Consortium > ETH-Zurich

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Organization short name: ETH ZURICH
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Description of the organization

The Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich in Switzerland was founded 1855 and has a long tradition as a world-leading research and teaching institute in science and engineering. Currently it is ranked among the top five universities in Europe according to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranking.

Expertise and experience of the organization

ETH Zürich hosts nationally and internationally well-known departments in Environmental Science, Agricultural and Food Science and Earth Science. The high scientific standards are complemented by the continuous support of new, innovative research areas, e.g., seen by the set-up of a new Competence Center for Environment and Sustainability CCES. The Chair of Grassland Sciences has long standing expertise in the use of stable isotopes in ecology, maintains a state-of-the-art stable isotope mass spectrometry lab and focuses on research in biogeochemistry of terrestrial ecosystems, in particularly the ecosystem C, N and water dynamics under changing climatic conditions, and interactions among biodiversity and ecosystem functions. The Marie Curie Team operates two novel laser spectrometers for stable isotopes to study the flow of carbon and water through terrestrial ecosystems. The Chair of Land-Climate Interactions investigates the role of land surface processes in the climate system using regional (Climate-LM) and global (ECHAM5) climate models, land surface models (CLM, TerraLM), diagnostic estimates, ground and satellite observations, and field measurements.

Selected reference projects

  • COST Action E38: Soil carbon losses in forest ecosystems (NB)
  • SIBAE (ESF): Program on Stable Isotope in Biosphere-Atmosphere Exchange (NB)
  • NCCR Climate (SNF): Climate impacts on plant-soil interactions in agroecosystems; Risks associated with droughts and soil subsidence in Europe (NB, SIS)
  • CarboEurope IP (EU FP6): (NB)
  • ICOS (EU FP7): Integrated Carbon Observation System (NB)
  • ISOCYCLE (EU FP6): Marie Curie Excellence Grant (AK)
  • MAIOLICA (CCES): Modelling and experiments on land-surface interactions with atmospheric chemistry and climate (NB, SIS)
  • CECILIA (EU FP6): Climate change and extreme events in Central and Eastern Europe (SIS)

Responsibilities in CARBO-Extreme

  • Network of Ecosystem Manipulation Experiments (WP2) (lead)
  • Model-data integration (WP5)
  • Model experiments and scenario analysis (WP6)
  • Carbon vulnerability synthesis (WP7)

Key scientific / technical personnel

Prof. Nina Buchmann, Chair of Grassland Sciences in the Institute of Plant Sciences, ETH Zurich. Expert in ecosystem physiology and the use of stable isotopes in soils, vegetation and biospheric-atmospheric interactions. Principal investigator and work package leader in EU-projects on C and N fluxes in ecosystems, i.e. FORCAST, CarboEuroflux, CarboEurope-IP, ICOS. Since 2004 member of the German Advisory Council for Global Change.
Dr. Alexander Knohl, Marie Curie Team Leader. Expert in tracing carbon and water fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems with stable isotope laser spectroscopy and eddy covariance measurements. Principal investigator and coordinator of projects on stable isotopes in ecosystem – atmosphere interactions, e.g. MIBA-US, ISOCYCLE.
Prof. Sonia I. Seneviratne. Chair of Land-Climate Interactions, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich. Expert in land-climate interactions, regional climate modelling, hydrometeorology, and ecohydrology. Participant to several national and international research projects (EU-FP6 ENSEMBLES, 2005-2007; EU-FP6 CECILIA: principal investigator and work package leader).

Selected recent relevant publications

Ciais P, Reichstein M, …, Buchmann N, …, Knohl A, …, Valentini R, Europe-wide reduction in primary productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003. Nature 437:529-533, 2005. link to publisher

Högberg P, Nordgren A, Buchmann N, et al., Large-scale forest girdling shows that current photosynthesis drives soil respiration. Nature 411, 789-792, 2001. link to publisher

Knohl A, Werner RA, Brand WA, Buchmann N, Short-term variations in δ13C of ecosystem respiration reveals link between assimilation and respiration in a deciduous forest. Oecologia 142:70-82 , 2005. link to publisher

Seneviratne SI, et al., Land-atmosphere coupling and climate change in Europe. Nature, 443, 205-209, 2006. link to publisher

Seneviratne SI, Koster RD, et al., Soil moisture memory in AGCM simulations: Analysis of Global Land-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE) data. J. Hydrometeor., 7(5), 1090-1112, 2006. link to publisher