Extreme Environments Research Laboratory EERL – Ingvar Kamprad Chair

Understanding polar and alpine environments


Extreme environments are very sensitive to climate change and are transforming at accelerated rates. This can have important repercussions for society such as changed weather patterns or sea level rise. Hence understanding processes of change is essential for future predictions.

The EERL aims to create integrated process understanding by conducting field studies looking at interactions between the atmosphere, cryosphere, ocean, land and human activities. Assuming a perspective of atmospheric science, the goal is to characterize processes that are directly influenced by humans versus natural processes that are undergoing change due to climate forcing. 

EPFL News Channel

Au mois de septembre, où la banquise arctique atteint son minimum, elle était à son cinquième niveau le plus bas jamais enregistré, décrit Julia Schmale © iStock

Polar ice holds the key to our future on Earth

— The world’s ice shelves, glaciers and ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. The extent of polar sea ice in both the Arctic and the Antarctic is unusually low this year. Protecting the cryosphere is essential to life on Earth – which is why scientists are pulling out all the stops to understand the complex dynamics

© Lionel Favre / 2023 EPFL

A summer of intense field-work for the GreenFjord project

— GreenFjord is a four-year research program intended to investigate how climate change is affecting ecosystems in southern Greenland. The scientists just completed a first intensive field season where they won over the local residents. The next step will be to analyze the millions of datapoints they collected.

© 2023 EPFL/Pierre-Yves Gilliéron

2023 Award for Best SIE Teacher

— Prof. Julia Schmale has been voted Best 2023 SIE Teacher by the SIE students.

Donato Kofel has completed his Master’s project in environmental sciences and engineering. © aAlain Herzog / 2023 EPFL

Trees are not always a miracle cure for improving air quality

— MASTER'S PROJECT – Donato Kofel has quantified the positive and negative effects of trees on outdoor air quality in Geneva Canton. His method can be used by city planners to design their large-scale planting programs more effectively.

© 2023 EPFL

Six SNSF Consolidator Grans awarded to EPFL researchers

— The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) awarded six "SNSF Consolidator Grants" to EPFL researchers. This transitional measure replaces the ERC Consolidator Grants.

© 2023 EPFL

Three "ENAC Flagship projects" granted

— We're happy to announce the 3 successful ENAC Flagship projects, involving 7 ENAC Professors coming from different research disciplines. The Flagships will receive between 400 and 500 kCHF each and will be running until spring 2026!

The new building houses the Alpine and Polar Environmental Research Centre. © Olivier Maire

EPFL plans new research center in Valais on the energy transition

— Ten years after signing the agreement to open its Valais Wallis campus in Sion, today EPFL opened a new building on the campus: Alpole, which will serve as a research center on alpine and polar environments. EPFL also took the opportunity to unveil plans to create another research center in Sion – one focused on the energy transition – and has obtained preliminary approval from the Valais cantonal government.