in the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry (LUC)
During its expedition to the Monte Rosa massif, the international Ice Memory team extracted two ice cores over 80 meters long from Colle Gnifetti, the oldest ice in the Alps.
The next mission to preserve the climate heritage of the Pennine Alps has begun: For the Ice Memory Project, researchers set off for Monte Rosa’s Colle Gnifetti.
A precise look into the finest particles in the air shows how compounds harmful to human health are formed.
An international expedition with the participation of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI discovers advanced glacial melting at an elevation of more than 4,000 metres on the Grand Combin in Valais. In the Alps, it may almost be too late for the Ice Memory project, which aims to save ice cores as a climate archive for future generations of researchers.
Scientists have just nucleated ice in an X-ray microscope for the first time and they created chemical maps of those responsible.
In the first half of the 19th century, a series of large volcanic eruptions in the tropics led to a temporary global cooling of Earth's climate. That Alpine glaciers grew and subsequently receded again during the final phase of the so-called Little Ice Age was due to a natural process. This has now been proven by PSI researchers on the basis of ice cores.
PSI researchers have developed an experimental chamber in which they can recreate atmospheric processes and probe them with unprecedented precision, using X-ray light from the Swiss Light Source SLS. In the initial experiments, they have studied the production of bromine, which plays an essential role in the decomposition of ozone in the lower layers of the atmosphere. In the future, the new experiment chamber will also be available for use by researchers from other scientific fields.
The interfacial ionization of strong acids is an essential factor of multiphase and heterogeneous chemistry in environmental science, cryospheric science, catalysis research and material science. Using Near Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron (NAPP) spectroscopy, we directly detected a low surface coverage of adsorbed HCl at 253 K in both molecular and dissociated states and interpret the results as physisorbed molecular HCl at the outermost ice surface and dissociation occurring upon solvation deeper in the interfacial region. This study gives clear evidence for nonuniformity across the air−ice interface and questions the use of acid−base concepts in interfacial processes.
Although copper (Cu) was essential for the wealth of pre- and post-colonial societies in the Andes, the onset of extensive Cu metallurgy in South America is still debated. Based on a 6500 year ice-core Cu record from Illimani glacier in Bolivia we provide the first complete history of large-scale Cu smelting activities in South America. Earliest anthropogenic Cu pollution was found during the Early Horizon period ~700-50 BC. We attribute the onset of intensified Cu smelting in South America to the activities of the central Andean Chiripa and Chavin cultures ~2700 years ago. This study provides for the first time substantial evidence for extensive Cu metallurgy already during these early cultures.