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.


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.

4 - 7 Sept 2013: International workshop of acoustic and seismic monitoring of bedload and mass movements. WSL Birmensdorf. (-> Registration, program)

4 June 2013: Virtual rockfalls enter their test phase

HBM measurement technologies Switzerland publishes an application report of the WSL debris flow measurement system Illgraben.