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Hydrological Forecasts

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Head: Dr. Massimiliano Zappa

The research group «Hydrological Forecasts» investigates the spatio-temporal distribution and variability of the available natural water resources in mountainous basins and in larger alpine river systems.

A particular focus will be put on the analysis of extreme situations such as floods and persisting droughts. This is achieved by both analysis of previous events (e.g. the flood of August 2005 in Switzerland) and investigations with simulations and statistical evaluation of long term data series.

The group develops models and operational system for flood warning in gauges and ungauged basins. Thereby we try to improve the quality of hydrological forecasts by assimilation of updated observations (e.g. snow cover maps and runoff volumes).

Furthermore distributed hydrological simulations are adopted for estimating possible hydrological impacts of climate change.

In addition WSL updates since more than 40 years a database containing a detailed description of the major damages triggered by hydrological hazards. These records could represent an important source of information for the assessment of hydrology related hazards maps.

The Research Group contributes to studies to optimize the prediction of snow and water resources for hydro-power plants.