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Department of Geography Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics


News list

  • Sensor zur Messung der Felstemperatur an der Oberfläche am Piz Corvatsch im Engadin auf 3300 m ü. M. Bild: Matthias Lichtenegger

    Keine Erholung für den Permafrost in der Schweiz

    Nach zwei Jahren mit wenig Schnee und sehr heissen Sommern bleibt der Permafrost in der Schweiz im Herbst 2023 warm und der Eisgehalt des Bodens nahm vielerorts weiter ab. Die Blockgletscher bewegten sich zudem schnell talwärts. Dies geht aus den neuesten Messungen des Schweizer Permafrost-Messnetzes hervor.

  • IceAgeCam

    Auf der Felsenegg Eiszeiten und Klimawandel erleben

    Die neue Installation «IceAgeCam» auf der Felsenegg demonstriert eindrücklich den menschlichen Einfluss auf den Klimawandel. Sie lädt Besucher:innen dazu ein, eiszeitliche Landschaften und die damit verbundenen Veränderungen interaktiv zu erleben.

  • GreenFjord © Ethan Welty

    Greenland, on the edge of a melting world

    In Greenland, climate change has far-reaching consequences for glaciers, vegetation, biodiversity and especially for the population. Two journalists accompanied researchers from the interdisciplinary GreenFjord project to the front of the Qajuttap glacier, among other places. Glaciologists from the GIUZ are investigating the calving of the glacier there.

  • Cover photo: GIUZ staff members Diego Wasser, Gabriele Bramati and Andreas Linsbauer below the tongue of the Findel Glacier (VS). The recession of the glacier has uncovered a large valley consisting of glacial debris and dead ice. (Photo: M. Huss)

    Two catastrophic years obliterate 10% of Swiss glacier volume

    One extreme year follows another. Glaciers in Switzerland lost 6% of their volume in 2022. However, 2023 saw 4% destroyed, representing the second largest decline since measurements began. The Swiss Commission for Cryosphere Observation of the Swiss Academy of Sciences reported that a total of 10% of the ice volume disappeared in only two years.

  • Green Fjord (Image: Ethan Welty)

    Greenlandic fjord ecosystems in a changing climate: Socio-cultural and environmental interactions

    Within the cryosphere cluster of the GreenFjord project, GIUZ researchers investigate processes of glacier calving and iceberg export, as well as the resulting hydro-dynamics and nutrient fluxes in the fjord.

  • Klimaflucht

    Fleeing climate disasters

    Climate change is expected to become one of the main reasons for migration in the future. And the poorest will be hit hardest. Christian Huggel and Maria J. Santos analyze which regions are particularly under threat and how to best manage mass relocations.

  • Veruska Muccione

    «Wir wiegen uns in falscher Sicherheit»

    Veruska Muccione, Klima­wissen­schaftlerin an der UZH und Leit­autorin des sechsten UNO-Klima­berichts, spricht über die Folgen des Klima­wandels in der Schweiz, mangelndes Problem­bewusstsein und darüber, was sie trotz allem hoffnungs­voll macht.

  • Isabelle Gärtner-Roer

    Ehre für die Engadiner Blockgletscher – und für die Permafrostforschung

    Die Engadiner Blockgletscher sind neu geologisches Welterbe und damit eine von 100 erd­wissen­schaftlich besonders bedeutsamen Stätten. «Das ist eine Aus­zeich­nung für alle, die an Block­gletschern arbeiten», sagte Isabelle Gärtner-Roer in der SRF Tages­schau.

  • Christian Huggel in «10 vor 10»

    Klimakonferenz COP27: Wer bezahlt die Folgen von Klimaschäden?

    «Loss and damage», also Verluste und Schäden stehen im Zentrum der 27. UNO-Klimakonferenz. Werden sich die Industrienationen grosszügig zeigen? Die Mutter aller Probleme der COP sei die Ge­rechtig­keit, sagt Christian Huggel im Gespräch mit SRF News.

  • Re-drilling a measurement level on the grey, snowless surface of the Plaine Morte glacial plateau

    Worse than 2003: Swiss glaciers are melting more than ever before

    2022 was a disastrous year for Swiss glaciers: all ice melt records were smashed by the great dearth of snow in winter and continuous heatwaves in summer. More than 6 percent of the ice volume was lost, reports the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network (GLAMOS), in which UZH is also involved.

  • Longer, hotter and more frequent heat waves in Cities like Geneva.

    Longer, Hotter and More Frequent Heat Waves in Swiss Cities

    Hot days followed by sweltering nights without any temperature relief in between might become a new norm towards the end of the 21st century. Researchers from the Department of Geography have analyzed the frequency, intensity and length of such extreme events for five Swiss cities. 

  • Mit der Erwärmung des Klimas werden extreme Hitze- und Dürreereignisse immer häufiger und länger.

    Extreme Heat and Drought Events Require More Systematic Risk Assessment

    Simultaneous extreme heat and drought events have consequences in a variety of areas – for example the economy, health and food production. In addition, due to complex socio-economic connections, such extreme events can cause knock-on effects, researchers at the Departement of Geography have shown. More systematic risk assessments are needed to make affected regions more resilient.

  • Aletsch Eggishorn

    WGMS Letter of Concern to COP25

    Glacier-mass changes are a reliable indicator of climate change. The world­wide net­work of glacier observers urges parties to the United Nations Frame­work Con­vention on Climate Change to boost international co­opera­tion in monitoring these changes, and to include the results in the Paris agree­ment’s global stocktake.

  • UZH_Humboldt_Grafik

    Alexander von Humboldt: Trailblazer of Science

    Historical role model, ideal-typical scientist, courageous expedition leader: five UZH researchers tell why they value Alexander von Humboldt as a person and researcher and how relevant his findings are to this day.

  • glacier lake Peru

    The world's highest mountains hold vital climate change lessons

    Glaciologist Christian Huggel talks to about the effects of the climate crisis on high mountain regions, lessons learned between affected countries and the physical and existential impacts of melting glaciers on locals. 

  • Theodolit

    GIUZ treasures on Swiss television

    Measuring instruments of the Swiss Arctic researcher Alfred de Quervain are among the historical treasures of GIUZ. They were featured in the "Sternstunde Philosophie" on Swiss television.

  • IPCC trainees

    Local experts for global reports

    Climate change and its consequences pose even greater challenges to developing countries than industrialized countries. But these countries are severely underrepresented in bodies assessing the relevant science. A training program for early career researchers at GIUZ takes counteraction.

  • Aletschgletscher

    1894–2019: 125 years of internationally coordinated glacier monitoring

    The 125 year jubilee of the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), located at the Department of Geography, attracted considerable media attention.

  • Jan_Beutel_Samuel_Weber

    Monitoring the Matterhorn with Millions of Data Points

    A unique project is linking in-situ measurements with natural hazards research. For the past ten years, a network of wireless sensors on the Matterhorn’s Hörnli ridge has been constantly streaming measurement data on the condition of steep rock faces, permafrost and prevailing climate.

  • Andreas Linsbauer

    Reise bis zum Ende der Eiszeit

    Andreas Linsbauer untersucht, wie schnell die Schweizer Gletscher schmelzen. Mit einem 3-D-Erlebnis will er die Menschen aufrütteln.

  • Hüfigletscher

    Träge Zungen

    Auch wenn Gletscher mit einer gewissen Verzögerung auf die Klimaerwärmung reagieren: Die Schweiz wird sich auf eine Zukunft ohne die imposanten Eiszungen einstellen müssen. Das wird ihr gelingen. Grösser seien die Herausforderungen für asiatische Länder, sagt Andreas Linsbauer.

  • IPA strategy meeting

    Fostering permafrost research and scientific exchange

    The Executive Committee of the International Permafrost Association (IPA) met on June 17 at GIUZ for a one-day strategy meeting. Dr. Isabelle Gärtner-Roer serves as Vice-President of IPA.

  • Screenshot RAI Südtirol

    Klimaindikator Gletscher

    Rai Südtirol hat das World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) besucht, eine Hochburg der internationalen Gletscherforschung, und die Arbeit von Philipp Rastner und Holger Frey dokumentiert.

  • Zemp_screenshot_ORF

    Global warming is shrinking glaciers faster than thought

    The study recently published in "Nature" by an international research team led by Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the Department of Geography, generated a large media response worldwide.

  • glacial lakes

    Dangerous glacial lakes across Tibetan Plateau

    The flood danger posed by glacial lakes across the Tibetan Plateau has been assessed in the most comprehensive study of its kind so far. Simon Allen, member of the international research team, was interviewed by BBC.

  • gletscher

    Melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise at ever greater rates

    Melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic as well as ice melt from glaciers all over the world are causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers alone lost more than 9,000 billion tons of ice since 1961, raising water levels by 27 millimeters, an international research team under the lead of UZH have now found.

  • Expedition 2 Grad

    Den globalen Zusammenhang vermitteln

    Umweltthemen zielgruppengerecht vermitteln, das macht Andreas Linsbauer als Ausbildner zukünftiger Lehrpersonen und als Wissenschaftler am Geographischen Institut. Heute wird die von ihm geleitete Ausstellung «Expedition 2 Grad» im Nationalparkzentrum Zernez eröffnet.

  • Schilthorn

    Der Permafrost in der Schweiz erwärmt sich wieder

    Nach einer kurzen Pause von ein bis zwei Jahren setzte sich die Erwärmung des alpinen Permafrostes im hydrologischen Jahr 2017/18 wieder fort. Das zeigen die neusten Messungen des Schweizer Permafrostmessnetzes PERMOS. Das Geographische Institut ist einer der sechs Partner des Messnetzes.

  • Screenshot SRF Huggel

    Tauender Permafrost: Eine tickende Zeitbombe

    Über Jahrtausende hinweg war die Erde in der russischen Taiga gefroren. Doch jetzt taut der Untergrund aufgrund der Klimaerwärmung. Die Auswirkungen sind massiv, auch auf die Menschen und ihre Lebensgrundlage, erklärt Christian Huggel vom Geographischen Institut.

  • Alessandro

    Panta rhei - everything flows

    In high alpine regions, ice keeps loose debris masses together. Alessandro Cicoira computes the influence of climate on rock glaciers as part of his PhD thesis.

  • francisco_agua_montana

    Mountain glaciers: Vanishing sources of water and life

    For the purpose of the UN Climate Conference (COP24) this week in Katowice, Poland, a team of scientists from various institutions - including GIUZ resarchers Christian Huggel and Samuel Nussbaumer - developed a communication campaign on the effects of shrinking glaciers on ecosystems, people and economy.

  • Veruska Muccione

    Boost to UZH’s Climate Research

    Thanks to its far-reaching and interdisciplinary research and teaching in the area of climate change, UZH has been chosen as a climate action hub. This distinction is awarded by the United Nations Academic Impact on the occasion of United Nations Day.

  • Plaine Morte

    Ein Jahr der Extreme für Schweizer Gletscher

    Im Hitzesommer 2018 verzeichneten die Gletscher massive Verluste. Ohne die riesigen Winter-Schneemengen wäre die Schmelze noch viel dramatischer ausgefallen.

  • Schneefernerhaus

    Zum Klimabericht tragen viele bei

    Anfang Oktober haben sich Mitglieder des europäischen Copernicus Erdbeobachtungsprogramms im Höhenforschungsobservatorium „Schneefernerhaus" auf der Zugspitze getroffen. Ihre Daten liefern wichtige Grundlagen für den Bericht des Weltklimarats IPCC. Mit dabei war Philipp Rastner vom Geographischen Institut und World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS).

  • Huayhuash-Region in Peru

    Gemeinsam globale Probleme angehen

    Die Umwelt verändert sich und lässt etwa Gletscher schneller schmelzen. Dies zwingt den Menschen zur Anpassung. Doch wie? Antworten auf diese und weitere Fragen liefert ein von swissuniversities gefördertes SUDAC-Projekt unter der Leitung von Christian Huggel vom Geographischen Institut.

  • rhonegletscher tongue

    Scientists set out to explore microbial life in glacier streams

    A team of scientists will spend at least the next four years studying some of the world’s biggest glacier-fed streams. By collecting microorganisms from the streams and extracting their DNA, they hope to better understand how these creatures have adapted to their extreme environments. Michael Zemp, a research associate at the Department of Geography, will provide his expertise in glaciology.

  • Alpenreise

    Die Alpenreise - Live aus Grindelwald

    Der Grindelwaldgletscher war früher imposant, bis heute hat er sich aber stark zurückgezogen. Wanderung und Bericht mit Ausführungen von Samuel Nussbaumer, Glaziologe am Geographischen Institut.

  • Haeberli Lifetime Achievement Award

    IPA Lifetime Achievement Award to Wilfried Haeberli

    Last week Wilfried Haeberli received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Permafrost Association (IPA). The award was presented at the 5th European Permafrost Conference in Chamonix.

  • Meighen Ice Cap

    How the Alps inform polar research

    At first glance, Switzerland might seem like an odd location for a summit on polar studies. But as a nation with high mountains, it is part of what researchers refer to as the “third pole” after North and South. This week the mountain resort of Davos welcomed 2,200 international scientists and decision makers for the POLAR2018 conference.

  • Glacier mass changes

    Towards an operational glacier monitoring service: Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service

    A Blog post by Isabelle Gärtner-Roer on the contribution of the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) - located at the Department of Geography - to Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

  • Copernicus European State of the Climate_2017

    WGMS contributed to European State of the Climate report

    The first edition of the European State of the Climate report has been published and presented to the European Parliament in Brussels. The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) - located at the Department of Geography - contributed glacier data and analyses. 

  • Stockhorn

    Short break in the warming of the alpine permafrost

    For the first time since 2009, the warming trend of alpine permafrost was temporarily interrupted in debris slopes and rock glaciers. This is shown by the latest results of the Swiss permafrost measurement network (PERMOS), in which the 3G group is an active partner.

  • Lower Grindelwald Glacier

    Frequently cited comment on glacier mass loss

    In response to a study published in Nature Climate Change on glacier mass loss, GIUZ researcher Tobias Bolch was asked to comment on these results as an expert. His comments were taken up in numerous media articles, amongst others in the NZZ.

  • grafik massenverlust

    A tipping point for Greenland and its ice caps

    Before 1997 the ice caps of Greenland remained stable. After 1997 this situation changed dramatically. Mass loss in the interior no longer compensated mass loss at the margins.

  • screenshot wgms film

    “Our object of interest is about to melt away”

    The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) is looking back at more than a century of collecting data of glacier fluctuation worldwide in a new short film

  • christian huggel in the video of the radar installation

    Precipitation radar in the Peruvian Andes

    For a better understanding of the impact of rain or snow on the Peruvian glaciers and water resources, an international team has installed a precipitation radar in the highlands of Peru.

  • graphic glacier mass change

    Glacier change data as climate indicators

    Changes in glaciers provide some of the clearest evidence of climate change. The latest global mass balance data indicate continued strong ice losses. Isabelle Gärtner-Roer explains the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), hosted at our Department, in a blog post of the World Data System (WDS).

  • muragl blockgletscher jeannette noetzli

    Alpine permafrost continues to warm up

    The trend of the warming alpine permafrost is unbroken. This is shown by the latest results of the Swiss Permafrost Measurement Network (PERMOS), of which our Department is a partner.

  • glacier

    WGMS Jubilee

    What the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is for the weather, is the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) for glaciers. Today, the WGMS looks back at 30 years of achievements and future challenges at the University of Zurich with a public Symposium.

  • camp century

    War waste in greenland

    Climate change could remobilize abandoned hazardous Cold War-era waste believed to be buried forever beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.


    Tagesanzeiger, 30.10.2016 (German)

    UZH press release, 05.08.2016

  • bohrloch murtél gletscher

    Rock glaciers crawl slowly down the slope

    At the International Conference on Permafrost in Potsdam, Isabelle Gärtner-Roer explained the PERMASENSE network. Boeholes in rock glaciers allow to collect data on the temperature of the entire bore and therefore to explain the downward motion of the glacier.

    Article in planeterde (German)