Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2015

MAS in Sustainable Water Resources Information
The Master of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Water Resources is a 12 month full time postgraduate diploma programme. The focus of the programme is on issues of sustainability and water resources in Latin America, with special attention given to the impacts of development and climate change on water resources. The programme combines multidisciplinary coursework with high level research. Sample research topics include: water quality, water quantity, water for agriculture, water for the environment, adaptation to climate change, and integrated water resource management. Language: English. Credit hours: 66 ECTS.
For further information please visit:
Compulsory Courses
118-0111-00LSustainability and Water Resources Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 17.

Suitable for MSc and PhD students.
Automatic admittance is given to students of MAS Sustainable Water Resources. All other registrations accepted until capacity is reached.
O3 credits2GP. Burlando, P. Molnar
AbstractThe block course on Sustainability and Water Resources features invited experts from a wide range of disciplines, who present their experiences working with sustainability issues related to water resources. The students are exposed to a wide range of perspectives, and learn how to critically evaluate sustainability issues with respect to water resources management.
ObjectiveThe course provides the students with background information on sustainability in relation to water resources within an international and multidisciplinary framework. The lectures challenge the students to consider sustainability and the importance of water availability and water scarcity in a changing world, at the same time preparing them to face the challenges of the future, e.g. climate and land use change, increased water use and population growth.
ContentThe course offers the students the opportunity to learn about sustainability and water resources in a multi-disciplinary fashion, with a focus on international examples. Selected topics include: Sustainable Water Policies, Sustainability and Ecosystems, Integrated and Participatory Resources Management, and Water Governance. For more information, please visit
Prerequisites / NoticeFor further information, contact the MAS coordinator, Darcy Molnar (
118-0112-00LParticipatory and Integrated Water Resources Planning Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 20.
The course is primarily dedicated to the students of the MAS in Sustainable Water Resources. The free places are assigned following the date of application.

The course is complementary to "Water Resources Management" (102-0488-00L).
O3 credits2VA. Castelletti
AbstractThe course develops basic knowledge and skills for modelling, planning and managing water resources systems in a balanced and sustainable way. The emphasis will be on the operational aspects of water management, including: introduction to participatory decision-making, modelling of the multiple stakes and socio-economic processes, introduction to dynamic and stochastic optimization approaches.
ObjectiveThe course aims at illustrating the complex framework of participatory approach in the field of water resources projects, with particular focus on the modelling of the quantitative aspects of the combined dynamics of the physical and socio-economic processes.
ContentLec 00. Course introduction. The world water resources. Water crisis and the concept of Participatory and Integrated Water Resources Management (PIWRM). Water trading.

Lec 01. Rationalizing the decision-making process. From traditional water resources planning and management to PIWRM: rationalizing and supporting the decision-making process. The need for negotiations. Negotiation game.
Outline of the Participatory and Integrated Planning procedure proposed as a guidance to the decision-making process using a real world case study.

Lec 02. Cloosing the loop: how to plan the management. How to incorporate recurrent management decisions into a rational decision-making framework. From model based decision-making to decision support systems. Full-rationality and partial-rationality. Underlying example the Zambezi river system.

Lec 03. Actions and evaluation criteria. Identification of the actions suitable to pursue the overall objective of the planning exercise. Type of actions and associated property. Embedding actions into models. Stakeholders, sectors and evaluation criteria: how stakeholders evaluate the planning alternatives. Criterion hierarchy and indicators: operationalize evaluation criteria.

Lec 04. Criteria and indicators. Example of indicators. Validation of the indicators against the stakeholders. Numerical exercise. Underlying examples from Red River System (Vietnam), Tono dam (Japan), Googong reservoir (Australia), Lake Maggiore and Lake Como (Italy).

Lec 05. Re-operating the Kafue reservoir system. Real world case study developed interactively with the students, to experience all the concepts provided in the previous lectures. Reading material will be assigned on 22.3

Lec 06. Models of a water system. The system analysis perspective on water resources modelling. Example of models of water system components (reservoir, diversion dam, rivers, users). Implications of cooperation and information sharing on the model formulation. Operational implications of model complexity. Case studies.

Lec 07. Formulation of the planning/management problem. Why we need it. What do we need to formulate the problem: from the indicators to the objectives; time horizon; scenarios. Dealing with uncertainty. Problem formulation and classification. How do modelling choices affect the final solution (hidden subjectivity).

Lec 08. Water resources optimal planning. The planning of water resources. Examples from real world problems at different scales (e.g. Egypt Water plan; Controlling salt intrusion in Nauru (Pacific Island); planning water quality remediation interventions in lakes and reservoirs (Googong reservoir, Australia)). Interactive lectures with students. Overview of the different approaches available to resolve the problem, from exact solution to heuristic.

Lec 09. Planning the New Valley water system in Egypt. Real world case study developed interactively with the student, to experience all the concepts provided in the previous lectures.

Lec 10. Planning in non stationary conditions: the Red River (Vietnam). Real world case study developed interactively with the student, to experience all the concepts provided in the previous lectures.
Lecture notesCourse lectures are almost fully covered by the following two textbooks accordingly to the indications provided at the end of each lecture:

R. Soncini-Sessa, A. Castelletti, and E. Weber, 2007. Integrated and participatory water resources management. Theory. Elsevier, The Netherlands.

R. Soncini-Sessa, F. Cellina, F. Pianosi, and E. Weber, 2007. Integrated and participatory water resources management. Practice. Elsevier, The Netherlands.
LiteratureAdditional readings:
S.P. Simonovic, 2009. Managing water resources: Methods and tools for a systems approach, Earthscan, London.
D.P. Loucks, E. van Beek, 2005. Water Resources Systems Planning and Management: An Introduction to Methods, Models and Applications, UNESCO, Paris.
K.D.W. Nandalal, J. Bogardi, 2007. Dynamic Programming Based Operation of Reservoirs, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Prerequisites / NoticeLecture notes, slides and other material will be posted on the course web page the day before each lecture.
102-0218-00LProcess Engineering II (Physical-Chemical Processes) Information O6 credits4GE. Morgenroth, K. M. Udert
AbstractDescription and design of physical, chemical and biological processes and process combinations in drinking water and wastewater treatment.
ObjectiveUnderstanding of critical water quality parameters in water resources and wastewater and process engineering knowledge for the removal of drinking water and environmental hazards. The aims of the lecture are basic understanding of mainly physico-chemical water treatment processes, design and modeling tools of single processes and process combinations.
ContentThe following prcesses and process combination will be discussed in detail:
Gas transfer
Particle characterization
Membrane processes
Precipitation processes
Chemical oxidation and disinfection
Ion exchange
Activated carbon adsorption
Process combinations wastewater
Removal of nitrogen
Removal of micropollutants
Process combinations potable water
LiteratureM&E: Tchobanoglous, G., Stensel, H.D., Tsuchihashi, R. and Burton, F.L., 2013. Wastewater engineering: treatment and resource recovery. 5th edition. Volume 1 & 2. New York, McGraw-Hill.
MWH: Crittenden, J.C., Trussel, R.R., Hand, D.W., Howe, K., Tchobanoglous, G., 2012. MWH's water treatment principles and design, 3rd edition. ed. Wiley, Hoboken, N.J.
Prerequisites / NoticePre-condition: Lecture Process Engineering I
102-0248-00LInfrastructure Systems in Urban Water Management Information
Prerequisites: 102-0214-02L Urban Water Management I and 102-0215-00L Urban Water Management II.
O3 credits2GM. Maurer
AbstractIn the environmental engineering practice an increasing demand for infrastructure management skills can be observed. This course gives an introductory overview of infrastructure management skills needed for urban water infrastructures, with a specific focus on pipe deterioration and engineering economics.
ObjectiveAfter successfully finished the class, the participants will have the following skills and knowledge:
- They can perform basic engineering economic analysis
- Knows the typical value and costs involved with running a wastewater infrastructure
- Knows the key principles of infrastructure management
- Knows how to quantify the future rehabilitation demand
ContentThe nationwide coverage of water distribution and wastewater treatment is one of the major public works achievements in Switzerland and other countries. Annually and per person, 135'000 kg drinking water is produced and distributed and over 535'000 kg rain- and wastewater is drained. These impressive services are done with a pipe network of almost 200'000 km with an total replacement value of 30'000 CHF per capita.
The water services in Switzerland are moving from a phase of new constructions into one of maintenance and optimization. The aim today must be to ensure that existing infrastructure is professionally maintained, to reduce costs and to ensure the implementation of modern, improved technologies and approaches. These challenging tasks call for sound expertise and professional management.
This course gives an introduction into basic principles of water infrastructure management. The focus is primarily Switzerland, but most methods and conclusions are valid for many other countries.
Lecture notesThe script 'Engineering Economics for Public Water Utilities' can be downloaded on the lecture website:
LiteratureSee the reading resources on the lecture website:
Prerequisites / NoticeLecture website:
102-0448-00LGroundwater IIO6 credits4GM. Willmann
AbstractThe course is based on the course 'Groundwater I' and is a prerequisite for further applications of groundwater flow and contaminant transport models.
ObjectiveThe course should enable students to understand and apply methods and tools for groundwater flow and transport modelling.

the student should be able to
a) formulate practical flow and contaminant transport problems.

b) solve steady-state and transient flow and transport problems in 2 and 3 spatial dimensions using numerical codes based on the finite difference method and the finite element methods.

c) solve simple inverse flow problems for parameter estimation given measurements.

d) assess simple multiphase flow problems.

e) assess spatial variability of parameters and use of stochastic techniques in this task.

f) solve simple flow problems affected by fluid density.

g) assess simple coupled reactive transport problems.
ContentIntroduction and basic flow and contaminant transport equation.

Numerical solution of the 3D flow equation using the finite difference method.

Numerical solution to the flow equation using the finite element equation

Numerical solution to the transport equation using the finite difference method.

Numerical solution to the transport equation using the method of characteristics and the random walk method.

Numerical solution to the transport equation: Case studies.

Two-phase flow and Unsaturated flow problems.

Modelling of flow problems affected by fluid density.

Spatial variability of parameters and its geostatistical representation.

Geostatistics and stochastic modelling.

Reactive transport modelling.
Lecture notesHandouts
Literature- J. Bear, Hydraulics of Groundwater, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1979
- P.A. Domenico, F.W. Schwartz, Physical and Chemical Hydrogeology, J. Wilson & Sons, New York, 1990

- Chiang und Kinzelbach, 3-D Groundwater Modeling with PMWIN. Springer, 2001.

- G. de Marsily, Quantitative Hydrogeology, Academic Press, 1986

- W. Kinzelbach und R. Rausch: Grundwassermodellierung, Eine Einführung mit Uebungen Gebrüder Bornträger, Berlin, 1995, ISBN 3-443-01032-6

- F. Stauffer: Strömungsprozesse im Grundwasser, Konzepte und Modelle vdf, 1998, ISBN 3-7281-2641-1
Prerequisites / NoticeThe exercises of the course are organized as a computer lab (one lesson per week). The computer lab will provide hands-on experience with groundwater modelling.
102-0468-00LWatershed Modelling Information O3 credits2GP. Molnar
AbstractIntroduction to watershed modelling with applications of GIS in hydrology, the use of semi- and fully-distributed continuous watershed models, and their calibration and validation. The course contains substantive practical modelling experience in several assignments.
ObjectiveWatershed Modelling is a course in the Master of Science in Environmental Engineering Programme. It is a practical course in which the students learn to (a) use GIS in hydrological applications, (b) calibrate and validate models, (c) apply and interpret semi- and fully- distributed continuous watershed models, and (d) discuss several modelling case studies. This course is a follow up of Hydrology 2 and requires solid computer skills.
Content- Introduction to watershed modelling
- GIS in watershed modelling (ArcGIS exercise)
- Calibration and validation of models
- Semi-distributed modelling with PRMS (model description, application)
- Distributed watershed modelling with TOPKAPI (model description, application)
- Modelling applications and case studies (climate change scenarios, land use change, basin erosion)
Literature- Lecture presentations
- Exercise documentation
- Relevant scientific papers
all posted on the course website
102-0488-00LWater Resources ManagementO3 credits2GP. Burlando
AbstractModern engineering approach to problems of sustainable water resources, planning and management of water allocation requires the understanding of modelling techniques that allow to account for comprehensive water uses (thereby including ecological needs) and stakeholders needs, long-term analysis and optimization. The course presents the most relevant approaches to address these problems.
ObjectiveThe course provides the essential knowledge and tools of water resources planning and management. Core of the course are the concepts of data analysis, simulation, optimization and reliability assessment in relation to water projects and sustainable water resources management.
ContentThe course is organized in four parts.
Part 1 is a general introduction to the purposes and aims of sustainable water resources management, problem understanding and tools identification.
Part 2 recalls Time Series Analysis and Linear Stochastic Models. An introduction to Nonlinear Time Series Analysis and related techniques will then be made in order to broaden the vision of how determinism and stochasticity might sign hydrological and geophysical variables.
Part 3 deals with the optimal allocation of water resources and introduces to several tools traditionally used in WRM, such as linear and dynamic programming. Special attention will be devoted to optimization (deterministic and stochastic) and compared to simulation techniques as design methods for allocation of water resources in complex and competitive systems, with focus on sustainability and stakeholders needs.
Part 4 will introduce to basic indexes used in economical and reliability analyses, and will focus on multicriteria analysis methods as a tool to assess the reliability of water systems in relation to design alternatives.
Lecture notesA copy of the lecture handouts will be available on the webpage of the course. Complementary documentation in the form of scientific and technical articles, as well as excerpts from books will be also made available.
LiteratureA number of book chapters and paper articles will be listed and suggested to read. They will also be part of discussion during the oral examination.
Prerequisites / NoticeSuggested relevant courses: Hydrologie I (or a similar content course) and Wasserhaushalt (Teil "Wasserwirtschaft", 4. Sem. UmweltIng., or a similar content course) for those students not belonging to Environmental Engineering.
102-0838-00LEnvironmental Sanitation Planning and Infrastructure in Developing CountriesO2 credits2GC. Zurbrügg
AbstractIntroduction to issues of water supply, excreta, wastewater and solid waste disposal in developing countries with a focus on urban areas. Connections between these processes and health, resource conservation as well as environmental protection. New concepts and planning approaches that aim at preventing disease as well as protecting and conserving resources.
ObjectiveStudents receive an introduction to issues of water supply, excreta, waste water and solid waste disposal in developing countries. They understand the connections between waste disposal, health, resource conservation and environmental protection. Besides, they learn how water supply, wastewater and solid waste disposal and urban agriculture can be combined, in order to achieve the development policy goals in terms of disease prevention, resource conservation, and environmental protection.
ContentOverview of the health situation, water supply, and liquid and solid waste disposal in developing countries. Sector development policy of Switzerland and multilateral agencies. Technical and scientific fundamentals of water supply, sanitation and solid waste management. Material flows in water supply, waste disposal and urban agriculture. New concepts and approaches for sustainable sanitation services in developing countries - especially poor urban areas.
Lecture notesCourse notes and further reading will be mada available on the ETHZ Moodle portal, all students will receive a Moodle password during the 1st lecture.
LiteratureThe selected literature references will be made available on Moodle.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course includes 2 exercises on selected subjects.
651-4080-00LFluvial Sedimentology
Does not take place this semester.
O2 credits2G
AbstractUnderstanding the relationship between sediment transport, sediment sorting and sedimentary structures in coarse fluvial deposts.
ObjectiveDescription of coarse fluvial sediments, to understand the sedimentary processes of braided river systems, to get familiar with modeling concepts of braided river systems and sediment sorting processes, description and comparison of modern river sediments (systems) and ancient systems, discussion of applied aspects of fluvial sedimentology
Audiance: Students in Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Geography
Content- Advanced methods for the description of fluvial sediments of coarse fluvial systems, including geophysical methods
- Facies analysis and interpretation, description of sediment sorting, textures and structures of coarse fluvial systems
- Understanding sediment sorting and sediment transport processes of coarse gravelly rivers (the role of turbulence)
- Recognition of the relation between surface morphology (earth surface) and geological structures to recognize in outcrops or along cliffs
- Influence of preservation potential of sedimentary units in dynamic environments
- Landscape shaping processes
- Applied fluvial sedimentology
- recent developments in investigation methods
Lecture notesScript will be provided during semester (Text, Appendix, Figures)
LiteratureCalow, P. and Petts, G., 1995, The Rivers Handbook: Hydrological and Ecological Principles, Volume I and II
Miall, A. D., 1985, The Geology of Fluvial Deposits, Sedimentary Facies Analysis, Basin Analysis, and Petroleum Geology
Chiang, H. H. 1992, Fluvial Processes in River Engineering
Best, J. L. and Bristow, C. S., 1993, Braided Rivers, Geological Society Special Publication, No 75.
Clifford, N. J. et al. 1993, Turbulence, Perspectives on Flow and Sediment Transport, Wiley, 360 p.
- futher references will be given during the course
Clifford, N. J. and French, J. R. and Hardisty, J., 1993, Turbulence, Perspectives on Flow and Sediment Transport
Bridge, John S., 2003, Rivers and Floodplains; Forms, Processes and Sedimentary Record
Prerequisites / NoticeStudy of selected papers related to the course
Requirements: Basic courses in Earth Sciences

Working Excursions as important topic of the course
101-0278-00LFlood ProtectionW3 credits2GR. Boes, H. P. Willi
AbstractConcepts and structural measures to prevent or mitigate flood damage, planning methods to implement projects in practice
ObjectiveTo get to know processes leading to flood damage, the different concepts and structural measures allowing to prevent or mitigate flood damage, as well as promising practical planning methods to implement flood protection measures in practice.
ContentExplanation of relevant processes: flooding, aggradation, sedimentations, erosion, debris flows.
Concept of different objectives of protection for various land uses (from rural areas to industrial regions).
General possibilities of flood protection / control.
Land use planning on the basis of hazard zones.
Classical procedures against flood damage with the use of examples such as increase of flow capacity, release structures, flood detention basins, polder.
Property protection as continuative measure.
Considering of overload case, Emergency procedures.
Damage determination and risk analysis.
Management of residual risk.
Conflict of objective during implementation of procedures.
Situatively adjusted approach.
Case studies (group work).
Field trip.
Lecture notes(no script is available for this lecture)
LiteratureGuidelines of Swiss federal administration (especially Federal Office for the Environment, FOEN)
651-1504-00LSnowcover: Physics and Modelling Information W4 credits3GM.  Schneebeli, H. Löwe
AbstractSnow is a fascinating high-temperature material and relevant for applications in glaciology, hydrology, atmospheric sciences, polar climatology, remote sensing and natural hazards. This course introduces key concepts and underlying physical principles of snow, ranging from individual crystals to polar ice sheets.
ObjectiveThe course aims at a cross-disciplinary overview about the phenomenology of relevant processes in the snow cover, traditional and advanced experimental methods for snow measurements and theoretical foundations with key equations required for snow modeling.
ContentTopics include: snow formation, crystal growth, snow microstructure, metamorphism, ice physics, snow mechanics, heat and mass transport in the snowcover, surface energy balance, snow models, wind transport, snow chemistry, electromagnetic properties, experimental techniques.
Lecture notesLecture notes and selected publications.
Prerequisites / NoticeWe offer a voluntary field excursion to Davos on Saturday, 14 March 2015 (if there is sufficient interest). During the excursion the students will conduct snow measurements by themselves in the field and visit the cold laboratories at SLF, Davos.
651-1506-00LThe High-Mountain Cryosphere: Processes and Risks (University of Zurich)
No enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH.
UZH Module Code: GEO856

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
W3 credits2GUniversity lecturers
AbstractPart I: Hazards in glacierized high-mountain regions
Hazard assessments in cold high-mountain areas with respect to glaciers and permafrost.

Part II: Paleoglaciology
Ice-related aspects of the recent earth and climate history (Ice Age, Holocene, 20. century): reconstruction/modeling of past glaciers/ice sheets and interpretation of information from ice cores.
ObjectivePart I: Hazards in glacierized high-mountain regions
Knowledge about integrative hazard assessment techniques in high-mountain areas under conditions of climate change.

Part II: Paleoglaciology
Understanding of the role of glaciers and ice sheets in the climate system through time since the last Ice Age; knowledge of corresponding reconstruction techniques and of the glaciological basis for ice core interpretation.
ContentPart I: Natural hazards in glacierised mountain regions
- Introduction and instruction e-learning, Hazard/risk concepts
- Introduction to Part II, Paleoglaciology
- e-learning glacier floods and ice avalanches
- Comments on glacier floods, Comments on ice avalanches, climate-induced glacier changes
- Recent case studies
- Application of remote sensing, Principles and applications of numerical mass movement models
- Glacier-clad volcanoes
- Feedbacks on exercises and test

Part II: Paleoglaciology
2-day block course (Friday and Saturday)
Including written test on Paleoglaciology, Subjects include:
- Former glaciers/ice sheets: outlines and geometry
- Former glaciers/ice sheets: flow, mass turnover, temperature, etc.
- Former glaciers/ice sheets: changes in time
- Ice cores: archive (embedding) characteristics
- Ice cores: Information carriers, polar und alpine examples
- Nuclear waste disposal and ice ages, climate change and sea level
Lecture notesPaleoglaciology (about 100p.)
Hazards in glacierized high-mountain regions (about 100p.)

available at the Geography Department, University of Zurich
Literaturerich reference list in lecture notes
Prerequisites / NoticePrecondition
- Getscher und Permafrost (651-4073-00)
651-4095-01LColloquium Atmosphere and Climate 1 Information W1 credit1KU. Lohmann, E. M. Fischer, N. Gruber, R. Knutti, T. Peter, C. Schär, S. I. Seneviratne, H. Wernli, M. Wild
AbstractThe colloquium is a series of scientific talks by prominent invited speakers assembling interested students and researchers from around Zürich. Students take part of the scientific discussions.
ObjectiveThe colloquium is a series of scientific talks by prominent invited speakers assembling interested students and researchers from around Zürich. Students take part of the scientific discussions.
Prerequisites / NoticeTo acquire credit points for this colloquium, please visit the course's web page and sign up for one of the groups.
651-4095-02LColloquium Atmosphere and Climate 2 Information W1 credit1KU. Lohmann, E. M. Fischer, N. Gruber, R. Knutti, T. Peter, C. Schär, S. I. Seneviratne, H. Wernli, M. Wild
AbstractThe colloquium is a series of scientific talks by prominent invited speakers assembling interested students and researchers from around Zürich. Students take part of the scientific discussions.
ObjectiveThe colloquium is a series of scientific talks by prominent invited speakers assembling interested students and researchers from around Zürich. Students take part of the scientific discussions.
Prerequisites / NoticeTo acquire credit points for this colloquium, please visit the course's web page and sign up for one of the groups.
651-4095-03LColloquium Atmosphere and Climate 3W1 credit1KU. Lohmann, E. M. Fischer, N. Gruber, R. Knutti, T. Peter, C. Schär, S. I. Seneviratne, H. Wernli, M. Wild
AbstractThe colloquium is a series of scientific talks by prominent invited speakers assembling interested students and researchers from around Zürich. Students take part of the scientific discussions.
ObjectiveThe colloquium is a series of scientific talks by prominent invited speakers assembling interested students and researchers from around Zürich. Students take part of the scientific discussions.
Prerequisites / NoticeTo acquire credit points for this colloquium, please visit the course's web page and sign up for one of the groups.
701-0462-01LThe Science and Politics of International Water Management Restricted registration - show details
Does not take place this semester.
W4 credits2SB. Wehrli, T. Bernauer
AbstractThis research seminar focuses on water management issues that extend beyond national boundaries, i.e. are international. In the spring semester of 2013 the seminar will concentrate on the Zambezi River Basin (ZRB), one of the largest international river basins in Africa and worldwide.
ObjectiveAcquire skills for analyzing challenges associated with integrated water resources management in an international setting.
ContentThe seminar will begin by providing background on global water resources, challenges associated with managing these resources, and environmental and socio-economic assessment of management strategies.
Students, acting as science-based consultants competing for the opportunity to serve as technical advisors to ZRB stakeholders, will then work in teams to develop integrated water management strategies for the ZRB. This work will address important management issues on which the ZRBs riparian countries are currently focusing, for example:
how to define water demand scenarios; how do model water allocation options, how and where to expand agriculture and irrigation; and selecting among proposed new dams to optimally meet growing hydropower demands while minimizing social and ecological impacts.
In mid-May 2013, each team will submit a 5-page report. On the final day of the seminar (~1 week later), teams will give short presentations explaining their proposed solutions (15 minutes + 10 minutes discussion).

Dates, times, and course structure:
Class meetings: initials meetings on four Friday afternoons (3-5pm each, 22 Feb., 1 March, 8 March, or 15 March); independent group work during ~6 weeks, with a mid-term meeting on 19 April, also 3-5pm); final meeting on 24 May, 3 - 6pm.
LiteratureThe participants will receive all teaching materials in electronic form once the seminar begins.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis research seminar takes place once a year, in the spring semester. Students successfully completing the seminar will obtain 4 ECTS credit points. The seminar is open to post-BSc/post-BA students, that is, those currently enrolled in an MSc, MA, or PhD program of ETH Zurich. Students from other universities, including exchange/guest students, should contact the faculty members teaching this seminar to obtain access.

For questions or to register: please contact Lauren Adams at
701-1226-00LInter-Annual Phenomena and Their Prediction
Does not take place this semester.
W2 credits2GC. Appenzeller
AbstractThis course gives an overview of the current ability to understand and predict short term climate variability in the tropical and extra tropical region.
ObjectiveStudents will acquire an understanding of the key processes involved and will acquire expertise in analyzing and predicting short-term climate variability.
ContentThe course covers following topics: A brief review of the relevant components of the climate system, the statistical concepts used in climate analysis studies (e.g. correlation analysis, teleconnection maps, EOF analysis), the role of ocean-atmosphere feedback processes in intra- and interseasonal climate variability in the tropical region (e.g. ENSO, MJO) and in the extra-tropical region (e.g. Blocking, NAO, PNA), the concepts of weather and climate regimes, different prediction methods for short term climate variability (statistical methods, ensemble prediction methods, coupled ocean atmosphere models), probabilistic verification methods, predictability studies, examples of end user applications (e.g. seasonal forecasts) and the role of inter-annual and decadal climate variability in the current climate change debate.
Lecture notesA pdf version of the slides shown will be provided.
LiteratureReferences are given during the lecture.
701-1232-00LRadiation and Climate ChangeW3 credits2GM. Wild
AbstractThis lecture focuses on the prominent role of radiation in the energy balance of the Earth and in the context of past and future climate change.
ObjectiveThe aim of this course is to develop a thorough understanding of the fundamental role of radiation in the context of climate change.
ContentThe course will cover the following topics:
Basic radiation laws; sun-earth relations; the sun as driver of climate change (faint sun paradox, Milankovic ice age theory, solar cycles); radiative forcings in the atmosphere: aerosol, water vapour, clouds; radiation balance of the Earth (satellite and surface observations, modeling approaches); anthropogenic perturbation of the Earth radiation balance: greenhouse gases and enhanced greenhouse effect, air pollution and global dimming; radiation-induced feedbacks in the climate system (water vapour feedback, snow albedo feedback); climate model scenarios under various radiative forcings.
Lecture notesSlides will be made available, lecture notes for part of the course
LiteratureAs announced in the course
701-1252-00LClimate Change Uncertainty and Risk: From Probabilistic Forecasts to Economics of Climate AdaptationW3 credits2V + 1UR. Knutti, D. N. Bresch
AbstractThe course introduces the concepts of predictability, probability, uncertainty and probabilistic risk modelling and their application to climate modeling and the economics of climate adaptation.
ObjectiveStudents will acquire knowledge in uncertainty and risk quantification (probabilistic modelling) and an understanding of the economics of climate adaptation. They will become able to construct their own uncertainty and risk assessment models (MATLAB), hence basic understanding of scientific programming forms a prerequisite of the course.
ContentThe first part of the course covers methods to quantify uncertainty in detecting and attributing human influence on climate change and to generate probabilistic climate change projections on global to regional scales. Model evaluation, calibration and structural error are discussed. In the second part, quantification of risks associated with local climate impacts and the economics of different baskets of climate adaptation options are assessed – leading to informed decisions to optimally allocate resources. Such pre-emptive risk management allows evaluating a mix of prevention, preparation, response, recovery, and (financial) risk transfer actions, resulting in an optimal balance of public and private contributions to risk management, aiming at a more resilient society.
The course provides an introduction to the following themes:
1) basics of probabilistic modelling and quantification of uncertainty from global climate change to local impacts of extreme events
2) methods to optimize and constrain model parameters using observations
3) risk management from identification (perception) and understanding (assessment, modelling) to actions (prevention, preparation, response, recovery, risk transfer)
4) basics of economic evaluation, economic decision making in the presence of climate risks and pre-emptive risk management to optimally allocate resources
Lecture notesPowerpoint slides will be made available
Prerequisites / NoticeHands-on experience with probabilistic climate models and risk models will be acquired in the tutorials; hence basic understanding of scientific programming forms a prerequisite of the course. Basic understanding of the climate system, e.g. as covered in the course 'Klimasysteme' is required.

Examination: graded tutorials during the semester (benotete Semesterleistung)
701-1260-00LClimatological and Hydrological Field Work Information Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants limited to 30.
W2.5 credits5PL. Gudmundsson, D. Michel, H. Mittelbach
AbstractPractical work using selected measurement techniques in meteorology and hydrology. The course consists of field work with different measuring systems to determine turbulence, radiation, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, discharge and the atmospheric state as well as of data analysis.
ObjectiveLearning of elementary concepts and practical experience with meteorological and hydrological measuring systems as well as data analysis.
ContentPractical work using selected measurement techniques in meteorology and hydrology. The course consists of field work with different measuring systems to determine turbulence, radiation, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, discharge and the atmospheric state as well as of data analysis.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course takes place in the hydrological research catchment Rietholzbach (field work) and at ETH (data analysis) as a block course.
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