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Wouter Arnoud Dorigo

Univ.Prof. Dr.rer.nat. MSc

Research Group:
Remote Sensing
Head of the Research Group Climate and Environmental Remote Sensing
Research Area:
Climate Research, microwave remote sensing

Phone #:
+43 (1) 58801 - 12243
Dorigo, Wouter Arnoud


Life and education

Wouter Dorigo was born in Arnhem, the Netherlands. He received the M.Sc. degree in physical geography and the M.A. degree in Italian language and translation from the Utrecht University in 2000 and 2001, respectively. In 2008 he received his Dr.rer.nat. (PhD) degree in remote sensing with honours from the Technische Universität München.


In 2002 and 2003, Wouter worked as a project manager in airborne laser scanning at the National Survey Department of the Netherlands. In support of his PhD studies he worked from 2003 to 2006 at the imaging spectroscopy group of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen and spent several months at INRA Bioclimatology, Avignon, France. Since 2007, he has been working at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria, first as a University Assistant and postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, and from 2012 to April 2017 as Senior Scientist in the Remote Sensing Research Group of the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation (GEO). Since May 2017, Wouter leads the new research group Climate and Environmental Remote Sensing ( at GEO.

Research interests

Wouter´s main research interest is remote sensing of soil moisture and vegetation. Within these themes he focuses on several aspects, including geophysical parameter retrieval through physical and semi-empirical methods, calibration and validation, process automation, up- and downscaling, image classification, data merging, and time series analysis. He has a vast research experience with various Earth observation systems, including active and passive microwave systems, hyper- and multispectral sensors, airborne laser scanning, and multi-angular remote sensing. Using Earth observation data Wouter tries to understand and quantify the dynamics (trends, extremes) and interactions of vegetation and the water cycle in a changing climate.

Project achievements

As a project coordinator and scientist Wouter has played a leading role in developing the multi-decadal ESA CCI global soil moisture data set of merged active and passive microwave soil moisture retrievals and in establishing the International Soil Moisture Network (, a data hosting facility that harmonizes and makes available to the user community soil moisture data from over 50 ground-based networks. Both products are being used by thousands of users worldwide. Wouter has the scientific lead of the Copernicus Climate Change Service for soil moisture (C3S;, which will be operationally produced from July 2017.

Scientific achievements

Wouter has (co-)authored more than 70 peer-reviewed journal publications and over 160 papers and abstracts in conference proceedings. According to Google Scholar his work has been cited more than 4000 times and has an h-index of 32. He has been guest editor for the Special Issue Advances in the Validation and Application of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture published in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation and is associate editor for the same journal. Wouter has acted as a reviewer for 30 international journals (including Nature, Remote Sensing of Environment, Geophysical Research Letters, and various IEEE journals), and (inter)national funding bodies like the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the US National Science foundation (NSF), the Schweizer Nationalfonds (SSF), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).

Commissions, memberships, and organisations

From 2008 to 2012 Wouter was Commission VII secretary of the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) and in 2013 he became a member of the GEWEX Data and Assessments Panel (GDAP) of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). He has been committee member of several international conferences, such as the EARSeL Workshop on Imaging Spectroscopy in 2003, the ISPRS Commission VII Symposium in 2010, and the Satellite Soil Moisture Application and Validation Workshops in 2013 and 2017 jointly organized by ESA, EUMETSAT, WMO, GEWEX, CEOS and GCOS.

Awards and funding ID

In January 2015, Wouter won the prestigious Science Award of the Vienna University of Technology, which came with a prize money of 500,000 Euro, for his outstanding research on soil moisture and climate. As PI and work package lead Wouter has played an active role in acquiring almost 3 Million EUR of external sponsoring (e.g. from EU, ESA) for his host institutes.