has to be independent and improve its communication e.g. through the elaboration of different models and policy scenarios. A short reflection on fairness and effectivity leads to the conclusion that trust due to transparency will be one of the main factors that determines the success of IPBES. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Geiss J.,International Space Science Institute | Huber M.C.E.,Swiss Academy of science | Rossi A.P.,Jacobs University Bremen
Europhysics News | Year: 2014

Our planetary system has not always been as serene as it appears to us today. Exploration of the Moon has shown that disastrous collisions and violent epochs have occurred in the early part of its history. Indeed, a collision of the Earth with another planet - The Giant Impact - is the most widely accepted theory for the origin of the Moon. Several hundred million years later, Moon and Earth received a Late Heavy Bombardment that created the large basins on the Moon and must have devastated the atmosphere and hydrosphere of the Earth.

Scheurer T.,Swiss Academy of science | Gurung A.B.,Mountain Research Initiative | Borsdorf A.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Braun V.,Austrian Academy of Sciences | Weingartner R.,University of Bern
Mountain Research and Development | Year: 2013

Switzerland and Austria are committed to addressing sustainable mountain development in Europe through a joint effort. In June 2013, more than 140 researchers as well as representatives of the 2 countries' funding ministries participated in the "Mountain Days" event in Mittersill, Austria, thereby marking the official launch of the Swiss-Austrian Alliance. The resulting Mittersill Commitment Paper highlights 8 research areas and calls for international cooperation between mountain researchers, institutions, and governments. © International Mountain Society.

Martinez S.I.,Swiss Academy of science | Martinez S.I.,University of Basel | Biber-Klemm S.,University of Basel
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2010

Biodiversity research generates critically important knowledge for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)'s goals. However, academic noncommercial scientists intending to study biodiversity experience obstacles caused by restrictive access conditions legislated by the countries that provide access to their genetic resources. Currently, a legally binding protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is being negotiated within the CBD without adequate involvement of the academic community. The ABS regulations were originally designed for commercial uses that generate monetary benefits from the utilization of genetic resources. Noncommercial research should expeditiously assert its interests and state its needs in the ABS negotiations. Academia has failed to market to policy makers its special dual role as user of genetic resources and as generator of essential knowledge for the benefit of the CBD and society at large. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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