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Prof. Dr. Manuela Brunner



Gruppenleiterin / Joint assi. professor


WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
Flüelastrasse 11
7260 Davos Dorf


Davos Da D 2 01


I am an assistant professor at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos. Before moving to Davos, I studied Geography and Climate Sciences at the University of Bern, obtained a PhD from the Universities of Zurich and Grenoble-Alpes, and did postdocs at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder Colorado. My research focuses on extreme climatic and hydrological events such as floods and droughts. I study the hydro-meteorological drivers of extreme events, develop methods for their prediction, and assess changes in the water cycle and extremes. My group at ETH and SLF quantifies the hazard potential and water availability in mountain regions under global change.


Research interests

  • Hydrology
  • Flood and drought frequency analysis
  • Prediction in ungauged basins
  • Spatial extremes
  • Stochastic simulation of extremes and streamflow time series
  • Climate change impact assessments on extremes and water resources
  • Human influence on extremes and water availability
  • Climate impacts in mountain regions

Curriculum Vitae

Academic positions

  • from 11/2022: Assistant professor, ETH Zurich and WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Hydrology & Climate Impacts, Davos, Switzerland
  • 03/2021 – 10/2022: Lecturer, University of Freiburg, Chair of Environmental Hydrological Systems, Freiburg, Germany
  • 08/2019 – 02/2021: PostDoc, Research Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research NCAR, Boulder CO, United States
  • 02/2018 – 07/2019: PostDoc, Group for Mass Movements and Mountain Hydrology, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 02/2015 – 01/2018: Research assistant, Geographical Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland


  • 02/2015 – 02/2018: PhD in Geography in a “co-tutelle”, University of Zurich, Department of Geography, Hydrology and Climate Group and Université Grenoble-Alpes, Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement (IGE)
    PhD Thesis: Catchment- and event-type specific synthetic design hydrographs for Swiss catchments
  • 09/2012 – 10/2014: Master of Science in Climate Sciences, University of Bern
    Master’s Thesis: Modelling the influence of the spatial and temporal precipitation distribution on the peak discharge of the Simme basin in the Berner Oberland
  • 09/2009 – 09/2012: Bachelor of Science in Geography, University of Bern
    Bachelor’s Thesis: Spectrocolorimetric analysis of lake sediments. Application on a core from Laguna Chica de Icalma (Chile)

Distinctions and awards

  • 06/2022: Outstanding Reviewer Award 2021: Geophysical Research Letters and Water Resources Research, American Geophysical Union
  • 11/2021: Hydrological Sciences Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award, European Geosciences Union
  • 06/2021: Outstanding Reviewer Award 2020: Water Resources Research, American Geophysical Union
  • 06/2018: Faculty award for the top 5% of PhD theses, University of Zurich


  • 09/2021 –: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, HESS
  • 01/2022 –: Water Resources Research, WRR