Dr. Stefan Liersch

Senior Scientist

Dr. Stefan Liersch is a distinguished expert in eco-hydrological modelling, integrated analysis of human-ecological systems, climate impact assessment, and co-developing scenarios. He has ample experience with interdisciplinary research in various European and African countries in collaboration with local stakeholders. These include projects on natural resource management in Mali, renewable energy generation in West Africa (project coordinator of CIREG), climate change and adaptation in Ethiopia, vulnerability to climate change in Burundi and droughts in Africa, integrated modelling of the of the Lake Victoria catchment.


Working Group


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2487
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


Main research interests

  • Assessing the impacts of changing global and regional driving forces on socio-ecological systems
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Scenario design and simulation
  • Eco-hydrological modelling


MECCA (2019-2022)

  • Targeting Mental Models of Climate Change Risk to facilitate Climate Action

CIREG (2018-2021)

  • Climate Information for Integrated Renewable Electricity Generation in West Africa
  • Project coordinator


Liersch, S., Koch, H., Abungba, J.A., Salack, S. and F F Hattermann (2023). Attributing synergies and trade-offs in water resources planning and management in the Volta River basin under climate change. Environmental Research Letters 18 (1), Article number: 014032.

Larsen, MAD., Bournhonesque, J., Thiery, W., Halsnæs, K., Hattermann, F., Hoff, H., Salack, S., Adenle, A. and Liersch, S. (2023). Renewable energy planning in Africa: Robustness of mean and extreme multi-model climate change patterns in solar PV and wind energy potentials. Environmental Research Communications.

Hoff, H., Ogeya, M., de Condappa, D., Brecha, R. J.,Larsen, M. A. D., Halsnaes, K., Salack, S., Sanfo, S., Sterl, S. & Liersch, S. (2023). Stakeholder-guided, model-based scenarios for a climate- and water-smart electricity transition in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Energy Strategy Reviews, 49, 101149

Sambou, M. H. A., Albergel, J., Vissin, E. W., Liersch, S., Koch, H., Szantoi, Z., Baba, W., Sane, M. L. & Toure, I. (2023). Prediction of land use and land cover change in two watersheds in the Senegal River basin (West Africa) using the Multilayer Perceptron and Markov chain model . European Journal of Remote Sensing, Taylor & Francis, 56 (1), Article number: 2231137.

Sambou, M.H.A., Liersch, S., Koch, H, Vissin, E.W., Albergel, J., Sane, M.L. (2023). Synergies and Trade-Offs in Water Resources Management in the Bafing Watershed under Climate Change. Water 15(11). DOI: 10.3390/w15112067


Seyni Salack, Safiétou Sanfo, Moussa Sidibe, Elidaa K. Daku, Ibrahima Camara, Mame Diarra Bousso Dieng, Koufanou Hien, Bio Mohamadou Torou, Kehinde O. Ogunjobi, Sheick Ahmed Khalil S. B. Sangare, Konan Raoul Kouame, Yao Bernard Koffi, Stefan Liersch, Moumini Savadogo & Alessandra Giannini (2022). Low-cost adaptation options to support green growth in agriculture, water resources, and coastal zones. Nature Scientific Reports 12, Article number: 17898 (2022).

Yangouliba, G.I., Zoungrana, B.J.B., Hackman, K.O., Koch, H., Liersch, S., Sintondji, L.O., Dipama, J.M., Kwawuvi, D., Ouedraogo, V., Yabré, S., Bonkoungou, B., Sougué, M., Gadiaga, A., Koffi, B. (2022). Modelling past and future land use and land cover dynamics in the Nakambe River Basin, West Africa. Modeling Earth Systems and Environment.

Yangouliba, G. I., Koch, H., Liersch, S., Sintondji, L. O., Sidibé, M., Larbi, I., Limantol, A. M., Yira, Y., Dipama, J.M., Kwawuvi, D. (2022). Impacts of hydro-climatic trends and upstream water management on hydropower generation at the Bagré dam. Journal of Water and Climate Change 13, 2399–2413.

Rivas-López, M. R., Liersch, S., Menz, C., Lange, S. & Hattermann, F. F. (2022). Potential hydro-meteorological impacts over Burundi from climate change. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 42, 101130.


Sterl, S., Fadly, D., Liersch, S., Koch, H. and Thiery, W. (2021). Linking solar and wind power in eastern Africa with operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Nature Energy 6, 407–418.

Book chapter

Bakken, T.H., Harby, A., Liersch, S., Koch, H. (2021). Hydropower Reservoirs—Benefits and Challenges. In: Letcher, T. (Ed.) Comprehensive Renewable Energy. 2nd Edition, March 1, 2022, Elsevier, ISBN: 9780128197271.


Koch, H., Silva, A.L.C., Liersch, S., de Azevedo, J.R.G. and F.F. Hattermann (2020). Effects of model calibration on hydrological and water resources management simulations under climate change in a semi-arid watershed. Climatic Change.

Liersch, S., Drews, M., Pilz, T., Salack, S., Sietz, D., Aich, V., Larsen, M. A. D., Gädeke, A., Halsnæs, K., Thiery, W., Huang, S., Lobanova, A., Koch, H. & Hattermann, F. (2020). One simulation, different conclusions - the baseline period makes the difference! Environmental Research Letters 15 (10), 104014.

Schneiderbauer, S., Baunach, D., Pedoth, L., Renner, K., Fritzsche, K., Bollin, C., Pregnolato, M., Zebisch, M., Liersch, S., Rivas López, M. R., Ruzima, S. (2020). Spatial-Explicit Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments Based on Impact Chains. Findings from a Case Study in Burundi. Sustainability 12(16), 6354.

Adamou, H., Ibrahim, B., Salack, S., Adamou, R. Sanfo, S. and S. Liersch (2020). Physico-chemical and bacteriological quality of groundwater in a rural area of Western Niger: a case study of Bonkoukou. Journal of Water and Health 18 (1), 70-99.


Larsen, M.; Petrovic, S.; Engström, R.; Drews, M.; Liersch, S.; Karlsson, K. & Howells, M. (2019). Challenges of data availability: Analysing the water-energy nexus in electricity generation. Energy Strategy Reviews 26, 100426.

Md Mominul Haque, Ousmane Seidou, Abdolmajid Mohammadian, Abdouramane Gado Djibo, Stefan Liersch, Samuel Fournet, Sara Karam, Edangodage Duminda Pradeep Perera and Martin Kleynhans (2019): Improving the Accuracy of Hydrodynamic Simulations in Data Scarce Environments Using Bayesian Model Averaging: A Case Study of the Inner Niger Delta, Mali, West Africa. Water 2019, 11(9), 1766;

Liersch, S., Fournet, S., Koch, H., Djibo, A.G., Reinhardt, J., Kortlandt, J., Van Weert, F., Seidou, O., Klop, E., Baker, C. and F.F. Hattermann (2019). Water resources planning in the Upper Niger River basin: Are there gaps between water demand and supply? Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 21: 176-194.


Huang, S.; Kumar, R.; Rakovec, O.; Aich, V.; Wang, X.; Samaniego, L.; Liersch, S. & Krysanova, V. (2018). Multimodel assessment of flood characteristics in four large river basins at global warming of 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0 K above the pre-industrial level. Environmental Research Letters 13, 124005.

Koch, H., Liersch, S., de Azevedo, J.R.G., Silva, A.L.C., Hattermann, F.F. (2018). Assessment of observed and simulated low flow indices for a highly managed river basin. Hydrology Research 49(6): 1831-1846.

Hattermann, F. F.; Wortmann, M.; Liersch, S.; Toumi, R.; Sparks, N.; Genillard, C.; Schröter, K.; Steinhausen, M.; Gyalai-Korpos, M.; Máté, K.; Hayes, B.; del Rocío Rivas López, M.; Rácz, T.; Nielsen, M. R.; Kaspersen, P. S. & Drews, M. (2018). Simulation of flood hazard and risk in the Danube basin with the Future Danube Model. Climate Services.

Yalew, S.; Pilz, T.; Schweitzer, C.; Liersch, S.; van der Kwast, J.; van Griensven, A.; Mul, M.; Dickens, C. & van der Zaag, P. (2018). Coupling land-use change and hydrologic models for quantification of catchment ecosystem services. Environmental Modelling & Software.

Sterl, S.; Liersch, S.; Koch, H.; Van Lipzig, N.P.M & Thiery, W. (2018). A new approach for assessing synergies of solar and wind power: implications for West Africa. Environmental Research Letters 13: 094009.

Lobanova, A.; Liersch, S.; Nunes, J. P.; Didovets, I.; Stagl, J.; Huang, S.; Koch, H.; del Rocio Rivas Lopez, M.; Maule, C. F.; Hattermann, F. & Krysanova, V. (2018). Hydrological impacts of moderate and high-end climate change across European river basins. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 18: 15-30.

Liersch, S., Tecklenburg, J., Rust, H., Dobler, A., Fischer, M., Kruschke, T., Koch, H. and F.F. Hattermann (2018). Are we using the right fuel to drive hydrological models? A climate impact study in the Upper Blue Nile. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 22(4): 2163-2185.

Hattermann, F. F.; Vetter, T.; Breuer, L.; Su, B.; Daggupati, P.; Donnelly, C.; Fekete, B.; Flörke, F.; Gosling, S. N.; Hoffmann, P.; Liersch, S.; Masaki, Y.; Motovilov, Y.; Müller, C.; Samaniego, L.; Stacke, T.; Wada, Y.; Yang, T. & Krysnaova, V. (2018). Sources of uncertainty in hydrological climate impact assessment: a cross-scale study. Environmental Research Letters, 13, 015006.

Reinhardt, J.; S. Liersch; M. Abdeladhim; M. Diallo; C. Dickens; S. Fournet; F. Hattermann; C. Kabaseke; M. Muhumuza; M. Mul; T. Pilz; I. Otto; A.Walz (2018). Systematic evaluation of scenario assessments supporting sustainable integrated natural resources management: Evidence from four case studies in Africa. Ecology & Society 23(1):5.


Liersch, S., Koch, H., Hattermann, F.F. (2017). Management Scenarios of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Their Impacts Under Recent and Future Climates. Water, 9(10). doi:10.3390/w9100728.

Lobanova, A., Liersch, S., Tàbara, J.D., Koch, H., Hattermann, F.F. and V. Krysanova (2017): Harmonizing human-hydrological systems under climate change: a scenario-based approach for the case of the headwaters of the Tagus River. Journal of Hydrology, 548, p. 436-447.

Teklesadik, A. D., Alemayehu, T., van Griensven, A., Kumar, R., Liersch, S., Eisner, S., Tecklenburg, J., Ewunte, S. and X. Wang (2017): Inter-model comparison of hydrological impacts of climate change on the Upper Blue Nile basin using ensemble of hydrological models and global climate models. Climatic change 141 (3). p. 517-532.

Huang, SC; Kumar, R; Flörke, M; Yang, T; Hundecha, Y; Kraft, P; Gao, C; Gelfan, A; Liersch, S; Lobanova, A; Strauch, M; van Ogtrop, F; Reinhardt, J; Haberlandt, U; Krysanova, V (2017). Evaluation of an ensemble of regional hydrological models in 12 large-scale river basins worldwide. Climatic Change 141 (3). p. 381-397.


Lobanova, A., Koch, H., Liersch, S., Hattermann, F. F. and V. Krysanova (2016). Impacts of changing climate on the hydrology and hydropower production of the Tagus River basin. Hydrological Processes.

Aich, V.; Liersch, S.; Vetter, T.; Fournet, S.; Andersson, J. C.; Calmanti, S.; van Weert, F. H.; Hattermann, F. F. & Paton, E. N. (2016). Flood projections within the Niger River Basin under future land use and climate change. Science of The Total Environment, 562, 666-677.

before 2016

Aich, V., Liersch, S., Vetter, T., Andersson, J., Müller, E.N. and F.F. Hattermann (2015). Climate or land use? Attribution of changes in river flooding in the Sahel Zone. Water 7(6), 2796-2820.

Krysanova, V., F. Hattermann, Sh. Huang, C. Hesse, T. Vetter, S. Liersch, H. Koch and Z. W. Kundzewicz (2015). Modelling climate and land use change impacts with SWIM: lessons learnt from multiple applications. Hydrological Sciences Journal 60(4), 606-635.

Aich, V., Liersch, S., Vetter, T., Huang, S., Tecklenburg, J., Hoffmann, P., Koch, H., Fournet, S., Krysanova, V., Müller, E., and Hattermann, F. (2014): Comparing impacts of climate change on streamflow in four large African river basins, HESS. Sci.18, 1305–1321, doi:10.5194/hess-18-1305-2014.

Brocca, L., Liersch, S., Melone, F., Moramarco, T. and M. Volk (2013): Application of a model-based rainfall-runoff database as efficient tool for flood risk management. HESS. doi:10.5194/hess-17-3159-2013.

Koch, H., Liersch, S. and F. F. Hattermann (2013): Integrating water resources management in eco-hydrological modelling. Water Science & Technology. 67 (7) 1525–1533. doi:10.2166/wst.2013.022

Johnston, R., Cools, J., Liersch, S., Morardet, S., Murgue, C., Mahieu, M., Zsuffa, I., Uyttendaele, G.P. (2013). WETwin: A structured approach to evaluating wetland management options in data-poor contexts. Environmental Science & Policy. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2012.12.006

Liersch, S., Cools, J., Kone, B., Koch, H., Diallo, M., Reinhardt, J., Fournet, S., Aich, V. and F.F. Hattermann (2013). Vulnerability of rice production in the Inner Niger Delta to water resources management under climate variability and change. Environmental Science & Policy 34, 18-33. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2012.10.014

Cools, J., Diallo, M., Boelee, E., Liersch, S., Coertjens, D., Vandenberghe, V. and B. Kone (2012). Integrating human health into wetland management for the Inner Niger Delta, Mali. Environmental Science & Policy. doi

Giordano, R. and S. Liersch (2012). A fuzzy GIS-based system to integrate local and technical knowledge in soil salinity monitoring. Environmental Modelling & Software. doi

Giordano, R., Liersch, S., Vurro, M. and D. Hirsch (2010). Integrating local and technical knowledge to support soil salinity monitoring in the Amudarya river basin. Journal of Environmental Management 91 (8). 1718-29. doi.

Hirsch, D., G. Abrami, R. Giordano, S. Liersch, N. Matin, and M. Schlüter (2010). Participatory research for adaptive water management in a transition country – a case study from Uzbekistan. Ecology and Society 15(3): 23. [online]

Volk, M., Liersch, S. and G. Schmidt (2009). Towards the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive?: Lessons learned from water quality simulations in an agricultural watershed. Land Use Policy (26). pp. 580-588. doi.

Volk, M., J. Hirschfeld, A. Dehnhardt G. Schmidt, C. Bohn, S. Liersch and P.W. Gassman (2008). Integrated Ecological-Economic Modelling of Water Pollution Abatement Management Options in the Upper Ems River. Ecological Economics (66), pp. 66-76. doi

Volk, M., Hirschfeld, J.,Schmidt, G. Bohn, C., Dehnhardt, A., Liersch, S. and L. Lymburner (2007). A SDSS-based Ecological-economic Modelling Approach. Water Resources Management (21), pp. 2049-2061. doi

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