Specialisation „Climate Research“
Research at our institute covers an unusually wide spectrum of climate science. It comprises the “reading” of climate proxy data (e.g., tree rings, soil properties), the access of climate phenomena from space, and the simulation of climate processes with the help of supercomputers. These areas are mirrored in the teaching program, yet the pivotal part of the climate research specialization is the practice of a modern, physical climatology: numerical modeling of mechanisms and processes, with a focus on the atmosphere and cryosphere of Earth; the analysis of large climate data sets through state-of-the-art statistics; and direct meteorological measurements span up an exciting framework that unifies empirical evidence and the value of computer models. The courses put these methods in the light of topical issues, for instance, understanding the interplay of climatic subsystems in the challenging environment of high mountains (atmosphere, glaciers, hydrology); practicing seasonal predictions; or sharpening the sense for future climate projections.
The master program offers a profound modular methodological education with an emphasis on different remote sensing and GIS techniques. Our classes are closely linked to applications in the research foci in glaciology and climatology as well as in biogeography and spatial ecology. You will learn to process and analyze various Earth observation data types, ranging from optical multi- and hyperspectral to radar data. The classes will introduce you in hands-on exercises and practical applications to analysis techniques such as radar interferometry and machine learning algorithms. We provide cross-links to numerical modelling and field measurements. With our course program we aim at current and future demands and challenges in regard to processing of large data amounts (“big data”). All classes provide the opportunity to acquire versatile programming and scripting skills that enable efficient data processing as well as the customization and the development of new algorithms. This combination of geoinformatics modules with thematic knowledge links modern data analysis and acquisition techniques with an in-depth process understanding that is required and demanded for data interpretation in the respective research fields.
Specialisation „Environmental Analysis“
Our institute comprises excellent facilities to acquire multiple kinds of data on the environment. The generation of environmental data is a key qualification in basic and applied research to study effects of climate change on different components of the physical environment, including soils and sediments, water, and plants or other organisms. In the teaching program, we offer various lab courses in the soil lab, the tree-ring lab, and the stable isotope lab. Here, you are trained in sampling strategies, preparation techniques and state-of-the-art analyses methods, and data assessment and interpretation. The lab courses are embedded in practical research applications like the impact of climate change on trees and forest ecosystems, climate reconstruction from natural archives, and environmental changes caused by human impact.