You are here: Home » Departments » Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing (Prof. Notholt)

Remote Sensing

The remote sensing of the atmosphere involves different measurement principles that can be split into active (e.g., lidar) and passive methods. In our group we only deal with passive methods, the absorption and emission spectroscopy in the infrared and microwave spectral range.

In the absorption measurements the sun or moon are used as external light sources, in emission spectroscopy the intrinsic radiation of the atmosphere or earth's surface, e.g. from the sea ice, is measured. The principle of absorption spectroscopy can also be used for in-situ measurements, using an internal light source, to sample locally an air sample. Our measurements are complemented by different model calculations that simulate the composition of the atmosphere and its variability and change.

Research Fields

Remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases in the mid-infrared and millimeterwave region of the spectrum

FTIR Spectrometry is used for laboratory and field measurements in the mid-infrared region of the spectrum. Laboratory measurements are done in Bremen. Field measurements are on Spitzbergen (Norway, 79°N, 12°E), in Bremen (Germany, 53°N, 9°E), in Paramaribo (Suriname, 6°N, 55°W) and in Koror (Palau, 7°N,134°E). Measurements are also taken on campaigns, e.g. the research vessel Polarstern.

The measurements are used to monitor chemistry related to the Ozone layer in the stratosphere, but also pollution. Measurements in the millimeterwave region of the spectrum are used to observe chemical and dynamical processes in the Stratosphere and Mesosphere. Measurements in Spitsbergen, Suriname, Palau and on the Polarstern are done in close cooperation with the AWI Bremerhaven.

Contact and more information: Dr. Mathias Palm

Near-IR remote sensing and in situ measurements

The aim of this group is to contribute to the better characterisation of the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Remote sensing and in situ measurements of atmospheric GHG concentrations are performed at the sites Ny Alesund (Spitsbergen), Bremen (Germany), Orleans (France), Nicosia (Cyprus), Paramaribo (Suriname) and on the research vessel Polarstern. These data is used for inverse modeling as well as for satellite validation. In addition GHG fluxes between the biosphere and the atmosphere are measured in the Amazonian rain forest in Brazil and the carbon and nitrogen cycles are investigated in peat draining rivers in Malaysia and Brunei.

Contact and more information: Dr. Thorsten Warneke

Junior Research Group: Greenhouse Gases in the Arctic

Closely associated with the near-infared and mid-infrared working groups in the atmospheric remote sensing department, we investigate greenhouse gases in the Arctic with a special focus on methane. We use ground-based Fourier-Transform spectrometers measuring in the near- and mid-infrared spectral region in solar and lunar absorption and atmospheric emission geometry at the AWIPEV station in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard.
Recently, satellites like the TROPOMI on Sentinel-5P offer methane products with high spatial resolution and good coverage. Together with the Carbon-GHG group at the department of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics we investigate the distribution and evolution of trace gases in the Arctic.

Contact and further information: Dr. Matthias Buschmann

Remote Sensing of Polar Regions

Sea ice is a sensitive climate change indicator as it is reflected in the drastic reduction of the Arctic sea ice cover during recent decades. To observe the remote and vast sea ice areas in the Arctic and Antarctic satellite remote sensing is the method of choice.On this website you find sea ice datasets from satellite remote sensing observations produced at the University of Bremen. All datasets are research products provided without liability.

Contact and more information: Dr. Gunnar Spreen

Previous Projects

Model investigations of chemical processes in the middle atmosphere

We use numerical models to simulate chemical processes in the stratosphere, mesosphere, and lower thermosphere. Specifically, the atmospheric impact of electrical discharges such as sprites and blue jets are investigated. For this purpose, detailed plasma chemistry models are developed and used. Related ion chemistry models are applied to investigate the impact of high-energetic charged particles of solar and galactic origin on the composition of the atmosphere. Another field of research is the vibrational-rotational kinetics of molecules in the mesospheric hydroxyl layer, and their non-thermal emissions.

Contact and more information: Prof. Justus Notholt

ASUR: Airborne Remote Sensing of the Stratosphere

Research in stratospheric ozone chemistry and in particular anthropogenic ozone destruction is one of the major research areas of the ASUR Group. Activities span the range from developing novel airborne sensors, conducting campaigns, retrieving of geophysical parameters and physical/chemical interpretation of results. The technique developed so far is unique in the sense that it allows to obtain vertically resolved profiles with excellent horizontal resolution of many species of importance in ozone chemistry.

more information >


Modelling possible impacts of large changes of geomagnetic intensity on the atmospheric composition using a 2 D version of the SLIMCAT model. Specifically, the impact of large solar proton events on the chemical composition and radiative balance of the atmosphere is investigated.

more information >

SuriMerc - Mercury Pollution in Suriname

SuriMerc is funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) within the framework of “Supporting country efforts to take action on mercury pollution” and is related to the Global Mercury Project. The objective of SURIMERC is to build the necessary capacity in Suriname to assess the magnitude of the mercury contamination and to reduce mercury pollution by training miners in alternative extraction methods.

Contact: Dr. Thorsten Warneke

Lectures / Publications / Staff


This field of research is directed by Prof. Justus Notholt.