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Expertise und research projects

Our research activities can be grouped into five complementary topical domains: natural hazards researchglacial and periglacial researchspeleological researchweathering research and human-environment research. The research projects of the group are funded by third party funds or are internally funded. In Austria, we cooperate with research institutes as well as stakeholders across the fields of geography, nature conservation, environmental protection, forestry, hydraulic engineering, geology, climatology, and natural hazards. Apart from that, we also cooperate with research institutes around the globe. Our key research areas include (but are not limited to) the Alps, the tropical Andes and the Caucasus.



The mass flow simulation tool (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • Fischer J.T., Kofler A., Huber A., Fellin W., Mergili M. , Oberguggenberger M., 2020: Bayesian inference in snow avalanche simulation with r.avaflow. Geosciences 10: 191. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10050191
  • Mergili M., Jaboyedoff M., Pullarello J., Pudasaini S.P. 2020: Back-calculation of the 2017 Piz Cengalo-Bondo landslide cascade with r.avaflow. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 20: 505-520. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-20-505-2020

The open source GIS slope stability model (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • Palacio J., Mergili M., Aristizábal E., 2020: Probabilistic landslide susceptibility analysis in tropical mountainous terrain using the physically based r.slope.stability model. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 20: 815–829. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-20-815-2020

A multi-functional conceptual tool for mass movement routing (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

Glacial lakes of Peru (GLOP)
The GLOP project aims at understanding the distribution, temporal development and changes in glacial lakes and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) across the Peruvian Andes. Specific objectives include climate change modelling, glacial lake mapping and GLOF hazard assessment and modelling. The team consists of experts from the UK, Peru and Austria. (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • Mergili M., Pudasaini S.P., Emmer A., Fischer J.T., Cochachin A., Frey H., 2020: Reconstruction of the 1941 multi-lake outburst flood at Lake Palcacocha (Cordillera Blanca, Peru). Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 24: 93-114. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-24-93-2020
  • Emmer, A., Harrison, S., Mergili, M., Allen, S., Frey, H., Huggel, C. (2020): 70 years of lake evolution and glacial lake outburst floods in the Cordillera Blanca (Peru) and implications for the future. Geomorphology: 107178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107178
  • Emmer, A., Wood, J.L., Cook, S.J., Harrison, S., Wilson, R., Diaz-Moreno, A., Reynolds, J.M., Torres, J.C., Yarleque, C., Mergili, M., Jara, H.W., Bennett, G., Caballero, A., Glasser, N.F., Melgarejo, E., Riveros, C., Shannon, S., Turpo, E., Tinoco, T., Torres, L., Garay, D., Villafane, H., Garrido, H., Martinez, C., Apaza, N., Araujo, J., Poma, C., 2022. 160 Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) across the Tropical Andes since the Little Ice Age. Global and Planetary Change, 208(1), 103722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103722

Natural hazards map of Feldbach
The main objective of this project is to create natural hazards map for the municipality of Feldbach, Eastern Styria (Funding: Austrian program for rural development, 2014-2020, completed)
Selected publications:

  • No publications yet.

Natural hazard management of alpine torrents (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • Kamp N., Langegger F., Funder M., 2018: Naturgefahrenmanagement von Alpinen Wildbacheinzusgebieten: Konzeption, Implementierung und Validierung von pyAlpineRisk. In: Wildbach- und Lawinenverbau. Zeitschrift für Wildbach-, Lawinen-, Erosions- und Steinschlagschutz. Schutz vor Naturgefahren - Ökologische Aspekte, 182, 356-367.
  • Kamp N., Langegger F., 2018: GIS-Tool zur Ermittlung des Stauraumes von Geschiebesperren und Hochwasserrückhaltebecken. In: Wildbach- und Lawinenverbau. Zeitschrift für Wildbach-, Lawinen-, Erosions- und Steinschlagschutz. Sperrenbau - Sperrentypen – Sperrenfunktionen, 181,324-327.

Modelling future runoff and sediment transport in alpine torrents (together with CC-MoRe research group) (Funding: ACRP) 



Monitoring of Pasterze glacier 
Annual observation of changes of the Pasterze glacier and surrounding glaciers in the area (funding: Austrian Alpine Club (ÖAV))
Selected publications:

  • Lieb G.K., Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., 2018: Die Pasterze, Österreichs größter Gletscher, und seine lange Messreihe in einer Ära massiven Gletscherschwundes. Fischer, A., G. Patzelt, M. Achrainer, G. Groß, G. K. Lieb, A. Kellerer-Pirklbauer & G. Bendler (eds): Gletscher im Wandel: 125 Jahre Gletschermessdienst des Alpenvereins. Berlin. Springer Spektrum. 2018. 31-51. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-55540-8_4
  • Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., Kulmer B., 2019: The evolution of brittle and ductile structures at the surface of a partly debris-covered, rapidly thinning and slowly moving glacier in 1998–2012 (Pasterze Glacier, Austria). Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 44, 1034–1049. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4552


Permafrost monitoring in the Hohe and Niederen Tauern
Monitoring of permafrost and permafrost-related landforms in the Hohe and Niederen Tauern and their relationship to climate and climate change (funding: Austrian Alpine Club (ÖAV) and funding of the Hohe Tauern National Park)
Selected publications:


Long-term ecosystem monitoring - Cryosphere
Long-term ecosystem monitoring in the Hohe Tauern National Park: Module 07: Cryosphere: glaciers, hydroclimate, permafrost (Funding: funding of the Hohe Tauern National Park)
Selected publications:


Glacier measureing service
Coordination and management of the glacier measuring service of the Austrian Alpine Club (Funding: Austrian Alpine Club (ÖAV))
Selected publications:


The hidden ice of the Pasterze
Quantification and monitoring of dead ice deposits in the forefield of Austria's largest glacier (funding: Glockner Eco Fund, completed)
Selected publications:

  • Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., Avian M., Benn D.I., Bernsteiner F., Krisch P., Ziesler C., 2020: Buoyant calving and ice-contact lake evolution at Pasterze Glacier (Austria) in the period 1998–2019, The Cryosphere Discuss., in review. https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-227
  • Seier G., Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., Sulzer W., Ziesler C., Krisch P., Abermann J., Lieb G.K., 2020: The rapid glacial-proglacial landscape modification at Pasterze Glacier in a one-year period as revealed by multiple aerial flight and field campaigns. EGU2020-9224. https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9224



Geophysics and morphometry
Application of geophysical and geotechnical methods in speleology (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • Bauer C., Droin A., 2020: Ableitung hochauflösender Geländemodelle in Höhlen mittels photogrammetrischem Verfahren zur Analyse mikroskaliger Karstformen. Landesverein für Höhlenkunde in der Steiermark, 48: 37-41.
  • Kaufmann V., Bauer C., Strmsek B., Mikl T., 2020: Naturräumliche Gegebenheiten und dreidimensionale Vermessung des Luftschutzstollens Schloss St. Martin, Graz. In: Wunderlich, M. (Hrsg.): Ingenieurvermessung 20 - Beiträge zum 19. Internationalen Ingenieurvermessungskurs München. Wichmann: 451-464.


Regional karst morphology
Quantification of karst morphology with focus on Styria (Funding: intern)
Selected publications:

  • Bauer C., Weissinger A., 2020: Die Karstvorkommen der Leithakalk-Areale entlang der Mittelsteirischen Schwelle (Steirisches Becken). Die Höhle: Zeitschrift für Karst- und Höhlenkunde, 71, 105-119.
  • Bauer C., Plan L. (in print): Karst Landscapes of Austria. International Association of Geomorphologists.



The Role of TEmperature, MOisture and Salts for Weathering Patterns:
Part I: Impact of moisture on rock weathering and on the decay of cultural heritage
Part II: Moisture, salt and weathering dynamics on historic urban walls in Oxford (UK) and Graz (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:



Land use changes in Tafilalet
Climatic and anthropogenic drivers of land use change in Tafilalet, Morocco (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • No publications yet.


Historical environmental research in Admont: Tambora 1815
The Tambora eruption in 1815 and its effects at Admont: Quantification of the long-distance effects of the 1815 Tambora eruption on the meteorological conditions at Admont based on historical weather records. (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • No publications yet.


Historical environmental research in Admont: The Vb cyclone in 1572
Quantification of the effects of a Vb cyclone in 1572 at regional and local scale based on a detailed damage inventory (Funding: internal, completed)
Selected publications:

  • Eulenstein J., Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., 2020: The central European flood of 1572 and its local-scale effects as revealed by a damage inventory. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 65/6, 884-897. https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2020.1716980
  • Eulenstein J., Kellerer-Pirklbauer A., 2019: Interdisziplinarität zwischen Historikern und Geographen im Bereich der Naturgefahrenforschung - Das Beispiel eines Schadeninventars über die Auswirkungen eines Vb Zyklons im Jahr 1572 aus Admont, Österreich. Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft, 161, 189-214. https://doi.org/10.1553/moegg161s189 


Integrative cooperation platfrom Johnsbach Valley
Interdisciplinary cooperation platform in the field of environmental monitoring (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:


Historical environmental research in the Styrian Basin: Wölbäcker
Mapping and analysis of relicts of past agricultural practices (Wölbäcker = ridge-and-furrow structured agricultural land) as an indicator of forest transition (Funding: internal)
Selected publications:

  • No publications yet.


Secretary of the Institute
Heinrichstraße 36 8010 Graz
Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - 5137


Office Hours:
Monday til Friday 10-12 am

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