GFZ German research centre for geo sciences

Prof. Dr. Torsten Sachs

Group Leader
Prof. Dr. Torsten Sachs
Building A 70, Room 303 (Büro)
14473 Potsdam

Function and Responsibilities:

  • Head of Earth-Atmosphere Interactions Group (TEAM)
  • Speaker of TERENO Observatory Northeast German Lowlands
  • GFZ representative in the MOSES Scientific Steering Committee
  • GFZ representative in the German Arctic Dialogue with Federal Ministries and Agencies

Research Interests:

With my group I investigate processes and drivers underlying (changes in) the geosphere-atmosphere exchange of heat, water vapor, and carbon on a range of temporal (hourly to multi-annual) and spatial (local to continental) scales. We do so by combining ground-based and airborne micro-meteorological measurements, biogeochemical analyses, airborne and satellite remote sensing, numerical simulations, and machine learning methods. The current focus is on heavily disturbed and very dynamic peatland systems in NE Germany and pristine Arctic permafrost ecosystems with the aim to quantify changes in atmospheric composition and radiative forcing resulting from Earth surface processes.


  • since 2024 Professor of Land-Atmosphere Interactions
    joint appointment with Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • 2016-2021 Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Physics
    joint appointment with Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • since 2012 Group Leader
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geoscience, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2009-2011 Research Scientist / Postdoc
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2008 Visiting Scientist
    ETH Zurich, Switzerland (DAAD Scholarship, ETH funding)
  • 2005-2009 Research Scientist / PhD Student
    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research, Potsdam
  • 2004 Staff member
    Barrow Arctic Science Consortium, Barrow, AK (Fulbright Scholarship)


  • 2005-2009 PhD Geosciences
    Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research & University of Potsdam
    Guest researcher at ETH Zurich (DAAD scholarship & ETH funding)
  • 2002-2003 Master of Science in Environmental Science
    Alaska Pacific University Anchorage, Alaska, USA (Fulbright Scholarship)
  • 1998-2002 Undergraduate and graduate studies of Geoecology
    Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany


  • Funding by Federal Ministries:
    • 2023 - 2032 (BMEL): WetNetBB - Management and biomass utilization of wet fens: Network of model and demonstration projects in peatland regions of Brandenburg - Subproject 5: GHG flux monitoring with eddy covariance
    • 2023 - 2031 (BMUV): BLuMo - Peatland protection pilot project: Climate-friendly preservation of Brandenburg's lowland fen areas (as contractor to the State Agency for the Environment)
    • 2022 - 2025 (BMBF): MOMENT - Permafrost Research Towards Integrated Observation and Modelling of the Methane Budget of Ecosystems - GFZ Subproject: The role of microbiology and water bodies for the methane budget of permafrost regions

  • EU funding:
  • Horizon Europe Research & Innovation Action:
    • 2022 - 2026: WET HORIZONS - Upgrading knowledge and solutions to fast-track wetland restoration across Europe
    European Space Agency:
    • 2022 - 2024: AMPAC-Net - Arctic Methane and Permafrost Challenge Networking Action
    Finished projects:
    Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Action:
    • 2016 - 2022: INTAROS - Integrated Arctic Observing System
    • 2017 - 2023: NUNATARYUK - Permafrost thaw and the changing Arctic coast
    Horizon2020 ERA-NET Cofund:
    • 2017 - 2021: GHG-Manage - Managing and reporting of GHG emissions and C sequestration (Network: ERA-GAS)
    • 2017 - 2021: iCUPE - Integrative and Comprehensive Understanding on Polar Environments (Network: ERA-PLANET)
  • DFG funding (German Science Foundation):
  • International Research Training Group (GRK 2309/0):
    • 2018 - 2023: TransTiP - Geo-ecosystems in transition on the Tibetan Plateau
    Research Grant:
    • 2022 - 2025: MICHAEL - Methane fluxes and isotopic composition over heterogeneous landscapes of Arctic permafrost and Siberian peatlands
    • 2019 - 2023: ALEXIA - Analysis Linking Arctic Methan, Carbon Release, Heat Fluxes and Sea Ice from Local to Sub-Regional Scales by Airborne Measurements

  • Helmholtz Association funding:
    MOSES - Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems
    TERENO - Terrestrial Environmental Observatories Network
    REKLIM - Helmholtz Network "Regional Climate Change"
    HICAM - Helmholtz Climate Initiative
    Finished projects:
    Helmholtz Young Investigators Group:
    • 2012 - 2017: TEAM - Trace Gas Exchange in the Earth Atmosphere System on Multiple Scales
    Helmholtz Postdoc Program (PI: Koebsch; Advisor: Sachs):
    • 2014 - 2016: Capturing the hotspots – GHG dynamics during peatland restoration

Research Boards and Committees:

  • since 2020 Steering Committee
    Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems (MOSES)
  • since 2017 Working Group Leader
    WG Permafrost, Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems (MOSES)
  • since 2015 Science Team Member
    NASA Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)
  • 2007-2010 Council Member
    Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)
  • 2007-2008 Co-Chair
    Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) - Germany
  • 2005-2007 Steering Committee
    International Polar Year Youth Steering Committee (IPY YSC)


  • 20122017 Helmholtz Young Investigators Group
  • 2008 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship
  • 2003 Alaska International Education Foundation (AIEF) Scholarship
    Alaska Pacific University (APU) International Student Scholarship
  • 2002 – 2004 Fulbright Scholarship

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