Link zu WSL Hauptseite Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL

Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements

Dr. Manfred Stähli

Hochwasser 2007 Erlenbach

The Research Unit investigates natural hazard processes in mountainous areas, in particular the triggering and propagation of floods, sediment transport, landslides, debris flows and rock fall. Process studies on the scale of slopes, channels and catchments form the basis for the development of simulation models and of hazard assessment procedures and for the design of countermeasures. To this end worldwide unique observation systems are developed, such as a debris flow balance and geophone systems for bedload transport. Damage and damaging processes due to frequent and extreme events are assessed as prerequisites for the risk-based and sustainable management of natural hazards.

A second focus of the unit is on the estimation and prediction of snow and water resources, e.g. for hydropower production or early recognition of drought. The unit operates a snow hydrological service for federal and cantonal agencies and a drought information platform for a broad range of water users.


25 Nov. 2014: Ongoing work in the field of hydropower research will be presented at the WSL Forum für Wissen, one of the main annual stakeholder events of WSL. Information.

5. Nov. 2014: The information platform will be presented at the NFP 61 stakeholder workshop in Solothurn. Information.

11 Sep. 2014: News and video about our research on rock-fall trajectories

5 Sept. 2014: Exciting slope erosion observations in the Alptal (video by Antonius Golly, GFZ/WSL)

May 2014: New video about our rock fall test site Walenstadt.

Recent publications

17. Aug. 2014: New publication in Nature Geoscience on "River gorge erosion" with co-authorship of Jens Turowski (GFZ Potsdam/WSL) -> Press release GFZ Potsdam

Aug. 2014: New WSL report on Flexible debris flow barriers - Design and application

March 2014: New publication on a gridded snow water equivalent climatology for Alpine terrain in The Cryosphere

Feb. 2014: New publication on damage costs due to bedload transport processes in Nat. Hazards Earth Syst.


FE Gebirgshydrologie WSL Sommer 2014