Riederalp 2019 Extremes Workshop


Please scroll down to view the following important information related to this meeting. You will find instructions for the hotel reservation, travelling by train and cable-car to Riederalp, and more...

You can access the preliminary program of the event by clicking here (updated Jan 16, 2019) 



RATIONALE FOR the Workshop

 The current and future course of extreme events in a changing climate is considered to be one of the 12 “Grand Challenges“ of climate research, as defined by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP/WMO) in its overview of research strategies to be encouraged for future years. While changes in the long-term mean state of climate will have many important consequences on numerous environmental, social, and economic sectors, the most significant impacts of climatic change will often be associated from shifts in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. Regions now safe from catastrophic wind storms, heat waves, droughts, and floods are increasingly becoming more vulnerable to these events and the associated damage costs would consequently be extremely high. While some of these damages can be attributed to shifts in the weather elements themselves, many of the costs are related to the fact that there is an increase in population pressure in regions that at risk. There is thus a need to undertake focused research to identify whether the intensity and/or the frequency of extremes has changed in recent decades, to determine possible cause-to-effect relationships between long-term climate trends and severe events. It is also important to disaggregate the climate and non-climatic factors (e.g., land-use change, urbanization), to address trends in extremes as climate continues to change in the course of the 21st century. There is therefore an urgent need to critically examine which mitigation, adaptation and geoengineering schemes could be implemented and at what cost.

 The type of knowledge generated by research in the natural sciences urgently needs to be taken up in a coherent manner by decision makers, capable of using the updated information and knowledge base on extreme climate events to formulate appropriate adaptation strategies aimed at reducing risks and associated human and economic costs. Extreme events have been seen to be extremely costly in human and economic terms, and there is much interest in assessing whether heat waves, floods, droughts, or wind-storms may increase in intensity and/or frequency in the future, according to different carbon emission and geoengineering pathways during the course of the 21st century. For example, some of the most optimistic scenarios in mitigating climate change implicitly include carbon dioxide removal (CDR) geoengineering but will increase pressures on land use for bioenergy production , and while solar radiation management (SRM) geoengineering schemes are currently hypothetical in nature, unjudicial deployment may themselves result in changes in extremes such as Sahelian drought, Atlantic hurricane frequency and intensity, and ecosystem vulnerability. Improved knowledge on the future course of these events should help to establish advance planning, through various forms of economic and technological adaptation, to help decouple as far as possible loss of life and economic costs from the probable rise in damaging extremes in a “greenhouse climate“. The Riederalp-2019 Workshop proposes considering not just the fundamental science only,  but the integration of elements of impacts and adaptation policies that could (or should) be progressively put into place in order to reduce climate-related risks and the costs of extreme events on vulnerable societies.

 Bringing together the “physical science” and the “adaptations” and “policy” communities will thus be an important and exciting element of the Workshop. Adaptation to extreme events and subsequent policies aimed at long-term implementation of adaptation strategies must manage and need to address both existing and increasing levels of uncertainty. This implies that a high level of knowledge on extreme events needs to be generated in order to reduce uncertainty, thus leading to more robust estimates of exactly what can be achieved in terms of adaptation, within what timeframe, and at what cost. This kind of policy guidance is ultimately what is required to curtail risks and impacts generated by climate extremes, and it is with some confidence that we believe that the planned workshop, through its interdisciplinary mix of researchers, will be able not only to address the key issues, but also provide some guidance as to applicable solutions.

 There are four main objectives to the proposed workshop:

1)       To bring together an interdisciplinary group of scientists to discuss on the latest research results on climate extreme events, and how improved dialog with policymakers may improve mitigation, adaptation and geoengineering strategies and thus substantially reduce the costs of climate-related hazards. An example of engineering and adaptation approaches could include quantifying risk of climate extremes for renewable energy generation. A non-exhaustive list of topics to be addressed include the following:

  1. Heat / Cold waves and related impacts
  2. Wet / Dry events and related impacts
  3. Extratropical windstorms and related impacts
  4. Extremes of precipitation in the tropics
  5. Process understanding for extreme events
  6. Links to adaptation, and mitigation strategies (incl. geoengineering)
  7. Statistical methods for climate extremes e.g. spatio-temporal modelling
  8. Communications with stakeholders and policy-makers

2)       To consider the possibility of publishing a set of papers presented at the workshop in a Special Issue of a leading interdisciplinary journal;

3)       To prepare a policy brief, designed to guide governments in planning for appropriate adaptation strategies to counter the negative impacts of climate extremes. The brief would need to target both the specific needs of specific countries, and the broader, trans-national entities such as the European Commission;

4)       A final objective of the workshop could also be to look into whether the participants of the Riederalp meeting would be interested in joining forces to prepare a project that could be submitted to a future call by the EU.

 The Workshop schedule is generally split into morning sessions, a free afternoon for outdoor activities such as skiing, and an early evening session before supper that can include presentations and discussion periods.



The venue: Riederalp, Canton of Valais, Switzerland

Riederalp is a small summer and winter village in the region of the largest glacier of the European Alps, the Aletsch Glacier; the region is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It lies on a south-facing slope with spectacular views to the high summits of the Alps on the other side of the Rhone Valley. It is one of about 14 Swiss resorts that are free of all road traffic. The village is located at close to 2,000 m altitude above sea level, and end March is usually still be a good time of the year for skiing (despite global warming!).


Traveling to Riederalp upon arrival in Switzerland

The resort is at equal distance (roughly three hours by train) from Geneva, Zurich and Milan (Malpensa) Airports. You can book your travel online within Switzerland using the Swiss Federal Railroads website, from your point of arrival in Switzerland (e.g., Geneva or Zurich Airports) to your destination, which is the arrival station of the Riederalp cable-car (“Riederalp Mitte”). The website is easy to use, so once you have typed in your departure station (e.g., Geneva Airport) and arrival station (“Riederalp Mitte”), you can select your ticket options. Please note that return tickets are only available for same-day travel in Switzerland! If you are using a travel agency to plan your trip, it is likely that the entire travel from your home to Riederalp may be booked simultaneously (this depends on the travel agency…).


Conference Hotel and Booking Instructions

The meeting will take place at the Art Furrer Resort Hotel, where a block of rooms has been set aside for the meeting. All meals, coffee breaks, plenary sessions and possible breakout meetings will take place in the hotel. Based on the 4 nights/4 days of the meeting, prices at the hotel range from CHF 850.- (shared double room) to CHF 990.- (single rooms), which include the room, half-board (breakfast and evening meal), taxes, and all coffee breaks. Furthermore, a registration fee of CHF 100.- will be charged for the full event, payable (cash only) upon arrival at the venue.

 Because this will be a full 3-day meeting, with an important final wrap-up session on the morning of Saturday, March 23, participants are expected to arrive in the afternoon or evening of Tuesday, March 19, 2019 and depart after noon on Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Please click here  to download the Hotel Reservation Form, and fill out the form to reserve your accommodation at the special conference rate. You can also highlight any dietary or other requirements you may have. As indicated on the form, please send no later than January 10, 2019, to reservation(at) . For those who may wish to extend their stay for skiing or sightseeing, this is of course possible, although nothing formal is being organized by the Workshop Program Committee. The Art Furrer Resort Hotel will be happy to provide some ideas for post-Workshop activities.



Preparing your oral presentation

Please note that because of the rather large number of participants in 2019, we have had to limit the time allocated to each talk to 15 minutes only. Please prepare for 12 minutes and 2-3 minutes for 1-2 brief questions). There will be plenty of time for discussions during the coffee breaks and also during the evening plenary sessions! As in previous years, a PC will be available for presentations in the meeting room, so please make sure to upload your talk from a USB stick well before the start of your session, in order to avoid delays between talks.

When preparing your oral presentation, please bear in mind that this time limit needs to be strictly adhered to if the meeting is to remain on schedule! Chairpersons will be asked to be firm with the speakers to make sure they keep to the allocated time.

Posters will be available for viewing throughout the duration of the meeting. Authors should endeavor to be close to their posters during the coffee breaks!

Whether you have an oral or poster presentation, please remember that the participants in Riederalp come from a wide range of backgrounds. It is therefore important to prepare your presentations with a clear definition of the terminology and acronyms that you use; illustrations should be clear, simple and legible (i.e., avoid “postage-stamp” size graphs or tables that no one can read from the back of the room!); and explain clearly the data and methods used in the research that you will present.


Registering for the Meeting and Abstract Preparation Form

We are fully booked - registration for the Riederalp 2019 workshop is therefore closed. Final details, including a definite Workshop Program, will be available on this website by end-January, 2019. Please visit again in fall 2019 for the Riederalp 2020 workshop.







Prof. Martin Beniston, University of Geneva:           Martin.Beniston(at)

Prof. Markus Stoffel, University of Geneva:               Markus.Stoffel(at)

Prof. David Stephenson, University of Exeter:          D.B.Stephenson(at)

Prof. James Haywood, University of Exeter:              J.M.Haywood(at)