Jürg Luterbacher, Professor

Jürg Luterbacher, Professor

Director, Science & Innovation, and WMO Chief Scientist

Professor Jürg Luterbacher has been the Director of Science and Innovation since January 2020 and the WMO Chief Scientist since May 2020.

Prof. Luterbacher brings strong leadership skills for the development of efficient collaboration between operational communities and research, cross-cutting and interdisciplinary science, in fostering teamwork between institutions in developing and developed countries. He has demonstrated effectiveness in cooperating with policy-makers and stakeholders.

Prof. Jürg Luterbacher, born 1968 in Solothurn (Switzerland), studied physical Geography, botany, chemistry and geology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He was awarded a PhD in Climate Science from by the Faculty of Science, University of Bern. He worked as operational chief weather forecaster at Meteotest, Switzerland. Over the past 10 years, Prof. Luterbacher has been the Chair of Climatology, Climate Dynamics and Climate Change, for two years Director of the Department of Geography, and member of the Centre for international Development and Environmental Research at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany.

Prof. Luterbacher has demonstrated leadership and excellence in a broad spectrum of climate science and contributed significantly to the holistic Climate-Earth System approach. He is a pioneer in paleoclimate science, modelling past and present climate across various time and space scales. He has contributed significantly to bridging the gap and understanding historical, current and future climate change, weather and climate extremes and impacts on ecosystems and societies. He developed and implemented the PAGES research strategy on climate change and impact in Europe and the Mediterranean, covering the past 2000 years, and co-chaired numerous activities in Asia.

The results of Prof Luterbacher’s research have been presented in more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. He has repeatedly received recognition as the Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Geosciences. He was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report (AR5) chapter 5 “Information from Paleoclimate Archives” and a contributing author in AR4. He has recently published a book for Bachelor students on the Basics in Climatology. In addition, he served as an editor for various meteorology and climatology journals.

Prof. Luterbacher is a recipient of the Senior Visiting Scientist Award of the Chinese Academy of Science, the Scientific Research Expert of the Academy of Athens and the Medal for outstanding scientific contribution in teaching (University of Brno, Czech Republic). He has had several longer research stays at the University of Arizona (Tucson) and at the Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research in Beijing, China. Prof. Luterbacher is an elected member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature / Mainz, Germany.

Prof. Luterbacher is a member of a High-Level Advisory Group for an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) project on Losses and Damages from Climate Change supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).  He is also in the Scientific Advisory Board of the Centre for Climate Change Research, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland.