Orth, René, Dr.

Dr.  René Orth

CHN  N 17.1 

Universitätstrasse 16

8092 Zürich


  • phone +41 44 633 36 24 
  • phone (Sec.) +41 44 632 82 79 
  • mail
  • vcard n.ethz.ch/~orthr
  • vcard V-Card (vcf, 1kb)

Additional information

Additional information

Research interests

  • Land-atmosphere interactions, soil moisture impacts on surface weather and climate
  • Droughts, heat waves and their impacts
  • Hydrological modelling, related required model complexity


Peer-reviewed publications

Record dry summer in 2015 challenges precipitation projections in Central Europe.

Orth, R., J. Zscheischler, and S.I. Seneviratne, 2016
Sci. Rep., 6, 28334, doi: 10.1038/srep28334
< Link > < FullText >

Improving weather predictability by including land-surface model parameter uncertainty.

Orth, R., E. Dutra, and F. Pappenberger, 2016
Mon. Weather Rev., 144(4), 1551-1569, doi: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0283.1
< Link > < FullText >

Role of soil moisture vs. recent climate change for heat waves in western Russia.

Hauser, M.,  R. Orth, and S. I. Seneviratne, 2016
Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi: 10.1002/2016GL068036
< Link > < FullText >


Introduction of a simple-model-based land surface dataset for Europe.

Orth, R., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2015
Env. Res. Lett., 10, 044012, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/044012
< Link > < FullText > < Dataset >

A sub-monthly database for detecting changes in vegetation-atmosphere coupling.

Zscheischler, J., R. Orth, and S. I. Seneviratne 2015
Geophys. Res. Lett., 42(22), 9816-9824, doi: 10.1002/2015GL066563
< Link > < FullText >

Impact of soil moisture on extreme maximum temperatures in Europe.

Whan, K., J. Zscheischler,  R. Orth, M. Shongwe, M. Rahimi, E. Asare, and S.I. Seneviratne, 2015
Weather and Climate Extremes, 9, 57-67,  doi: 10.1016/j.wace.2015.05.001
< Link > < FullText >

Does model performance improve with complexity? A case study with three hydrological models.

Orth, R., M. Staudinger, S.I. Seneviratne, J. Seibert, and M. Zappa, 2015
J. Hydrol., 523, 147-159, doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.01.044
< Link > < FullText >


Using soil moisture forecasts for sub-seasonal summer temperature predictions in Europe.

Orth, R., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2014
Climate Dynamics, 43 (12), 3403-3418, doi: 10.1007/s00382-014-2112-x
< Link > < FullText >


Inferring soil moisture memory from streamflow observations using a simple water balance model.

Orth, R., R.D. Koster, and S.I. Seneviratne, 2013
J. Hydrometeorology, 14 (6), 1773-1790, doi:10.1175/JHM-D-12-099.1
< Link > < FullText >

Propagation of soil moisture memory to streamflow and evapotranspiration in Europe.

Orth, R., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2013
Hydr. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 3895-3911, doi:10.5194/hess-17-3895-2013
< Link > < FullText >

Predictability of soil moisture and streamflow on sub-seasonal timescales: A case study.

Orth, R., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2013
J. Geophysical Res. - Atmospheres, 118, 10963-10979, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50846
< Link > < FullText >


Analysis of soil moisture memory from observations in Europe.

Orth, R., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2012
J. Geophys. Res. - Atmospheres, 117, D15115, doi:10.1029/2011JD017366
< Link > < FullText >


Soil Moisture and sea surface temperatures similarly important for climate in the warm season.

Orth, R., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2016
J. Climate, in review

Global evaluation of runoff from ten state-of-the-art hydrological models.

Beck, H. E., A. I. J. M. van Dijk, A. de Roo, E. Dutra, G. Fink, R. Orth, and J. Schellekens, 2016
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., in review
< Link > < FullText >

Did European temperatures in 1540 exceed present-day records?

Orth, R., M. M. Vogel, J. Luterbacher, C. Pfister, and S.I. Seneviratne, 2016
Env. Res. Lett., in review


Other publications

Trockenheit in der Schweiz - Ergebnisse des NFP-61-Projektes Drought-CH.

Seneviratne, S.I., R. Orth, S. Jörg-Hess, S. Kruse, I. Seidl, M. Stähli, M. Zappa, J. Seibert M. Staudinger, K. Stahl, and M. Weiler, 2013
Aqua & Gas, 9, 38-47
< Link > < FullText >

Persistence of soil moisture - Controls, associated predictability and implications for land surface climate.

Orth, R., 2013
PhD Thesis, ETH Zürich
< Link >


Supervision & Teaching

Lecturer and exercise teacher in  Land-Climate Interactions lecture (since 2013)

Teacher in  Hydrological and Climatological Field Course (2012-2013) and exercise teacher in  Basic Statistics Lecture (2007-2011)

PhD Thesis of Mathias Hauser, since Jan 2014: The Role of Soil Moisture in the Detection and Attribution of Heat Waves.

PhD Thesis of Martha Vogel, since Sep 2015: Constraining Earth System models in present and future climate.

Msc. Thesis of Martha Vogel, Oct 2014 - May 2015: A European heatwave hotter than 2003.

Bsc. Thesis of Kaspar Tobler, Mar-Oct 2015: Role of initial soil moisture in the 2013/2014 UK floods.

Bsc. Thesis of Adrian Mehl, Apr-Sept 2014: Investigation of soil moisture - atmosphere interactions and their influence on temperature in Europe.


Oral presentations


Seminar, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA, Dec 2015

ZHydro Seminar, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Nov 2015

LandMIP workshop, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, Oct 2015

Seminar series talk, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany, Sept 2015

Seminar series talk, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany, Sept 2015

Seminar series talk, University of Potsdam, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, Potsdam, Germany, Sept 2015

Seminar series talk, Helmholtz-Zentrum for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany, Sept 2015

AOPP seminar, University of Oxford, UK, Jul 2015

Seminar, ECMWF, Reading, UK, Jun 2015

Seminar Series Talk, ECMWF, Reading, UK, Dec 2014

Seminar Series Talk, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, Feb 2014

Seminar Series Talk, MeteoSchweiz, Zürich, Switzerland, Aug 2013

ZHydro Seminar, Zürich, Switzerland, Nov 2012

Seminar, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA, Mar 2012



American Geosciences Union General Assembly, San Francisco, California, USA, Dec 2015

European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, Apr 2015

European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, Apr 2015

European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, Apr 2014

American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, USA, Feb 2014

European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, Apr 2013


Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Award

Short CV

2013 - present: Postdoctoral Scientist, ETH Zürich
May-Jul 2015 Visiting scientist, European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK

2010 - 2013: PhD thesis, ETH Zürich
Jan-Apr 2012 Visiting student, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

2008 - 2010: MSc in Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

2005 - 2008: BSc in Earth Science, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Sep-Dez 2007 Erasmus exchange semester, University of Leeds, UK

2005: Abitur in Germany

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