Climate Variability and Change – Past, Presence and Future

Wednesday, 29. September 2004 | 16:15 Uhr


Prof. Heinz Wanner / Prof. Christoph Schär

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Past climate dynamics during the ice ages and the current interglacial are reasonably well understood. In the pre-industrial era orbital changes, solar irradiance variations, volcanic events and internal system variability were mainly responsible for climate variability and change. Present and future climate can only be understood and simulated by considering important anthropogenic forcing factors like greenhouse-gas and aerosol effect, strato-spheric ozone depletion and land-use changes.

Prof. Heinz Wanner / Prof. Christoph Schär

Heinz Wanner studied Geography and Climatology in Bern and Grenoble. After his doctoral thesis dealing with fog and cold air dynamics over the Swiss Plateau his work was centered on synoptic climatology, mesoscale dynamics and mountain meteorology. In 1981 and 1982 he worked as a postdoc at the Atmospheric Science Departement of the Colorado State University in Fort Collins and as a deputy operations director of the GARP mountain subprogramme ALPEX. After 1982 Heinz Wanner’s research was centered on airflow and air pollution (mainly photochemical smog) over complex terrain. After his nomination as a full professor in 1988 he was the co-director of the Swiss POLLUMET (air POLLUtion and METeorology) research programme. In the early 1990s Heinz Wanner started a new research activity dealing with annual to century scale climate variability of the Atlantic – European area and the Northern Hemisphere. Based on multi-proxy reconstructions and model output from GCMs the behaviour of important climate modes (e.g., the North Atlantic Oscillation) is studied. The so-called LOTRED (LOng Term REconstruction and Diagnostics) approach is based on the combined synoptic interpretation of reconstructed SSTs, air pressure, temperature and precipitation fields during the last 500-4000 years.



Christoph Schär has been full Professor in the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science since 2001, previously Assistant and Associate Professor since 1992. He is chairman of the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science and is involved in climate and weather research.

Prof. Schär was born in 1958 and comes from Wil/SG, Switzerland. He studied physics at and obtained a Ph.D. from ETH Zürich. For his doctoral dissertation on the formation of low-pressure systems he received the ETH Zürich medal. He spent two and a half years in research at Yale University (New Haven, CT) and the University of Washington (Seattle, WA). He conducts research on atmospheric dynamics and processes, climate dynamics, and the water cycle. Specific research interests are: hydrological cycle in Europe and the Alpine region, climate variability and climate change, atmospheric flow past topography, numerical methods in atmospheric and climate models.
Christoph Schär works in several national and international committees, among them as chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, GB), as a co-author of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), as an associate editor of the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, and a as member of the SCSC/CSCS research council (Swiss Center for Scientific Computing, Manno).

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