Sarah Kamleitner

I am a geomorphologist and Quaternary scientist working in the European Alps and interested in Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene glaciations and their imprint on the Earth’s surface. My research is centered around the reconstruction of past glacier extents and timings with the aim to learn more about the spatial and temporal component of Alpine glacier variations and their potential drivers in the interplay between climate, glacier dynamics, and catchment topography.


I obtained my BSc and MSc degrees in Physical Geography from the University of Vienna with a major in Geomorphology & Risk Research and Geoecology & Quaternary Sciences. In 2018 I moved to Switzerland to pursue a PhD in Earth Science at ETH Zurich supervised by Susan Ivy-Ochs. The project was centered around the reconstruction of timing and dynamics of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) glaciers in the Central Alps. In my studies I combined classic geological techniques such as geomorphological mapping and sedimentological observations with Quaternary dating methods, notably 10Be and 36Cl cosmogenic nuclide dating. Outcomes of my PhD include a new chronology for the LGM Ticino-Toce glacier, extended timelines for the LGM Reuss- and Rhine glaciers as well as a novel reconstruction of paleo ice flow fields derived from preserved subglacial landforms. After defending in June 2022, I continued my research at the Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zurich for another year. In September 2023 I joined the ICE group at UNIL as Postdoc in the RECONILE project, working in close collaboration with the Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics (3G) Group of the University of Zurich.

Within the RECONCILE project, I am compiling and assessing available geochronological information that constrain glacier fluctuations in the Alps over the last 30,000 years. This new database will be a beneficial tool to validate the fit of future glacier model simulations in a quantitative way and will be implemented in the Instructed Glacier Model.


Kamleitner, S., Ivy-Ochs, S., Salcher, B., Reitner, J.M., 2024. Reconstructing basal ice flow patterns of the Last Glacial Maximum Rhine glacier (northern Alpine foreland) based on streamlined subglacial landforms. Earth Surf Process Landf., 49(2), 746-769.

Rettig, L., Kamleitner, S., Mozzi, P., Ribolini, A., Ivy-Ochs, S., Rea, B.R., Monegato, G., Christl, M., Spagnolo, M., 2024. Responses of small mountain glaciers in the Maritime Alps (south-western European Alps) to climatic changes during the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews, 325, 108484.

Jouvet, G., Cohen, D., Russo, E., Buzan, J., Raible, C.C., Haeberli, W., Kamleitner, S., Ivy-Ochs, S., Imhof, M.A., Becker, J.K., Landgraf, A., Fischer, U.H., 2023. Coupled climate-glacier modelling of the last glaciation in the Alps. Journal of Glaciology 1–15.

Kamleitner, S., Ivy-Ochs, S., Manatschal, L., Akçar, N., Christl, M., Vockenhuber, C., Hajdas, I., Synal, H.A., 2023. Last Glacial Maximum glacier fluctuations on the northern Alpine foreland: geomorphological and chronological reconstructions from the Rhine and Reuss glacier systems. Geomorphology 423, 108548.

Monegato, G., Kamleitner, S., Gianotti, F., Martin, S., Scapozza, C., Ivy-Ochs, S., 2022. The Toce-Ticino Ice conveyor belts during the Last Glacial Maximum. Alpine and Mediterranean Quaternary 35, 119–134.

Kamleitner, S., Ivy-Ochs, S., Monegato, G., Gianotti, F., Akçar, N., Vockenhuber, C., Christl, M., Synal, H.A., 2022. The Ticino-Toce glacier system (Swiss-Italian Alps) in the framework of the Alpine Last Glacial Maximum. Quat Sci Rev 279, 107400.

Kamleitner, S., Lachner, J., Steier, P., Weise, S.M., Kraushaar, S., 2019. 129I concentration in a high-mountain environment. Nucl Instrum Methods Phys Res B 456, 193–202.

Contact details

University of Lausanne
Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics
Quartier UNIL-Mouline
Geopolis – Office 3318
CH-1015 Lausanne


University of Zurich
Department of Geography
Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics
Winterthurerstr. 190 – Y25 L92
CH-8057 Zurich