Log in

Log in


PhD-Reports sorted by


Year 2017

Year 2016 Year 2015 Year 2014

Year 2013 Year 2012 Year 2011

Year 2010 Year 2009 Year 2008



A1 A2 A3


B1 B3 B4

B5 B6 B7


C1 C3 C4

C6 C7

D2 D3 D5

D6 D7 D8


Z1 Z2 Z3



By: Philipp Pohlig (B1)
Date: 18/09/2017 – 19/09/2017
Locations: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

The autumn school “Moisture measurement in porous mineral materials” was organised and led by PD Dr. Katja Emmerich, Competence Center for Material Moisture (CMM), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It took place in Karlsruhe from September, 18 to 19. It covered a broad range of topics concerning water content measurements on different scales. The talks were presented by speakers with different scientific backgrounds ranging from physicists, chemists, geoscientists as well as civil, material or electrical engineers. The reason for me to attend the autumn school was due to the fact that I have had to measure and analyse lots of soil moisture data so that the topics of the autumn school fitted very well to my recent working field within my TR32 subproject.

hongjuan zhang

Cosmic ray probe (CRP) site: Kall. Left y-axis is soil moisture and right y-axis is parameter tau value. Blue line is SMAP soil moisture of the grid where Kall site drops. Red line is soil moisture from CRP. Yellow line is area average of TerrSysMP model soil moisture over the SMAP grid. Light blue dash line is tau value. In the title there are properties of this site.
(Please feel free to use this photo)


By: Hongjuan Zhang
Date: 26/03/2017 - 31/05/2017
Locations: Cambridge, MA, USA

The main objective for this two-month visit was trying to integrate the SMAP-data in our model TerrSysMP. Satellite SMAP was launched in January, 2015 to measure the amount of water in the top 5 cm (2 inches) of soil everywhere on Earth’s surface and to produce global maps of surface soil moisture. In the course of its observations, SMAP will also determine if the ground is frozen or thawed in colder areas of the world. SMAP is designed to measure soil moisture over a three-year period, every 2-3 days. This permits changes, around the world, to be observed over time scales ranging from major storms to repeated measurements of changes over the seasons. The data from SMAP will help to monitor the drought, predict floods and forecast the weather condition.

During my study in MIT, I processed the SMAP data for Rur Catchment. SMAP has 4 levels of datasets with various grid resolutions. We used the level 3 data with 9km grid resolution. Firstly, I cut the SMAP data for the Rur Catchment. Then I compared the soil moisture results from cosmic ray sites, SMAP soil moisture and our TerrsSysMP model prediction. Cosmic ray probes provided point scale measurements, SMAP data was for spatial scale (9km) and TerrSysMP model was also for spatial scale (0.5km). I calculated the SMAP grids which included the cosmic ray sites, and in which model grids were averaged. Then the three types of data were compared. We found that SMAP data was generally drier than cosmic ray data (almost all cosmic ray sites, except for a forest site ‘Wildenrath’), while soil moisture from model was always over saturated.

By: Thirza van Laar IGMK Cologne (C4)
Date: 03.09.2017-08.09.2017
Locations: Ascona, Switzerland

The week in Switzerland started on the Sunday afternoon with an introductory talk by Christopher Bretherton. Unfortunately we missed the largest part of this talk due to a cancelled flight in the morning. Luckily the rest of the talks during the summer school were just as interesting. There were a couple of different sessions, the topics they covered were: high-resolution observations, high-resolution models: processes and projections, extreme events, and exploitation of emerging hardware architectures. The presentation of my poster was scheduled in the session on high-resolution modelling and turned out to be very well visited (Presentation title: What controls the cloud size distribution of continental shallow cumulus cloud populations?).

By: Thirza van Laar, Tobias Marke
Date: 22.06.-23.06.2017
Locations: Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology - Cologne, RWTH Aachen

In the framework of the IRTG invited speaker program we were glad to invite Jordi Vila for a visit in Cologne and in Aachen during the TR32 General Meeting. Jordi is professor of Meteorology and Air Quality at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

At the Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research in Utrecht, Jordi did his PhD on the role of atmospheric turbulence on chemical reactions from 1989 to 1992. He then started to work with mesoscale models like WRF. Since 1999 Jordi works in the Meteorology and Air Quality section at Wageningen University, also as a lecturer for Bachelor, Master and PhD students.

His work focuses on Large-Eddy Simulations (LES) of boundary layer processes including clouds, mesoscale phenomena and the interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere. The scientific approach is to bridge different fields (chemistry, atmospheric dynamics, biology) to study these processes on different scales, based on simple conceptual models to complex LES and mesoscale models, which are also validated by field observations.

Event name: PhD Symposium on subsurface hydrology in land surface models
Event dates: 25th Nov. 2016
Event location: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Building 14.6, Room 241

Prof. Dr. Sascha Oswald and Dr. Rafael Rosolem were invited to give talks at the PhD Symposium of Roland Baatz on ‘Subsurface hydrology in land surface models’. The presentation stressed the relevance of field scale observations for improved understanding of land surface processes. The talks were introduced by Prof. Dr. Harrie-Jan Hendricks Franssen (FZ Jülich) head of the research group on ‘Stochastic analysis of terrestrial systems’.

Prof. Dr. Sascha Oswald is a full professor at the Institute for Earth and Environmental Sciences at University of Potsdam. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the ETH Zürich in 1999. After working as physicist at Colenco Power Engineering, research fellow at University of Sheffield, senior assistant at the Institute for Terrestrial Ecology at ETH Zürich, he became senior researcher at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Science, UFZ Leipzig, in 2004. From 2009 onwards, Sascha Oswald became Professor for Water and Matter Transport in Landscapes at the University of Potsdam.

Dr. Rafael Rosolem is Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of Bristol. He received his Ph.D. in Hydrology from the University of Arizona in 2010. He became research associate and research assistant Professor at the University of Arizona and worked on the COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System (COSMOS) project. From March 2013 onwards, Rafael Rosolem joined the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Bristol.

photo 1

Picture: Experimental design of our research plot in the Wüstebach catchment. Three spruce trees are equipped with dendrometers and sapflow sensors; soil moisture and micro-climate is observed on site.
Photo: Inken Rabbel 2016

On our research plots in and around the Wüstebach catchment, we combine dendro-ecological, climatological, and soil hydrological investigations to deepen our understanding of feedbacks within the forest soil-vegetation-atmosphere system. In this context, the simulation of eco-hydrological processes is of major interest. The research group around Dr. Gaby Deckmyn from Antwerp University has developed a model (ANAFORE) which operates from the leaf to the stand scale and calculates water fluxes and biomass accumulation in different time resolutions (Deckmyn et al. 2008). The main goal of my stay in Antwerp was to learn more about the ANAFORE model and to ask for scientific collaboration and technical assistance with the model.

During my first stay from June 13th-16th, I got an introduction into model structure, functioning and data requirements. It turned out that ANAFORE meets the requirements for the study I was interested in. Also, the data of the TR32 would be useful for further validation of the ANAFORE model so that collaborating would not only be fruitful for me, but also for the research group in Belgium. Between my first and second stay (June 28th to December 1st), I prepared the data and some simulation setups. In Antwerp, we discussed the different simulation approaches and adjusted the model according to our requirements. I also had the opportunity to give a seminar on the TR32 and my research within my sub-project (C1). The title of my talk was “Analyzing feedbacks in a forest soil-vegetation-atmosphere system”. For the next year, we planned to continue our collaboration and conduct a number of interesting simulation experiments.

For further information, please contact:


tn328 54d609d0981ab

Nadine Horst
(geb. Heinrichs)

IRTG Coordinator

University of Cologne
Institute for
Geophysics and Meteorology

D-50923 Cologne
icon phone
icon fax
  +49 (0)221 470 1629
+49 (0)221 470 5161
icon mail   irtg@tr32.de

Precipitation radar Uni Bonn

Das Logo der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität; Copyright: Uni Bonn  

logo uni koeln 40x40

  logo rwth aachen 40x40   logo juelich   logo geoverbund small