Prof. Dr. Sabine Chabrillat

Sabine Chabrillat
Prof. Dr. Sabine Chabrillat
Group Leader
Building A 17, Room 20.25
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1108

Function and Responsibilities:

Professor for "Digital Soil Mapping" at Leibniz University Hannover and GFZ
Head of the working group "Hyperspectral remote sensing applications" at GFZ

Science Principal Investigator for the EnMAP German hyperspectral satellite.

Co-Chair of the IEEE P4005 Working Group "Standards and protocols for soil spectroscopy".

Member of the ESA Mission Advisory Group for the Copernicus candidate hyperspectral mission CHIME.

Research Interests:

New developments in optical and thermal imaging spectroscopy for geoscience and environmental applications, with a focus on soil and drylands surface processes:
  • Digital soil mapping, soil spectroscopy, global soil mapping and monitoring, soil erosion and land degradation
  • Definition/support of hyperspectral satellite missions
  • Development of new methodologies using multi-scale and multi-sensor hyperspectral remote sensing: From the laboratory and field operations to airborne and satellite applications
  • VNIR - SWIR - LWIR (thermal infrared) reflectance spectroscopy



Professor for "Digital Soil Mapping" at Leibniz University Hannover and GFZ


Head research group "Hyperspectral remote sensing applications", Section 1.4, Helmholtz Center Potsdam GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany. Lecturer in Remote Sensing. Head of the Spectroscopy Laboratory

Senior scientist, Section 1.4, Helmholtz Center Potsdam GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany. Lecturer in Remote Sensing. Head of the Spectroscopy Laboratory

Project scientist, Section 1.4, Helmholtz Center Potsdam GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany 

Consultant, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées / CNES, Toulouse, France 

1997 – 2000
Research Associate, Center for the Study of Earth from Space/CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

1996 – 1997
NOAA post-doctoral fellow, Center for the Study of Earth from Space/CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

1994 – 1995
Teaching and Research Assistant, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France

1991 – 1994
Research Assistant, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées/ Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France


Ph.D. in Spectral geology, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, Très honorable avec félicitations du jury (summa cum laude). “Lithological discrimination using visible-infrared airborne imaging spectroscopy (AVIRIS data): Application to the Ronda peridotite massif, Spain”

D.E.A. (M.Sc.) Astrophysics, Geophysics and Space Techniques, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France

License (B.Sc.) Physics, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France


Current projects :

  • “EnMAP – Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program”, A German hyperspectral satellite, BMBF (German Ministry of Research)/DLR, Launch end 2021. Science P.I. (since 2019)
  • "WORLDSOILS - World Soils Monitoring System", ESA ITT Worldsoils, 2020-2023
  • "MOSES – Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems: Characterization and monitoring of soil and vegetation responses to heatwave events based on thermal hyperspectral remote sensing”, Research infrastructure of the Helmholtz Association (Germany), phase I: 2017-2021
  • "BopaBW - Oberflächennahe Bodenparameter Baden-Württemberg”, Copernicus-services BMWi, 2018-2021
  • "iCUPE - Integrative and Comprehensive Understanding on Polar Environments", ERA-PLANET Strand 4, The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, 2017-2020
  • "UAVSoil – UAV borne spectrometers for high resolution soil and crop monitoring”, Belspo STEREO III research project, 2018-2020
  • "MASOMED – MApping SOil variability within rainfed MEDiterranean agroecosystems using hyperspectral data”, Transnational Access Project EU-FP7 EUFAR2, 2017-2020

Finished projects :

  • PROSOIL – The evaluation of forthcoming satellites for mapping topsoil organic carbon in croplands”, Belspo STEREO III research project, 2016-2018
  • "GeoArchives - Signals of Climate and Landscape Change preserved in Southern African GeoArchives”, BMBF SPACES program, 2013-2016.
  • “SEDMEDHY – Soil Erosion Detection within MEDiterranean agricultural areas using HYperspectral data”, Transnational Access Project EU-FP7 EUFAR, 2011-2013.
  • “EUFAR – European Facility for Airborne Research in Environmental and Geo-sciences”, EU-FP7, 2008-2013.
  •  “Dynamic mapping of bare soil and crop residues in Mediterranean agricultural areas using remote sensing time series”, Spanish ministry of science. 2008-2013.
  • “DeSurvey – A Surveillance System for Assessing and Monitoring of Desertification”, EU-FP6, 2005-2011.
  • “HYRESSA – Hyperspectral Remote Sensing in Europe”, EU-FP6, 2006-2007.
  • “Spectral imaging in sediment cores, a new method tracing sensitively climatic changes: development of high-resolution proxies records of Aral Sea”, Helmholtz-DAAD fellowship 2005-2006.
  • “INCAMAR: Integration of multispectral and hyperspectral information for the selection and characterization of change indicators in arid ecosystems. Basis for a monitoring program in the natural park Cabo de Gata-Nijar”, Spanish ministry of science. 2004-2007.
  • “Quantification of near-surface processes in the context of land degradation for the characterisation of soil properties, erosion and water regime”, GFZ-Potsdam. 2003-2006. 
  • "SAND-Spectral ANalysis of Dryland Degradation", hyperspectral satellite proposal for Global Desertification Assessment, submitted to ESA 2002, recommended and not funded
  • “HYPERGEMME - Use of hyperspectral data for geological and mineralogical mapping of ophiolite massifs and mining environments (HYPERspectral pour la GEologie et Minéralogie de Massifs et Environnement miniers)”, French ministry of science. 2001-2003.
  • “Limitations and possibilities of hyperspectral imagery today for environmental and geological applications”, CNES (French Space Center), 2001.
  • “Identification and Mapping of Expansive Clay Soils in the Western U.S. Using Field Spectrometry and AVIRIS Hyperspectral Data”, Project leader, NASA/JPL. 1997-2000.

Research Boards and Committees:

Collective responsibility activities:

  • Vice-chair IEEE-SA (Standard Association) Working Group P4005 on "Standard Protocol and Scheme for Measuring Soil Spectroscopy", newly grounded 2020, part of the GRSS/TC
  • Member of the GLOSOLAN Global Soil Laboratory Network (GFZ Spectroscopy Laboratory – GFZ Speclab), since 2020
  • EnMAP mission Science P.I.: Principal coordinator of the EnMAP mission Science Advisory Group, since 2019
  • Selected member of the Mission Advisory Group for the Copernicus hyperspectral candidate mission CHIME (since 2018), Selected member of the ESA Mission Expert Group HIMEG/ Sentinel-10 (2017), Science team member satellite proposals ESA/EE9  (HYPEX-2 hyperspectral mission, TMAX thermal mission), 2015-2017
  • Member of the EUFAR Transnational Access User Group Selection Panel, 2013-2018
  • Co-chair ISPRS Commission VII/WG3 “Information extraction from hyperspectral data”, 2012-2016
  • Member of the EnMAP Core and Science Team, Leader soil activities, since 2010
  • Member of the French CNES advisory board for hyperspectral development (Groupe de Synthèse Hyperspectral), 2008-2009
  • Speaker Dryland Degradation program, POF-I (Program-oriented Research) Climate Variability and Human Habitat, 2004-2008
  • Capacity building responsibilities: Lecturer in Remote Sensing (Uni Potsdam, Free University Berlin), Regular guest lecturer in national and international courses, Advisor of PhDs and MSc/BSc students

Scientific community activities:

  • Journal Editor: Editorial Board Member MDPI 'Remote Sensing', Guest Editors of several special issues
  • Conference organisation: Regular conference chair and science committee member, e.g. Earsel Imaging Spectroscopy Workshops 2022, 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2011; EGU 2019, 2016; Brezilian Remote Sensing Symposium XVII SBSR 2013, 34th IGC 2012,  IGARSS 2014, 2012, EUFAR Soil spectroscopy workshops 2016, 2011, 2010
  • Regular reviewer of national and international Habilitations, PhDs and MSc theses
  • Regular reviewer of peer-review journals in Remote Sensing and Earth Sciences
  • Regular reviewer of research announcement institutions (national and international)
  • Member of professional associations: e.g. EARSeL SIG-Imaging Spectroscopy, DesertNet*Germany, DesertNet International, ProFil -Professionalisierung für Frauen in Forschung und Lehre
  • Scientific publications: Total of >220 scientific publications


2019                GFZ-Prize for best senior scientist for 2019

2018                Selected member for the ESA Mission Advisory Group for the CHIME/ Sentinel-10 candidate mission

2018                Best paper Award, 9th Workshop on Hyperspectral Image and Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing (WHISPERS 2018), Amsterdam.

2017                Lifetime Achievement Award (Marquis Who’s Who)

2017                Selected member for the ESA expert committee HIMEG/ Sentinel-10

2011                Hall of Fame Award

2008 – 2009    Selected for the 6. Version of the ProFiL Programm: Professionalisierung fuer Frauen in Forschung und Lehre: Mentoring - Training - Networking

1996 – 1997    NOAA Post-doctoral Stipendium

1991 – 1994    PhD Thesis Stipendium (Bourse MRT Ministère de la Recherche et de la Santé)