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Dr. Dieter Rickenmann - Personal Homepage

Dieter Rickenmann
Organisational unit Mountain Hydrology and Mass Movements
Torrents and Mass Movements
Address Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf

Room Bi LG E 07
Contact Phone: +41 44 739 2429
Fax: +41 44 739 2488
Web / E-Mail

Education / Degrees

Univ. Professor, Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences BOKU, Vienna, Austria (2002-2009)

Dr. sc. techn., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland (1991)

Diploma degree in Civil Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland (1984)

Research interests

Sediment transport in mountain streams
Sediment transport and erosion processes in steep streams (torrents). Modelling of sediment transfer and aggradation/degradation processes in torrents and mountain rivers. Morphology of mountain streams. Measuring techniques of bedload transport.

Hydraulics of mountain streams
Flow resistance in mountain streams and torrents.

Debris flows
Dynamics of flow behavior and deposition. Empirical approaches for hazard assessment.

Hazard assessment related to sediment transfer processes in mountain streams
Procedures for hazard assessment of sediment transporting flood events and debris flows. Sediment transfer processes during flood events in mountain catchments. Evaluation of protection measures against sediment disasters.


ETH Zürich, Switzerland: Management of Hillslope and Channel Processes (Master course)

Projects and supervision of PhD theses

Project "Evaluation of a sediment routing model in steep torrent channels" (Austrian Science Foundation, 2005 - 2008)

Project "Analysis of runout prediction methods for debris flows" (Austrian Science Foundation, 2006 - 2009)

Project "Long-term bedload monitoring" (supported by hydrologic experimental catchment research of WSL)

Project "Bedload transport and roughness of Alpine mountain streams" (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, 2007 - 2011)

Project "APUNCH - Hydrological extremes and sediment transport" (ETH
Competence Centre for Environment and  Sustainability, 2008 - 2012)

Project "Climate change effects on sediment delivery to hydropower sites" (canton of Valais, 2009 - 2011)

Project "Sediment transport in steep streams" (Swiss National Science Foundation, 2009 - 2011)

Project "SEDRIVER – Effects of climate change on mountain streams" (Swiss National Science Foundation, NRP 61 programme, 2010 - 2013)

Project “Sediment Transport in Mountain Streams during flood events” (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, 2011-2014)

Project “Sediment Transport Measurements with Geophone Sensors” (Swiss National Science Foundation, 2012-2015).

Selected publications

For the complete list of publications from 1992 onwards, see here

For electronic copies of papers you may send me an email with the paper title

Heimann, F.U.M., Rickenmann, D., Turowski, J.M. (2015): sedFlow – a tool for simulating fractional bedload transport and longitudinal profile evolution in mountain streams. Earth Surface Dynamics, 3, 15-34, doi:10.5194/esurf-3-15-2015.

Heimann, F.U.M., Rickenmann, D., Böckli, M., Badiux, A., Turowski, J.M., Kirchner, J.W. (2015): Calculation of bedload transport in Swiss mountain rivers using the model sedFlow: proof of concept. Earth Surface Dynamics, 3, 35–54, doi:10.5194/esurfd-3-35-2015.

Schneider, J.M., Turowski, J.M., Rickenmann, D., Hegglin, R., Arrigo, S., Mao, L., Kirchner, J.W. (2014): Scaling relationships between bed load volumes, transport distances, and stream power in steep mountain channels. Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface, 119, 533–549, doi:10.1002/2013JF002874.

Rickenmann, D., Turowski, J.M., Fritschi, B., Wyss, C., Laronne, J., Barzilai, R., Reid, I., Kreisler, A., Aigner, J., Seitz, H., Habersack, H. (2014): Bedload transport measurements with impact plate geophones: comparison of sensor calibration in different gravel-bed streams. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 39, 928–942, doi: 10.1002/esp.3499.

Rickenmann, D. (2014): Methoden zur quantitativen Beurteilung von Gerinneprozessen in Wildbächen. WSL Berichte, Nr. 9, 105p. (

Rickenmann, D. (2012): Alluvial steep channels: flow resistance, bedload transport and transition to debris flows. In “Gravel Bed Rivers: Processes, Tools, Environment”, edited by M. Church, P. Biron and A. Roy, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England, pp. 386-397.Nitsche, M., Rickenmann, D., Kirchner, J.W., Turowski, J.M., Badoux, A. (2012): Macro-roughness and variations in reach-averaged flow resistance in steep mountain streams, Water Resources Research, 48, W12518, doi: 10.1029/2012WR012091.

Rickenmann, D., Turowski, J.M., Fritschi, B., Klaiber, A., Ludwig, A. (2012): Bedload transport measurements at the Erlenbach stream with geophones and automated basket samplers, Earth Surf. Process. Landforms, 37, 1000-1011, doi: 10.1002/esp.3225.

Nitsche, M., Rickenmann, D., Turowski, J.M., Badoux, A., Kirchner, J.W. (2011): Evaluation of bedload transport predictions using flow resistance equations to account for macro-roughness in steep mountain streams. Water Resources Research, 47, W08513, doi:10.1029/2011WR010645.

Rickenmann, D., Recking, A. (2011): Evaluation of flow resistance equations using a large field data base. Water Resources Research. 47, W07538,doi:10.1029/2010WR009793.

Rickenmann, D., Koschni, A. (2010): Sediment loads due to fluvial transport and debris flows during the 2005 flood events in Switzerland. Hydrological Processes, 24: 993–1007. doi: 10.1002/hyp.7536.

Turowski, J.M., Yager, E.M., Badoux, A., Rickenmann, D., Molnar, P. (2009): The impact of exceptional events on erosion, bedload transport and channel stability in a step-pool channel, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34: 1661–1673. doi: 10.1002/esp.1855Rickenmann, D., McArdell, B.W. (2008): Calibration measurements with piezoelectric bedload impact sensors in the Pitzbach mountain stream. Geodinamica Acta, 21(1-2): 35-52.

Rickenmann, D., McArdell, B.W. (2007): Continuous measurement of sediment transport in the Erlenbach stream using piezoelectric bedload impact sensors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 32: 1362–1378.

Naef, D., Rickenmann, D., Rutschmann, P., McArdell, B.W. (2006): Comparison of flow resistance relations for debris flows using a one-dimensional finite element simulation model. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 6: 155-165. Rickenmann, D. (2005): Runout prediction methods. In: M. Jakob & O. Hungr (eds), Debris-Flow Hazards and Related Phenomena, pp. 263-282. Praxis-Springer, Heidelberg.

Rickenmann, D. (2001): Comparison of bed load transport in torrents and gravel bed streams. Water Resources Research, 37(12): 3295-3305.

Rickenmann, D. (1999): Empirical relationships for debris flows. Natural Hazards, 19: 47-77.