Research on climate issues at the University of Geneva

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The Climatic Change and Climate Impacts Research Group is the leading climate research team in French-speaking Switzerland and is headed by Professor Martin Beniston, who is also currently the Director of the Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva. The Group is affiliated with the University's Departments of Applied Physics (GAP) and of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Forel Institute).


NEW: From 2016-2019, the group has received funding of 1 Million Euros from the EU for its contribution, as academic partner, to the new Horizon-2020 ANYWHERE Project





While the signs of human influence on climate are becoming increasingly obvious, the problem today is not to know whether climate is warming, but at what speed it is changing. It is also essential to assess the natural, economic and social consequences of rapid change at global and regional geographic scales and to explore possible solutions that may help alleviate the more negative impacts of a changing climate. Of particular importance are the human, environmental and economic impacts triggered by extreme climate events and colateral effects such as slope instabilities in mountain regions or floods and droughts, for example. It is with these issues in mind that the Climate Group has been involved, for more than two decades, in a wide range of research activities that include in particular:

Assistance in decision-making for hazards-management and the social, environmental and economic impacts of severe events. This is the mandate of the European Horizon-2020 ANYWHERE project coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Catalunya (CRAHI-UPC ) in Barcelona, from 2016-2019, in which the climate research team is a partner.

The Planet Solar Deepwater Project was designed in the Summer of 2013 to use Planet Solar , the Swiss solar-powered boat that completed a round-the-world trip in 2012, to undertake high-tech measurements of biological, chemical and physical characteristics and water mass transistions in the vicinity of the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic Ocean. In particular, meso-scale oceanic features such as rotating vortices have distinct biogeochemical signatures that can influence climate, notably through differential emissions of aerosols into the atmosphere.

The estimation of climate trends at the European and Alpine scales, based on observational data, as a contribution to worldwide research on quantifying the speed and magnitude of climatic change.

The mathematical simulation of extreme events in a warming climate, using state-of-the-art regional climate models, developed in collaboration with UQAM , the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the Ouranos Consortium, also in Montreal.

Studies of climate impacts in order to better understand the role of a slowly changing average climate, and also short-lived extreme events, in the response of the natural and socio-economic environments to these state changes in the system.

Investigations of natural hazards triggered by climate, using experimental and numerical approaches (in collaboration with the DENDROLABat the University of Berne).

The study of shifts in water resources in glaciated mountain regions such as the Alps, the Andes, or Central Asia, and the impacts of these changes for a range of economic sectors. This was particularly the mandate of the European FP7 ACQWA project coordinated by Martin Beniston and Markus Stoffel from 2008-2014.

The use of drones for environmental observations. The purchase of a drone in 2015, equipped with special visible and thermal cameras, has opened up a new era of monitoring activities for the Climate Group.

The analysis of water regulation and governance approaches to help avert rivalries between sectors confronted with changing water availability

Simulations of non-linear climate processes, funded by the Swiss CADMOS Consortium (Center for Advanced Modeling Science), using high-performance computers.

Policy-guidance for Swiss authorities at the regional and federal levels based on state-of-the-art research results and knowledge.




Picture: Meeting of some of the Climate Group members and invited scienstists in December 2014 in Chardonne, Switzerland, in the presence of Special Guest, Claude Nicollier (Swiss Astronaut, immediately below the left-hand part of the video screen).

From left to right: Régis Briant (visiting scientist from Ecole Polytechnique, Paris); Juan Ballesteros Cánovas (Senior Scientist); Bastiaan Ibelings (Professor of aquatic microbiology, University of Geneva); Sébastien Guillet (PhD Student, University of Bern); Christian Vérard (research scientist, tectonics and climate); Claude Nicollier (Swiss Astronaut); Marjorie Perroud (Senior Scientist); Markus Stoffel (Professor); Martin Beniston (Professor and Group Leader); Maura Brunetti (Senior Scientist); Ludovic Gaudard (Post-Doctoral Scientist); Clara Rodriguez Morata (PhD Student); Virginia Ruiz Villanueva (Senior Scientist, University of Bern); Simon Allen (Senior Scientist); Charles-Antoine Kuszli (PhD Student). Photograph: © 2014 Martin Beniston.


You can also browse through the different topics that can be accessed via the menu on the left-hand-side of this page.

To contact any  team member (listed under "Research Team" in the menu):

  • University of Geneva
    Climatic Change and Climate Impacts Research Group
    Institute for Environmental Sciences
    Uni Carl Vogt
    Boulevard Carl-Vogt 66
    CH 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
  • Phone: +41 (0)22 379 07 99 - Fax: +41 (0)22 379 07 89
  • e-mail:


Secretariat: Ms Catherine Cornut / Phone +41 (0)22 379 07 97 / e-mail:




A paper by A. Sorg, T. Bolch, M. Stoffel, O. Solomina, and M. Beniston was published in the October 2012 edition of the journal. You can access this paper in pdf format on our Publications pages (Nr. 113 in the list)