Environmental Systems Science
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Megadürre in Kalifornien –Ähnliches droht auch der Schweiz: Kalifornien erlebt seit drei Jahren eine Rekord-Dürre. Seen, Flüsse und Felder trocknen aus, das Trinkwasser für die Menschen ist knapp. Warum ist es so weit gekommen und welchen Rolle spielt der Mensch? «Einstein» beleuchtet die einschneidenden Konsequenzen der Dürre, und zeigt auf, dass ähnliche Dürren künftig auch die Schweiz treffen könnten. Bericht mit Ausführungen von Reto Knutti (Prof. für Klimaphysik, D-USYS, ETH Zürich).

SRF Einstein vom 07.05.2015| usys, 13.05.2015




Who we are

We are convinced that the sustainable development of a livable world for future generations is one of the core tasks of our society. With our expertise and commitment, our goal is to provide a significant contribution towards solving this task.

Mission  Institutes and groups  People in D-USYS

Our research

We study the processes and interactions of different environmental systems on various scales, from the molecular scale to global environmental, production and supply systems. The approach of our research is systems-oriented and interdisciplinary.

Agro-ecosystems and world food system  Atmosphere and climate  Biogeochemistry and pollutant dynamics  Ecology, evolution and health  Human and environment  Soil and landuse

What we teach

In our two study programmes, we teach the scientific foundation to analyse complex sound environmental and food systems. Based on a scientific understanding of the problem, students learn to analyse problems and develop solutions to quantitatively evaluate and implement them.

Agricultural science  Environmental sciences  Doctoral studies  Didactic education

Upcoming events & latest news


Tackling World Food System Challenges: Across Disciplines, Sectors, and Scales

Datum, Zeit: Sun 21. Jun 2015 - Fri 26. Jun 2015
Ort: Congressi Stefano Franscini, Monte Verità, Via Collina 84, Ascona tel. 091 785 40 56-54,
Veranstaltungsart: Congress

Climates of the past - lessons for the future

Datum, Zeit: Sun 5. Jul 2015 - Fri 10. Jul 2015
Ort: Congressi Stefano Franscini, Monte Verità, Via Collina 84, Ascona tel. 091 785 40 56-54,
Veranstaltungsart: Congress

The 14th International Swiss Climate Summer School: Extreme Events and Climate

Datum, Zeit: Sun 23. Aug 2015 - Fri 28. Aug 2015
Ort: Congressi Stefano Franscini, Monte Verità, Via Collina 84, Ascona tel. 091 785 40 56-54,
Veranstaltungsart: Congress


Evolutionary dead-end as a success model


The coco-de-mer, or the double coconut palm of the Seychelles, grows the largest and heaviest seeds in the entire plant kingdom. Ecologists working with ETH Professor Peter Edwards explain how these plants are able to achieve this feat despite low nutrient levels. [10.03.2015]

How rain is dependent on soil moisture


It rains in summer most frequently when the ground holds a lot of moisture. However, precipitation is most likely to fall in regions where the soil is comparatively dry. This is the conclusion reached by researchers at ETH Zurich following an analysis of worldwide data. Their study contributes to a better understanding of soil moisture, a little explored climatic factor. [05.03.2015]

Switzerland must remain integrated in the electricity market


The energy supply in Switzerland in the year 2050 was the focus of a conference organised by ETH Zurich's Energy Science Centre (ESC). One thing was very clear: as far as electricity is concerned, no man is an island any longer. [15.12.2014]

Videoaufnahmen der Vorträge von Sebastian Rausch, Tony Patt, Andreas Ulbig

Nitrogen build-up in the oceans


Man-made activities are having a direct impact on the biogeochemistry of the world’s oceans – not only in terms of carbon. Researchers have now shown that also nitrogen compounds released into the atmosphere from combustion processes and agriculture end up in the open ocean. [27.11.2014]



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© 2015 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 23 March 2015