Welcome to the WSL/SLF – EPFL Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences

General Mission

The laboratory of cryospheric sciences investigates the processes that shape snow and ice in mountains and polar regions. In particular, snow cover processes, snow-atmosphere interactions and mountain hydrology are in the focus of current research. This includes a strive for deeper understanding of the complicated mass and energy exchange processes within, above and below a snow cover but also predictions of future snow and ice in mountains and high latitudes. A newer work area is the risk management and optimization in the field of renewable energy production based on our detailed understanding of water, wind and radiation processes in mountains.


Dischma: snow depostion and ablation patterns on mountains

This project investigates important processes driving snow deposition and ablation patterns on mountains. We apply process understanding at very small scales (1m) to larger scale (1km) behavior in a catchment.

Stream Temperature in Swiss Rivers

Water temperature is a physical parameter which affects the habitat suitability of many living beings and directly controls the toxicity of some dissolved substances. In the context of climate change there is some raising concern about the future “health” of our rivers.

Antarctic precipitation and surface mass balance

The total deposition of precipitation in Antarctica is currently poorly understood. Model predictions cannot be confirmed by local measurements, which are sparse and difficult due to high winds.

Uncertainty and reliability of snow measurements

The assessment of uncertainties of snow measurements remains a challenging problem in snow sciences. Snow cover properties are highly heterogeneous in both space and time, and the representativeness of measurements of snow variables…

Opportunities and Risks for Alpine Renewable Energy Systems

The mountainous parts of Switzerland provide much for the country: spectacular landscape, wildlife, tourism, energy and agriculture, to name but a few. In coming years, the country’s energy system will undergo a transition towards one dominated by renewable energy.