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Lionel Benoit

Research scientist (chargé de recherche) at INRAE in Biostatistics and Spatial Processes (BioSP) team.

Member of the chair GEOLEARNING.



Contact information:

Domaine St. Paul, 228 route de l'Aérodrome, 84914 Avignon (France).

Email: lionel.benoit@inrae.fr

Researcher ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8182-0152


Research interests:

I study the spatiotemporal statistics of weather at the local scale, their linkages with climate, and their impacts on hydro-systems.


  • Space-time geostatistics.
  • Stochastic weather generators.
  • Statistical meteorology.
  • Environmental Sensor Networks (ESNs) for local scale and in-situ weather monitoring.


  • Statistical enhancement (quality-check, filtering, interpolation, gap-filling) of ESN data.
  • Characterization and simulation of rainfall space-time bevahior, with focus on orographic effects and intermittency.
  • Hydro-meteorology.


Current research:

Spatio-temporal stochastic rainfall modeling (collab. with Chaire Geolearning):

This work aims at developing new stochastic rainfall generators able to reproduce the main features of space-time rain fields (in particular non-stationarity and intermittency):

  1. At high temporal resolution (1 - 10 min) to explore the variability of rainfall intensity at city- or catchment-scale.
  2. At daily resolution to explore the variability of rain accumulation over a mountain range or an entire river basin catchment.


Application to hydro-meteorology:

  1. Mapping orographic effects in Pacific islands (collab. with University of Hawai‘i - WRRC and University of French Polynesia - GePaSud) and in the Alps (collab. with University of Lausanne - IDYST).
  2. Stochastic weather generation for plant health epidemiological surveillance (collab. with BEYOND project).
  3. Combining in-situ stream intermittence observations and regional scale hydro-climatic projections in view of evaluating the evolution of stream intermittence in a changing climate (collab. with INRAE-RiverLy).



  • Benoit L, Sichoix L (2023), Sub-daily rainfall patterns in the mountainous regions of the Island of Tahiti: insights from a one-year rain gauge network expansion, Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 50, 101559, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrh.2023.101559.
  • Peleg N, Torelló-Sentelles H, Mariethoz G, Benoit L, Leitão J, Marra F (2023), Brief communication: the potential use of low-cost acoustic sensors in short-term urban flood warnings, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 23, 1233–1240, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-23-1233-2023.
  • Benoit L, Sichoix L, Nugent A, Lucas M, Giambelluca T (2022), Stochastic daily rainfall generation on tropical islands with complex topography, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 26, 2113–2129, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-2113-2022.
  • Nussbaumer R, Bauer S, Benoit L, Mariethoz G, Liechti F, Schmid B (2021), Quantifying year-round nocturnal bird migration with a fluid dynamics model, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 18, 20210194, https://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2021.0194.
  • Michelon A, Benoit L, Beria H, Ceperley N, Schaefli B (2021), Benefits from high-density rain gauge observations for hydrological response analysis in a small alpine catchment, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 25, 2301-2325, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-25-2301-2021.
  • Benoit L (2021), Radar and rain gauge data fusion based on disaggregation of radar imagery, Water Resources Research, 27, e2020WR027899, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020WR027899.
  • Benoit LLucas M, Tseng H, Huang Y-F, Tsang Y-P, Nugent A, Giambelluca T, Mariethoz G (2021), High space-time resolution observation of extreme orographic rain gradients in a Pacific Island catchment, Frontiers in Earth Science: Hydrosphere, 8, 546246, https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2020.546246.
  • Benoit L, Vrac M, Mariethoz G (2020), Nonstationary stochastic rain type generation: accounting for climate drivers, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24, 2841-2854, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-24-2841-2020.
  • Nussbaumer R, Benoit L, Mariethoz G, Liechti F, Bauer S, Schmid B (2019), A geostatistical approach to estimate high resolution nocturnal bird migration densities from a weather radar network, Remote Sensing, 11, 2233, https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11192233.
  • Benoit L, Gourdon A, Vallat R, Irarrazaval I, Gravey M, Lehmann B, Prasicek G, Graff D, Herman F, Mariethoz G (2019), A high-resolution image time series of the Gorner Glacier – Swiss Alps – derived from repeated UAV surveys, Earth System Science data, 11, 579-588, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-11-579-2019.
  • Benoit L, Vrac M, Mariethoz G (2018), Dealing with non-stationarity in sub-daily stochastic rainfall models, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22, 5919–5933, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-5919-2018.
  • Benoit L, Allard D, Mariethoz G (2018), Stochastic Rainfall Modeling at Sub-kilometer Scale, Water Resources Research, 54, 4108-4130, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018WR022817.
  • Benoit L, Mariethoz G (2017), Generating synthetic rainfall with geostatistical simulations, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1199.
  • Lombardi D, Benoit L, Camelbeeck T, Martin O, Meynard C, Thom C (2016), Bimodal pattern of seismicity detected at the ocean margin of an Antarctic ice shelf, Geophysical Journal International, 206, 1375–1381, https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggw214.
  • Benoit L, Dehecq A, Pham H-T, Vernier F, Trouve E, Moreau L, Martin O, Thom C, Pierrot-Deseilligny M, Briole P (2015), Multi-method monitoring of Glacier d’Argentiere dynamics, Annals of Glaciology, 56, 118-128, https://doi.org/10.3189/2015AoG70A985.
  • Benoit L, Briole P, Martin O, Thom C, Malet JP, Ulrich P (2015), Monitoring landslide displacements with the Geocube wireless network of low-cost GPS, Engineering Geology, 195, 111-121, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2015.05.020.
  • Benoit L, Briole P, Martin 0, Thom C (2014), Real-time deformation monitoring by a wireless network of low-cost GPS, Journal of Applied Geodesy, 119–128, https://doi.org/10.1515/jag-2013-0023.


Most of the software related to the above papers is open-source and freely available in my GitHub repository: https://github.com/LionelBenoit



Since 2021: Research scientist at INRAE-BioSP (Avignon, France).

2020-2021: Post-doctoral research fellow at University of Hawai‘i - WRRC (Honolulu, USA) and University of French Polynesia - GePaSud (Puna'auia, French Polynesia).

2015-2019: PhD student at University of Lausanne - IDYST - Gaia Lab (Lausanne, Switzerland). Thesis: High resolution stochastic modeling of local rain fields.

2011-2014: PhD student at the French mapping agency (IGN) - LASTIG (Saint-Mandé, France) and Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - Laboratoire de Géologie (Paris, France). Thesis: Real-time deformation monitoring by a wireless network of low-cost GPS.

2008-2010: Engineering School student at Ecole Nationale des Sciences Géographiques (Champs-sur-Marne, France). Thesis: Reprocessing of the French national gravimetric network.