University of Bern



Rolf Weingartner served as Chair of the Mountain Research Initiative for almost 15 years, before taking a step back at the end of 2019 in order to focus on other projects. He was previously Professor for Hydrology at the Institute of Geography, University of Bern, where he led the Group for Hydrology. 

Rolf was the driving force behind the project HADES, the Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland, a comprehensive scientific reference tool mapping and collating data on water in Switzerland. The result of a huge collaborative effort by Swiss hydrologists, HADES was launched by the Swiss government in 1988 as a means of providing essential information for water conservation and management. The original idea was first developed by Rolf  two years earlier as part of his PhD thesis – and he continues to lead the project three decades on.

Rolf also presides over the Hydrological Commission of the Swiss Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

KeywordsRegionalization in Hydrology, Mountain Hydrology, Flooding, Water in a Changing World, Inter- and Transdisciplinary Approaches, Hydrology of Switzerland, Water Resources.

Rolf Weingartner's research explores three main areas:

  1. In the area of ​​regional hydrology, Rolf deals with the hydrological aspects of mountains (Alps, Himalayas, New Zealand). His many years of extensive research into the hydrology of Switzerland led to, among others, a project to develop a Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland, which he has been leading since 1989.
  2. The impact of climate change on water resources and the associated hydrological risks has become a topic of increasing public interest in recent years. To support a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved,  several projects on different temporal and spatial scales were initiated by the Group for Hydrology at the University of Bern, headed by Rolf Weingartner. These include two field projects supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation in the Crans-Montana region (NFP-61, project MontanAqua) and in the Gotthard region. As part of these projects, CCWasserkraft (swisselectric research, BfE) and CCHydro (FOEN) are studying the effects of climate change on Switzerland, in collaboration with other research groups.
  3. In recent years, the Group for Hydrology has developed several statistical and deterministic flood models, which are also widely used in practice.


Web Link ImageExpert Database

Web Link ImageGroup for Hydrology, Institute of Geography, University of Bern 

Web Link ImageHADES: Hydrologischen Atlas der Schweiz

Web Link Image

Article | 30 Years of HADES: Diving Beneath the Surface of Swiss Hydrology

Web Link Image      Article | A Farewell to MRI Chair Professor Rolf Weingartner

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