Pfahl, Stephan, Dr.

Dr.  Stephan Pfahl

CHN  M 18 

Universitätstrasse 16

8092 Zürich


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Additional information

Additional information

Research interests

  • Extratropical atmospheric dynamics
  • Extreme weather events
  • Atmospheric water cycle
  • Stable water isotopes


Researcher-ID: G-4194-2014

Submitted articles

  • Röthlisberger M., Pfahl S. and Martius O., 2016. Regional-scale jet waviness modulates the occurrence of mid-latitude weather extremes. Geophys. Res. Lett., in revision.

Peer reviewed journals


  • Martius O., Pfahl S. and Chevalier C., 2016. A global quantification of compound precipitation and wind extremes. Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1002/2016GL070017, in press.
  • Dütsch M., Pfahl S. and Wernli H., 2016. Variations of δ2H in an idealized extratropical cyclone. Geophys. Res. Lett. 43, 5401–5408 doi:10.1002/2016GL068600.
  • Pfahl S. and Sprenger M., 2016. On the relationship between extratropical cyclone precipitation and intensity. Geophys. Res. Lett. 43, 1752–1758, doi:10.1002/2016GL068018.
  • Papritz L. and Pfahl S., 2016. Importance of latent heating in mesocyclones for the decay of cold air outbreaks: A numerical process study from the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. Mon. Weather Rev. 144, 315–336, doi:10.1175/MWR-D-15-0268.1.
  • Barton Y., Giannakaki P., von Waldow H., Chevalier C, Pfahl S., and Martius O., 2016. Clustering of regional-scale extreme precipitation events in southern Switzerland. Mon. Weather Rev. 144, 347–369, doi:10.1175/MWR-D-15-0205.1.


  • Pfahl S., O'Gorman P.A., and Singh M.S., 2015. Extratropical cyclones in idealized simulations of changed climates. J. Climate 28, 9373–9392, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00816.1.
  • Pfahl S., Schwierz C., Croci-Maspoli M., Grams C.M., and Wernli H., 2015. Importance of latent heat release in ascending air streams for atmospheric blocking. Nature Geosci. 8, 610-614, doi:10.1038/ngeo2487.
  • Aemisegger F., Spiegel J.K., Pfahl S., Sodemann H., Eugster W., and Wernli H., 2015. Isotope meteorology of cold front passages: a case study combining observations and modeling. Geophys. Res. Lett. 42, 5652-5660, doi:10.1002/2015GL063988.
  • Skerlak B., Sprenger M., Pfahl S., Tyrlis E., and Wernli H., 2015. Tropopause folds in ERA-Interim: global climatology and relation to extreme weather events. J. Geophys. Res. 120, 4860-4877, doi:10.1002/2014JD022787.
  • Santos J.A., Pfahl S., Pinto J.G., and Wernli H., 2015. Mechanisms underlying temperature extremes in Iberia: a Lagrangian perspective. Tellus A 67, 26032, doi:10.3402/tellusa.v67.26032.
  • Bieli M., Pfahl S., and Wernli H., 2015. A Lagrangian investigation of hot and cold temperature extremes in Europe. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 141, 98-108, doi:10.1002/qj.2339.
  • Papritz L., Pfahl S., Sodemann H., and Wernli H., 2015. A climatology of cold air outbreaks and their impact on air-sea heat fluxes in the high-latitude South Pacific. J. Climate 28, 342–364, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00482.1.


  • Papritz L., Pfahl S., Rudeva I., Simmonds I., Sodemann H., and Wernli H., 2014. The role of extratropical cyclones and fronts for Southern Ocean freshwater fluxes. J. Climate 27, 6205-6224, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00409.1.
  • Grams C.M., Binder H., Pfahl S., Piaget N., and Wernli H., 2014. Atmospheric processes triggering the central European floods in June 2013. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 14, 1691-1702, doi:10.5194/nhess-14-1691-2014.
  • Pfahl S., 2014. Characterising the relationship between weather extremes in Europe and synoptic circulation features. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 14, 1461-1475, doi:10.5194/nhess-14-1461-2014.
  • Winschall A., Pfahl S., Sodemann H., and Wernli H., 2014. Comparison of Eulerian and Lagrangian moisture source diagnostics - the flood event in eastern Europe in May 2010. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 14, 6605–6619, doi:10.5194/acp-14-6605-2014.
  • Winschall A., Sodemann H., Pfahl S., and Wernli H., 2014. How important is intensified evaporation for Mediterranean precipitation extremes? J. Geophys. Res. 119, 5240–5256, doi:10.1002/2013JD021175.
  • Aemisegger F., Pfahl S., Sodemann H., Lehner I., Seneviratne S., and Wernli H., 2014. Deuterium excess as a proxy for continental moisture recycling and plant transpiration. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 14, 4029-4054, doi:10.5194/acp-14-4029-2014.
  • Pfahl S. and Sodemann H., 2014. What controls deuterium excess in global precipitation? Clim. Past, 10, 771-781, doi:10.5194/cp-10-771-2014.
  • Pfahl S., Madonna E., Boettcher M., Joos H., and Wernli H., 2014. Warm conveyor belts in the ERA-Interim data set (1979-2010). Part II: Moisture origin and relevance for precipitation. J. Climate 27, 27-40, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00223.1.


  • Miltenberger A. K., Pfahl S. and Wernli H., 2013. An online trajectory module (version 1.0) for the nonhydrostatic numerical weather prediction model COSMO. Geosci. Model Dev. 6, 1989-2004 doi:10.5194/gmd-6-1989-2013.
  • Catto J.L. and Pfahl S., 2013. The importance of fronts for extreme precipitation. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 10791–10801, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50852.
  • Martius O., Sodemann H., Joos H., Pfahl S., Winschall A., Croci-Maspoli M., Graf M., Madonna E., Mueller B., Schemm S., Sedlacek J., Sprenger M. and Wernli H., 2013. The role of upper-level dynamics and surface processes for the Pakistan flood in July 2010. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 139, 1780–1797, doi:10.1002/qj.2082.


  • Pfahl S. and Wernli H., 2012. Quantifying the relevance of cyclones for precipitation extremes. J. Climate 25, 6770-6780, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00705.1.
  • Winschall A., Pfahl S., Sodemann H. and Wernli H., 2012. Impact of North Atlantic evaporation hot spots on southern Alpine heavy precipitation events. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 138, 1245-1258, doi:10.1002/qj.987.
  • Pfahl S. and Wernli H., 2012. Quantifying the relevance of atmospheric blocking for co-located temperature extremes in the Northern Hemisphere on (sub-)daily time scales. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L12807, doi:10.1029/2012GL052261.
  • Aemisegger F., Sturm P., Graf P., Sodemann H., Pfahl S., Knohl A. and Wernli H., 2012. Measuring variations of δ18O and δ2H in atmospheric water vapour using two commercial laser-based spectrometers: an instrument characterisation study. Atmos. Meas. Tech. 5, 1491-1511, doi:10.5194/amt-5-1491-2012.
  • Sirocko F., Brunck H. and Pfahl S., 2012. Solar influence on winter severity in central Europe. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L16704, doi:10.1029/2012GL052412.
  • Pfahl S., Wernli H. and Yoshimura K., 2012. The isotopic composition of precipitation from a winter storm - a case study with the limited-area model COSMOiso. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 12, 1629-1648, doi:10.5194/acp-12-1629-2012.
  • Pfahl S. and Wernli H., 2012. Spatial coherency of extreme weather events in Germany and Switzerland. Int. J. Climatol. 32, 1863–1874, doi:10.1002/joc.2401.


  • Pfahl S. and Niedermann N., 2011. Daily co-variations in near-surface relative humidity and temperature over the ocean. J. Geophys. Res. 116, D19104, doi:10.1029/2011JD015792.
  • Schäfler A., Dörnbrack A., Wernli H., Kiemle C. and Pfahl S., 2011. Airborne lidar observations in the inflow region of a warm conveyor belt. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 137, 1257-1272, doi:10.1002/qj.827.
  • Leimer S., Pohlert T., Pfahl S. and Wilcke W., 2011. Towards a new generation of high-resolution meteorological input data for small-scale hydrologic modeling. J. Hydrol. 402 (3-4), 317-332, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.03.026.


  • Wernli H., Pfahl S., Trentmann J. and Zimmer M., 2010. How representative were the meteorological conditions during the COPS field experiment in summer 2007? Meteorol. Z. 19 (6), 619-630, doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2010/0483.
  • Pfahl S. and Wernli H., 2009. Lagrangian simulations of stable isotopes in water vapor - an evaluation of non-equilibrium fractionation in the Craig-Gordon model. J. Geophys. Res. 114, D20108, doi:10.1029/2009JD012054.
  • Pfahl S., Sirocko F., Seelos K., Dietrich S., Walter A. and Wernli H., 2009. A new windstorm proxy from lake sediments - a comparison of geological and meteorological data from western Germany for the period 1965-2001. J. Geophys. Res. 114, D18106, doi:10.1029/2008JD011643.
  • Pfahl S. and Wernli H., 2008. Air parcel trajectory analysis of stable isotopes in water vapor in the eastern Mediterranean. J. Geophys. Res. 113, D20104, doi:10.1029/2008JD009839.
  • Xing X., Pfahl S., Mukhopadhyay S., Goldbart P.M. and Zippelius A., 2008. Nematic elastomers: From a microscopic model to macroscopic elasticity theory. Phys. Rev. E 77, 051802, doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.77.051802.


  • Pfahl S., 2009. Exploring physical processes related to past climate proxies: lake sediments and stable water isotopes, PhD thesis, University of Mainz.
  • Wernli H. and Pfahl S., 2009. Grundlagen des Klimas und extremer Wettersituationen, in Wetter, Klima, Menschheitsentwicklung: Von der Eiszeit bis ins 21. Jahrhundert, edited by F. Sirocko, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, Germany.
  • Pfahl S., 2005. Nematische Elastomere - ein mikroskopisches Modell, Diploma thesis, University of Göttingen.

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