Skip to main content

Pellicciotti Group

Cryosphere and Mountain Hydrosphere

Models are a powerful tool to understand the relationships between Earth’s climate and surface features. Francesca Pellicciotti uses models to study the interactions of the climate—especially a changing climate—and glaciers, snow, and water resources, to name a few.

Her work includes a variety of projects: She is modelling glacier response to a changing climate and the effect of high elevation water resources on water security. She also works on understanding debris-covered glaciers and their response to climate. She is studying snow and its significance for catchments water balance, as well as green-blue water interactions in high mountains. With her group, she is currently investigating the only growing glaciers in the world, those in the Pamir-Karakoram region of Asia. The goal is to understand the causes of this anomalous state. The members of the research group also look at how glaciers provide vital water during megadroughts worldwide, and when their buffer role will reach a tipping point. Pellicciotti works on a range of scales, from single glaciers to entire mountain regions. Her field work has taken her from Nepal to Chile. She studies glaciers from the Himalayas to the Andes. Her methodology is equally broad: She is using numerical models of different complexity, including land surface models, and combines them with data from field research and remote sensing, and data science to understand the role of the mountain cryosphere in a changing world.


Image of Sara Bonomelli

Sara Bonomelli

PhD Student

Image of Adrià Fontrodona-Bach

Adrià Fontrodona-Bach


Image of Catriona Fyffe

Catriona Fyffe


Image of Haruki Hagiwara

Haruki Hagiwara

PhD Student

Image of Achille Jouberton

Achille Jouberton

Predoctoral Visiting Scientist

Image of Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy


Image of Juan Melo Velasco

Juan Melo Velasco

PhD Student

Image of Vinisha Varghese

Vinisha Varghese

PhD Student

Current Projects

Modelling glacier-climate interactions | Glacier response to a changing climate and high elevation water resources and water security | Green-blue water interactions in high mountain catchments | Debris covered glaciers and their response to climate | Snow processes and its importance for catchments water balance


Buri P, Fatichi S, Shaw T, Fyffe CL, Miles ES, McCarthy M, Kneib M, Ren S, Jouberton A, Fugger S, Jia L, Zhang J, Shen C, Zheng C, Menenti M, Pellicciotti F. Land surface modeling informed by earth observation data: Toward understanding blue–green–white water fluxes in High Mountain Asia. Geo-Spatial Information Science. View

Fugger S, Shaw T, Jouberton A, Miles E, Buri P, McCarthy M, Fyffe CL, Fatichi S, Kneib M, Molnar P, Pellicciotti F. Hydrological regimes and evaporative flux partitioning at the climatic ends of High Mountain Asia. Environmental Research Letters. View

Shaw T, Buri P, McCarthy M, Miles ES, Pellicciotti F. 2024. Local controls on near-surface glacier cooling under warm atmospheric conditions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 129(2), e2023JD040214. View

Salerno F, Guyennon N, Yang K, Shaw T, Lin C, Colombo N, Romano E, Gruber S, Bolch T, Alessandri A, Cristofanelli P, Putero D, Diolaiuti G, Tartari G, Verza G, Thakuri S, Balsamo G, Miles ES, Pellicciotti F. 2023. Local cooling and drying induced by Himalayan glaciers under global warming. Nature Geoscience. 16, 1120–1127. View

Buri P, Fatichi S, Shaw T, Miles ES, McCarthy M, Fyffe CL, Fugger S, Ren S, Kneib M, Jouberton A, Steiner J, Fujita K, Pellicciotti F. 2023. Land surface modeling in the Himalayas: On the importance of evaporative fluxes for the water balance of a high-elevation catchment. Water Resources Research. 59(10), e2022WR033841. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Francesca Pellicciotti


Since 2023 Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
Since 2018 Group Leader, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Switzerland
2017 – 2022 Associate Professor, Northumbria University, UK
2013 – 2018 Visiting Scientist, ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal
2007 – 2014 Senior Researcher, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2004 – 2007 Postdoctoral research associate, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2000 – 2004 PhD Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Selected Distinctions

2020, 2022 ERC Consolidator Panel Member
2021 PAMIR (From ice to microorganisms and humans: Toward an interdisciplinary understanding of climate change impacts on the Third Pole)
2019 Convener, Debris-covered glaciers session at IUGG in Montreal
since 2018 Chair, IASC Working Group on Debris-covered glaciers
since 2018 Scientific Editor, The Cryosphere
2017 ERC Consolidator Grant: RAVEN (on debris-covered glaciers of High Mountain Asia)
since 2016 Member of Steering Committee, INARCH (The International Network for Alpine Research Catchment Hydrology)

Additional Information

Download CV

theme sidebar-arrow-up
Back to Top