For the 20th time, the Swiss Global Change Day on 7 February 2019 offered the opportunity to look beyond the horizon of climate and global change research covering a broad range of topics. Distinguished researchers presented scientific highlights and the poster session provided enough time for discussions and networking. About 190 participants attended the event and 35 posters were exhibited.
Dirk Messner from the United Nations University in Bonn showed the importance of just transition and transformation of the society or societal systems, tipping points in the earth system or the digital revolution as a benefit as well as a multiplier of already existing challenges. He underlined that we need to have new narratives for the future and should not just reshuffle some visions from the 1980's, as it is often the case at present.
Margit Schwikowski from the Paul Scherrer Institute pointed out that mountain glaciers are retreating worldwide and this is a major challenge, since glacial-archived information forming one of the best libraries of past climatic and environmental changes is under threat of being lost forever: As the upper layers melt, it is much more difficult to estimate the position of an archive in the timeline. Therefore, the ice cores are more difficult to calibrate.
Adrienne Grêt-Regamey from the ETH Zurich explained how spatial and landscape development can support the negotiation process and showed a different approach in spatial planning by improving urban patterns with regard to micro-climate. For example: What do certain species (animals and plants) need and how can a suitable habitat be created for them?
Adam Corner from Climate Outreach in Oxford illustrated how the Climate Visuals research institute is working to define a new visual language: Away from polar bears towards authentic people in everyday situations. To achieve this, Climate Visuals also works together with established image databases. In Corner’s contribution, the audience was also active by evaluating the pros and cons of short climate communication videos that he presented.
Peter Schürch from the Bern University of Applied Sciences built a bridge to practice by showing how timber can be used as a construction material and thus the natural cycle is maintained and CO2 concentration is mitigated: For example, timber stores carbon and ensures a good indoor climate. Schürch also showed examples of buildings without any CO2 emissions.
Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research answered to his lecture title ‘Do we have to be afraid of sea level rise?’ provocatively with ‘no’ and explained his provocative response immediately by stating that sea level rise is a slow process that will not have a sudden impact and it will not kill people – if they are not stupid. There will be significant impacts in many locations over time, but there is still time left to find the necessary adaptation options. But the challenges must be tackled soon.
Those presentations where the speakers gave their permission on publishing them can be downloaded further below. Unfortunately, the other presentations may not be made available.
About 35 posters were presented at the event in the categories Atmosphere/Hydrosphere, Geosphere/Biosphere, Human Dimensions/Sustainability. The best posters were honoured by a jury with a travel award of 1000 CHF each.
The following posters were awarded:
20th Swiss Global Change Day
The Swiss Global Change Day is the once a year event organised by ProClim where well-known experts present challenges and highlights of climate and global change research covering a broad range of topics. It is also an opportunity to show research results by posters and to discuss them with colleagues. The most attractive and comprehensive posters will be honoured with a travel award of CHF 1000.–.