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First Swiss Global Change Day - Meeting Report

Wetter und Klima (Symbolbild)
Image: NASA

On 6 April 2000 ProClim- organized the first Swiss Global Change Day in Bern. After the end of the main national environmental research programs (SPP Environment, NRP 31) the aim of the meeting was to provide a platform where the Swiss global change research community can meet as a whole and discuss current problems in a transdisciplinary manner. It is planned to organize such a meeting every spring. About 160 participants took the opportunity to hear about new findings and future challenges in the broad field of global environmental change research.
In the three panel discussions people from governmental institutions (BUWAL, DEZA, UNCTAD), the private sector (SwissRe), politics (federal parliament), NGOs (WWF), and the media (GAIA) asked questions and explained their needs and views on the presented topics. One of the crucial topics discussed was the problem of communicating uncertainties. It was found that it is important to clearly distinguish between a lack of knowledge and uncertainties. Scientists, on the one hand, should make efforts define the range of uncertainty of their results more precisely. On the other hand, governmental and non-governmental users of scientific results should learn to handle ranges instead of waiting for the one final result, which will never be arrived at. The event was also an opportunity to «recycle» posters that have been shown at international specialist meetings during the last year and to present them to a broad research community. The best two posters in each of the three fields of WCRP (World Climate Research Programme), IGBP (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme) and IHDP (International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change) were selected by a jury (two members of the national committees of each program). The authors (students or post-docs) of the awarded posters received a travel award of SFr. 1000.- each, which will allow them to attend an international conference in the current year.
The following posters were awarded:
WCRP (14 Posters were presented):
- Anton Kühne, ETH Zürich: «Climate Change and Water Balance»
- Constanze Weyhenmeyer, Universität Bern: «Glacial-Interglacial Temperature Changes for Southern Arabia. Based on Noble Gas Measurements in Coastal Groundwaters of Northern Oman«. The awards are sponsored by the CCA (Commission for Atmosphere and Climate of the SANW).

IGBP (18 posters):
- Bernd Eilrich, Philippe Steinmann, Université de Neuchâtel: «Origin and Circulation of CO2 and CH4 in Peatlands»
- Frank Hagedorn, WSL Birmenstorf: «Carbon Sequestration in Forest Soils«. The travel avards are sponsored by the Swiss IGBP Committee.

IHDP (3 posters):
- Martin Büssenschütt, EAWAG Dübendorf: «Communicating Climate Change - Innovative Approches from Switzerland»

Only one award was given this year by the Swiss IHDP Committee of the SAGW.