Air, Land & Water Resources



The Air, Land and Water Resources section (ALW) conducts research within aspects of global climate change, air pollution, hydrology, and interactions of the terrestrial biosphere with the hydrological cycle and atmosphere. Special focus is on water resources and greenhouse gas exchange between the atmosphere and natural and anthropogenic systems. Advanced techniques like tracer gas and eddy-covariance flux measurements, experimental manipulation of ecosystems, remote sensing, and modelling are used.

New approaches include:

  • Development of remote sensing with unmanned airborne platforms for multiple purposes such as mapping of ecosystem services, water resources, water quality, drought, land degradation, indicators of ecosystem resilience, primary production of ecosystems, and carbon sequestration capacity
  • Ecological engineering techniques for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from waste and biomass technologies, as well as measurements of greenhouse gas emissions using flux chambers, eddy covariance, tracer gas dispersion and remote sensing techniques
  • Flux footprint modelling to identify natural and anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases at landscape scale
  • Spatially explicit hydro-economic optimization models addressing water infrastructure investment planning and operation in the context of the water-energy-food nexus
  • Decision support tools for sustainable GHG and water resources management using stochastic optimization and system dynamics simulation models.


Scientific topics in focus:

  • Global climate change
  • Air pollution
  • Ecosystem services and resilience
  • Ecohydrology
  • Hydroeconomic analysis
  • Measurement of hydrological processes
  • Measurement of gaseous emissions
  • Modelling in Water Resources Engineering
  • Remote sensing of terrestrial ecosystems


Kim Pilegaard
DTU Miljø
45 25 21 58



Global climate change

Quantification of biosphere-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases, feedback mechanisms between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere, and studies of the effects of climate change on the functioning, productivity, and carbon sequestration potential of terrestrial ecosystems.


The functional relationships between hydrology and ecology at multiple scales for freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems are investigated. We develop and apply ecohydrological indicators for risk assessing land degradation, drought, multiple stressors (e.g. pollutants) on ecosystem resilience.

Air pollution

Quantification of vegetation
uptake of gaseous pollutants (e.g. tropospheric ozone) and determination of effects in combination with environmental parameters e.g. increased temperature. Quantification of anthropogenic particle sources (wood stoves, road traffic & ships) for determination of potential health effects.

Measurement of hydrological processes

We develop new measurement techniques for water resources and hydrological processes, using satellite remote sensing, unmanned airborne vehicle surveys, and near-surface geophysics. Data are used to inform models, forecasting tools and decision support systems.

Ecosystem services and resilience

Observation and modeling of the anthropogenic
influence on terrestrial ecosystems with the goal of maintaining their services for humankind such as climate and air quality regulation, water, food, energy, etc. Apply knowledge of ecosystem resource efficiency to design industrial symbioses.

Remote sensing of terrestrial ecosystems

Interactions of the terrestrial biosphere with the carbon and hydrological cycles and the atmosphere. Methods used include optical and thermal remote sensing from satellites and UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), in situ sensors and biophysical models.

Modelling in Water Resources Engineering

Analytical and numerical models are used to quantitatively analyze water resources engineering problems aiding in the interpretation of data, development of conceptual models, design of experiments and field campaigns, and scenario evaluation for decision making.

Hydroeconomic analysis

We develop decision support tools for sustainable water resources management using stochastic optimization and system dynamics simulation models to determine the spatial, inter-temporal and inter-sectoral trade-offs in water resources allocation, taking into account ecosystem water requirements and the climate-water-energy-food nexus.

Measurement of gaseous emissions

Quantification and control of fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from waste and biomass technologies is important for emission mitigation. Advanced full-scale measurement techniques offer new knowledge as basis for mitigation actions.


Plants and Greenhouse Gasses - New Unaccounted Plant Sources

By Teis Nørgaard Mikkelsen, Teis Nørgaard Mikkelsen, DTU Enviroment

"Skoven som kulstoflager i et ændret klima" ved Kim Pilegaard, Professor, DTU Kemiteknik

Skove optager store mængder kuldioxid fra atmosfæren gennem fotosyntese. En del af kulstoffet bindes i vedmasse og jord. Derved modvirker skovene de globale klimaændringer. En lille ændring i træernes vækstbetingelser kan dog forskyde den hårfine balance betydeligt. Professor Kim Pilegaard fra DTU Kemiteknik giver et indblik i skovenes kulstofbalance, og hvordan den kan påvirkes af fremtidens klima.

Peter Bauer-Gottwein, Water

Observing, predicting and managing water at regional scales
17 AUGUST 2019