Dr. Michel Wortmann

Postdoctoral Researcher
I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Hydroclimatic Risks, Climate Resilience group. I develop, implement and validate geophysical models to investigate changes to water-related risks (floods, freshwater availability, droughts) in the past, present and future, specifically related to long-term climate change. I hold a PhD in Hydrology from University College London (UCL), UK, where I also graduated with a BSc in Physical Geography in 2011. I have extensive experience in research software engineering and reproducible research. I am an outspoken advocate and contributor of open-source software and an avid Python developer.


Working Group


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2546
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


My current research focuses on building regional flood hazard models to assess flood risk under current and future climatic conditions. I also have experience in glacierised mountainous catchments, their systematic precipitation bias and glaciological changes. My methodological toolkit consists of:

  • regional hydrological and hydrodynamic flood modelling
  • stochastic flood risk assessments for the insurance sector
  • regional hydrological and glacio-hydrological modelling
  • geospatial models and processing
  • multi-temporal remote sensing
  • evolutionary model optimisation

Climate Change and Health in sub-Saharan Africa (2019 – 2022)

Bio-physical modelling of multiple catchments mainly in Burkina Faso and Kenya (as part of Central Project 2).

H2020_Insurance (2017 – ongoing)

Work package leader of the Danube regional multi-hazard, multi-risk model in a EU H2020 innovations project in collaboration with insurance sector partners.

OASIS (2016 – 2017)

Prototyping a regional flood hazard model for implementation in the OASIS Loss Modelling Framework.

Sumario (2011 – 2016)

Sustainable management of the river oases along the Tarim River (NW China).

For my PhD I worked on the glacio-hydrological modelling of the Tarim tributaries, extending the current SWIM model for the arid, glacier and snow-melt dominated catchments. The work was conducted as part of the SuMaRiO project under the supervision of Dr Valentina Krysanova at PIK and Dr. Julian Thompson and Prof. Jon French at UCL.