Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science

Seneviratne, Sonia I., Prof.

Upcoming events

7 Events found:

  1. Mon 02. Mar. 2015 16:15 : ETH Zentrum, CAB G 11
    Dr. Anny Cazenave : Climate change and sea level rise
    Kolloquium Atmos. & Klima (Kolloquium)
    Details iCal
  2. Mon 09. Mar. 2015 16:15 : ETH Zentrum, CAB G 11
    Prof. Thomas Koop : How ice crystals form (or not)
    Kolloquium Atmos. & Klima (Kolloquium)
    Details iCal
  3. Wed 11. Mar. 2015 09:00 : ETH Zentrum, CHN L 17.1
    Dr. Dominik Renggli : From cyclone tracks to the costs of European winter storms: A probabilistic loss assessment model
    Special Event (Extraordinary Seminar) Abstract.pdf
    Details iCal
  4. Mon 16. Mar. 2015 16:15 : ETH Zentrum, CAB G 11
    Prof. Olivia Romppainen-Martius : High-impact weather in Switzerland - climatologies and processes
    Kolloquium Atmos. & Klima (Kolloquium)
    Details iCal
  5. Tue 17. Mar. 2015 09:30 : ETH Zentrum, CHN L 17.1
    Prof. Ben Poulter : Toward an updated global wetland CH4 budget: progress, challenges and data needs
    Special Event (Extraordinary Seminar)
    Details iCal
  6. Mon 23. Mar. 2015 16:15 : ETH Zentrum, CAB G 11
    Prof. Joy Singarayer : Land use, climate change and climate engineering
    Kolloquium Atmos. & Klima (Kolloquium)
    Details iCal
  7. Mon 30. Mar. 2015 16:15 : ETH Zentrum, CAB G 11
    Prof. Hayley Fowler : Understanding climate change impacts in the Karakoram Himalaya
    Kolloquium Atmos. & Klima (Kolloquium)
    Details iCal



Das IAC bloggt auf dem ETH-Klimablog, der Informationsplattform der ETH Zürich zum Klimawandel. Mehr auf

Sonia I. Seneviratne

ETH Zurich
Prof. Sonia I. Seneviratne
Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science
Universitätsstrasse 16
CH-8092 Zürich

Phone: +41 44 632 80 76
Fax: +41 44 633 10 58

Go to group web page

Research interests

Awards and Distinctions

2014-2019 ERC Consolidator Grant (DROUGHT-HEAT project)

2014 Highly cited researcher (Thomson Reuters)

2013 James B. Macelwane Medal, American Geophysical Union

2013 Fellow, American Geophysical Union

2012 Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union

2003-2004 NCCR Climate postdoctoral fellowship


Selected recent publications

Greve, P., B. Orlowsky, B. Mueller, J. Sheffield, M. Reichstein, and S.I. Seneviratne, 2014: Global assessment of trends in wetting and drying over land. Nature Geoscience, 7, 716-721, doi: 10.1038/NGEO2247. (link; ETH News;; 20 Minuten; Washington Post (online); Nature Geoscience News and Views)

Davin, E.L., S.I. Seneviratne, P. Ciais, A. Olioso, and T. Wang, 2014: Preferential cooling of hot extremes from cropland albedo management. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci., 111(27), 9757-9761, doi:10.1073/pnas.1317323111 (link; ETH News; Spiegel; Nature News).

Seneviratne, S.I, M. Donat, B. Mueller, and L.V. Alexander, 2014: No pause in the increase of hot temperature extremes. Nature Climate Change, 4, 161-163. (link; Reuters; The Economist; SRF2 Wissenschaftsmagazin; CBC; Climate Central)

Seneviratne, S.I., M. Wilhelm, T. Stanelle, B.J.J.M. van den Hurk, S. Hagemann, A. Berg, F. Cheruy, M.E. Higgins, A. Meier, V. Brovkin, M. Claussen, A. Ducharne, J.-L. Dufresne, K.L. Findell, J. Ghattas, D.M. Lawrence, S. Malyshev, M. Rummukainen, and B. Smith, 2013: Impact of soil moisture-climate feedbacks on CMIP5 projections: First results from the GLACE-CMIP5 experiment. Geophys. Res. Lett., 40 (19), 5212-5217 (pdf).

Orlowsky, B., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2013: Elusive drought: Uncertainty in observed trends and short- and long-term CMIP5 projections. Hydr. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1765-1781, doi:10.5194/hess-17-1765-2013. (pdf)

Mueller, B., M. Hirschi, C. Jimenez, P. Ciais, P. A. Dirmeyer, A. J. Dolman, J. B. Fisher, M. Jung, F. Ludwig, F. Maignan, D. Miralles, M.F. McCabe, M. Reichstein, J. Sheffield, K.C. Wang, E.F. Wood, Y. Zhang, and S.I. Seneviratne, 2013: Benchmark products for land evapotranspiration: LandFlux-EVAL multi-dataset synthesis. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 3707-3720, doi:10.5194/hess-17-3707-2013. (pdf)

Seneviratne, S.I., N. Nicholls, D. Easterling, C.M. Goodess, S. Kanae, J. Kossin, Y. Luo, J. Marengo, K. McInnes, M. Rahimi, M. Reichstein, A. Sorteberg, C. Vera, and X. Zhang, 2012: Changes in climate extremes and their impacts on the natural physical environment. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pp. 109-230. [Full IPCC SREX Report, Chapter 3; SREX web site]
->Some media reports and background information on the IPCC SREX report:
ETH Klimablog: Das IPCC SREX in Kürze, Qualitätskontrolle im IPCC SREX; ETH Life Interview: Deutsch, English; IPCC SREX Video; Media articles: SciDevNet, NZZ, Die Zeit, Environmental Health Perspectives

IPCC, 2012: Summary for Policymakers. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 1-19. (in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish)

Mueller, B., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2012: Hot days induced by precipitation deficits at the global scale. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci., 109 (31), 12398-12403, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204330109. (pdf; ETH Life article; TagesAnzeiger; Los Angeles Times; Research Highlight in Nature Geoscience)

Seneviratne, S.I., 2012: Historical drought trends revisited. Nature, 491, 338-339. (link)

Quesada, B., R. Vautard, P. Yiou, M. Hirschi, and S.I. Seneviratne, 2012: Asymmetric European summer heat predictability from wet and dry Southern winter/springs. Nature Climate Change, 2, 736-741, doi:10.1038/nclimate1536. (link; pdf; ScienceDaily)

Seneviratne, S.I., and R.D. Koster, 2012: A revised framework for analyzing soil moisture memory in climate data: Derivation and interpretation. J. Hydrometeorology, 13, 404-412, doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-11-044.1. (pdf)

Mittelbach, H., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2012: A new perspective on the spatio-temporal variability of soil moisture: Temporal dynamics versus time invariant contributions. Hydr. Earth Syst. Sci, 16, 2169–2179, doi:10.5194/hess-16-2169-2012. (abstract; pdf)

Orlowsky, B., and S.I. Seneviratne, 2012: Global changes in extreme events: Regional and seasonal dimension. Climatic Change, 110, 669-696, doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0122-9. (pdf)

Hirschi, M., S.I. Seneviratne, V. Alexandrov, F. Boberg, C. Boroneant, O.B. Christensen, H. Formayer, B. Orlowsky, and P. Stepanek, 2011: Observational evidence for soil-moisture impact on hot extremes in southeastern Europe. Nature Geoscience, 4, 17-21, doi:10.1038/ngeo1032. (pdf; link; News and Views; ETH Life article)

Seneviratne, S.I., T. Corti, E.L. Davin, M. Hirschi, E.B. Jaeger, I. Lehner, B. Orlowsky, and A.J. Teuling, 2010: Investigating soil moisture-climate interactions in a changing climate: A review. Earth-Science Reviews, 99, 3-4, 125-161, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2010.02.004. (pdf)

Jung, M., M. Reichstein, P. Ciais, S.I. Seneviratne, J. Sheffield, M.L. Goulden, G. Bonan, A. Cescatti, J. Chen, R. de Jeu, A.J. Dolman, W. Eugster, D. Gerten, D. Gianelle, N. Gobron, J. Heinke, J. Kimball, B.E. Law, L. Montagnani, Q. Mu, B. Mueller, K. Oleson, D. Papale, A.D. Richardson, O. Roupsard, S. Running, E. Tomelleri, N. Viovy, U. Weber, C. Williams, E. Wood, S. Zaehle, K. Zhang, 2010: Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply. Nature, 467, 951-954. doi:10.1038/nature09396. (pdf; link)

Teuling, A.J., S.I. Seneviratne, R. Stöckli, M. Reichstein, E. Moors, P. Ciais, S. Luyssaert, B. van den Hurk, C. Ammann, C. Bernhofer, E. Dellwik, D. Gianelle, B. Gielen, T. Grünwald, K. Klumpp, L. Montagnani, C. Moureaux, M. Sottocornola, and G. Wohlfahrt, 2010: Contrasting response of European forest and grassland energy exchange to heatwaves. Nature Geoscience, 3, 722-727, doi:10.1038/ngeo950. (pdf; link; ETH life article)

Seneviratne, S.I., D. Lüthi, M. Litschi, and C. Schär, 2006: Land-atmosphere coupling and climate change in Europe. Nature, 443, 205-209. (pdf; suppl. info.; link; editor's summary)

Full list of publications

Invited Presentations

List of invited and solicited presentations (selected)


Land-Climate Interactions (MSc)

Rietholzbach Field Course (MSc)

Messmethoden in der Meteorologie und Klimaforschung (BSc)

Research Projects

(see also our research pages)

ERC Consolidator Grant "DROUGHT-HEAT", 2014-2019 (starting in September 2014)

EU-FP7 EUCLEIA, 2014-2016

ESA Soil moisture CCI, 2012-2014

EU-FP7 EMBRACE, 2011-2015

EU-FP7 DROUGHT-R&SPI, 2011-2015

ETH CHIRP2, 2012-2015

SNF Sinergia Carbo-Count CH, 2012-2014

NRP61 DROUGHT-CH, 2010-2013

EU-FP7 CARBO-Extreme, 2009-2013

NCCR-Climate Phase III, 2009-2012

SwissSMEX (SNF), 2008-2011

MAIOLICA (CCES), 2008-2012

NCCR-Climate Phase II (SwissRe-funded project), 2007-2009

EU-FP6 CECILIA, 2006-2009

Scientific Service

Selected service contributions

Co-chair of WCRP GEWEX Scientific Steering Group (2014-present)

ECMWF Scientific Advisory Committee (2012-present)

Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC SREX report (2009-2012)

ILEAPS Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) (2008-2013)

WCRP GEWEX Data and Assessment Panel (GDAP) (2008-2013)

WCRP GEWEX GLASS Panel (2008-2013)

Short CV

2013- Associate Professor, ETH Zurich
2007-2012 Assistant Professor, ETH Zurich
2005-2007 Senior research scientist, ETH Zurich
2003-2004 Visiting research associate, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt (MD), USA
1999-2002 PhD thesis, ETH Zurich (Award: 04/2003)
1998-1999 Visiting scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge (MA), USA
1995-1999 MSc in Environmental Sciences (Major: Atmospheric Physics), ETH Zurich, Switzerland
1992-1995 BSc in Biology ("Attestation de Pré-licence"), University of Lausanne, Switzerland


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