Dr. Sabine Chabrillat

Sabine Chabrillat
Dr. Sabine Chabrillat
Group Leader
Building A 17, Room 20.25
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1108
+49 331 288-1192

Function and Responsibilities:

Senior scientist, Lecturer in Remote Sensing.

Research Interests:

New developments in optical, NIR, SWIR and thermal imaging spectroscopy for geoscience and environmental applications:
  • methodological approaches for the quantitative determination of soil properties and drylands surface parameters
  • soil spectroscopy
  • multi-scale analyses:  from laboratory and field reflectance spectroscopy to Earth Observation sensors (airborne to EnMAp)
  • Soil erosion and degradation processes


Senior scientist, Helmholtz Zentrum Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, Germany. Lecturer in Remote Sensing. Habilitation (running) Free University Berlin

Project scientist, Helmholtz Zentrum Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum, Potsdam, Germany

2001 ( Consultant, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Toulouse, France (CNES)

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 Geophysics and Space Techniques, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, Très honorable avec félicitations du jury (summa cum laude)
Title: “Lithological discrimination using visible-infrared airborne imaging spectroscopy (AVIRIS data): Application to the Ronda peridotite massif, Spain”

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

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


Current projects :

  • “EnMAP – Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program”, A German hyperspectral satellite, BMBF (German Ministry of Research)/DLR, Since 2003, Currently in Phase D.
  • “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.

Finished projects :

  • “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:

  • Co-chair ISPRS Commission VII/WG3 “Information extraction from hyperspectral data” (http://www.commission7.isprs.org/wg3/)
  • Speaker Dryland Degradation program, POF-I (Program-oriented Research) Climate Variability and Human Habitat, 2004-2008
  • Member of the French CNES advisory board for hyperspectral development (Groupe de Synthèse Hyperspectral)
  • 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 students
  • Responsible of the spectroscopy laboratory at GFZ Remote Sensing section

Scientific community activities:

  • Conference organisation: Regular conference chair and science committee member, e.g. XVII SBSR 2013, 34th IGC 2012,  IGARSS 2012, EARSeL Imaging Spectroscopy Workshops 2011, 2013, Soil spectroscopy workshops 2010, 2011
  • Regular reviewer of national and international 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)
  • Journal Editor activities: Lead guest editor Special Issue on Quantitative Soil Spectroscopy, Applied and Environmental Soil Science, 2013
  • 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 >120 scientific publications


Selected publications (<2002):

ISI Publications

Goetz, A.F.H., Chabrillat, S. and Lu, Z. (2001), Field reflectance spectrometry for detection of swelling clays at construction sites, Field Analytical Chemistry and Technology, 5 (3): 143-155.

Chabrillat, S., Pinet, P.C., Ceuleneer, G., Johnson, P.E. and Mustard, J.F. (2000), Ronda peridotite massif: Methodology for its geological mapping and lithological discrimination from hyperspectral data, Int. J. Remote Sensing, 21 (12): 2363-2388.


Goetz, A.F.H. and Chabrillat, S. (2001), A field method for rapid determination of the swelling potential of clay soils by means of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy, Patent from the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA.