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Snow processes

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Lead: Prof. Dr. Michael Lehning

The group in charge of snow processes at the SLF is operated in collaboration with the chair for Cryosphere Sciences at the EPFL in the framework of a joint professorship by Michael Lehning. The group is working on a wide-ranging spectrum of questions and enquiries postulated by the theme of snow, snow transport, snowfall precipitation extending all the way to the impact of snow on solar production. The group is developing numerical models such as SNOWPACK and Alpine3D and researching snow processes out in nature (in high alpine zones and arctic regions), also learning to measure them precisely in experiments (e.g. in wind canals).



Unter dem hellblauen Himmel erstreckt sich eine schneebedeckte Gebirgslandschaft. Vereinzelt ragen Felsen durch den Schnee.


To improve avalanche risk forecasting, we are working to better understand and reproduce snowpack structure and the processes that occur inside it.

Snow transport

We investigate in the wind tunnel and on measuring surfaces how the wind erodes and deposits snow and how the snow changes during transport.

Distribution of precipitation

If we understand the distribution processes better, we will be able to predict e.g. high and low water more accurately in the future.

Snow-cover modelling - SNOWPACK

The model "SNOWPACK" simulates the development of the snow cover during the winter based on meteorological data.

Boundary-layer dynamics

We investigate the interaction between the snow cover and the atmosphere with high-resolution turbulence measurements.

Polar snowpack

We explore polar snow and how it "ages". These findings help to reconstruct past climates and improve forecasts.