Dr H.J. van der Woerd

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+31 20 59 89591
faculteit der bètawetenschappen ( dep. water & climate risk )
Senior researcher


Dr Van der Woerd’s PhD research took place at the Dutch national laboratory for space research (SRON), which resulted in a thesis on satellite-based X-ray observations from close-binary stars. Subsequently, he worked as research fellow for two years for the European Space Agency on the interpretation of satellite data. In 1989 he started his career in Earth Observation with work on chemistry/transport modelling of the stratosphere in combination with remote sensing observations of the ozone layer. He was deeply involved in the introduction of Remote Sensing of the atmospheric trace gas composition with validation of the ESA GOME instrument. This has been the start for his enthusiasm to develop Remote-Sensing applications in fundamental and applied environmental research. From 1998 this work has expanded to the general field of Remote Sensing of the environment at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He became head of the Remote Sensing Unit and responsible for acquisition, project management and scientific output. In this capacity he has built up an extensive project management track record.

He is a very dedicated scientist who is able to analyse complex problems, construct and manage a detailed work plan to generate solutions. These solutions always involve sound physical and mathematical procedures. He is able to work in pure research and applied research and likes to teach at the highest levels.

Check out his 60plus publications: Web of Science: Author ID: K-9812-2013, Research Gate: Hans J van der Woerd


He is truly a generalist in satellite observations and their applications. He has an extremely wide scientific interest, as is shown in the over 60 articles in 25 different journals and over 50 reports that are mainly based on satellite observations from stars, atmosphere, water and land.  

In the last 15 years most articles dealt with the retrieval of water composition in complex coastal and inland waters. However, his strength lies in the combination with other disciplines, like microbiology, oceanography, citizen’s science, monitoring and water management, validation, economic valuation. 

Key words: satellite data, radiative transfer, inversion techniques, physics, instrumental characterization, monitoring strategy, teaching 

Academic training

1987  PhD in Mathematics and Physics, University of Amsterdam
1982MSc Astronomy with Physics and Mathematics, University of Amsterdam
1978BSc in Physics and Astronomy (Cum Laude), University of Amsterdam

Professional employment history

1997-present  Senior Scientist, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Program manager Remote Sensing at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Senior Scientist Global Air Pollution, National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven
1989-1993Atmospheric Scientist, National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven
1987-1989Research Fellow, European Space and Technology Centre (ESA), Noordwijk
1983-1987Scientist, Netherlands Laboratory for Space Research (SRON), Utrecht

Selected large projects

  • Citclops: www.citclops.eu
  • Commissioned by the European Commission (2012 -2015)
  • Citizens’ Observatory for Coast and Ocean Optical Monitoring
  • MOS2, commissioned by: Port of Rotterdam
  • Monitor the impact of dredging activities by integration of models and satellite data (2007-2013).
  • CoBiOS , commissioned by the European Commission (2011 -2013)
  • Integrate satellite products and ecological models into an operational service for algal bloom warning
  • IN PLACE, commissioned by NWO (2009 -2013)
  • Monitor the carrying capacity of ecosystems in the Wadden Sea

Selected peer reviewed publications


Publications since 1997

Busch, J.A., Price, I., Jeansou, E., Zielinski, O. & van der Woerd, H.J. (2016). Citizens and satellites: assessment of phytoplankton dynamics in a NW Mediterranean aquaculture zone. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 47, 40–49. doi: 10.1016/j.jag.2015.11.017

Hahn-Woernle, L., Dijkstra, H. & van der Woerd, H.J. (2016). Vertical mixing derived from surface chlorophyll-a concentrations of the North Atlantic ocean. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 33, 2165–2183. doi: 10.1175/JTECH-D-16-0053.1

Novoa, S., Wernand, M. & van der Woerd, H.J. (2015). WACODI: A generic algorithm to derive the intrinsic color of natural waters for digital images. Limnology and Oceanography, Methods, 13 (12), 697–711. doi: 10.1002/lom3.10059

van der Woerd, H.J. & Wernand, M.R. (2015). True colour classification of natural waters with medium-spectral resolution satellites: SeaWiFS, MODIS, MERIS and OLCI. Sensors, 15, 25663–25680. doi: 10.3390/s151025663

Kurekin, A.A., Miller, P.I. & van der Woerd, H.J. (2014). Discrimination of Karenia mikimotoi and Phaeocystis blooms in European coastal waters: merged classification of MODIS and MERIS ocean color data. Harmful Algae, 31, 163–176. doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2013.11.003

Wernand, M.R., van der Woerd, H.J. & Gieskes, W.W.C. (2013). Trends in Ocean Colour and Chlorophyll Concentration from 1889 to 2000, Worldwide. PLoS One, 8(6). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063766

Jurado, E., van der Woerd, H.J., Dijkstra, H.A. (2012). Microstructure measurements along a quasi-meridional transect in the northeast Atlantic. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 117, C04016. doi:10.1029/2011JC007137.

Jurado, E., Dijkstra, H. A. & Van der Woerd, H. J. (2012). Microstructure observations during the spring 2011 STRATIPHYT-II cruise in the Northeast Atlantic. Ocean Sci., 8, 945–957, doi:10.5194/os-8-945-2012, 2012.

Salama, M.S., van der Velde, R. , van der Woerd, H.J. , Kromkamp, J.C., Philippart, J.C.M., Joseph, A.T. , O’Neill, P.E., Lang, R.H., Gish, T., Werdell, P.J. & Su, Z. (2012). Technical Notes: Calibration and validation of geophysical observation models. Biogeosciences, 9, 2195–2201, doi:10.5194/bg-9-2195-2012

El Serafy, G.Y., Eleveld, M.A., Blaas, M., van Kessel, T., Gaytan Aguilar, S. & van der Woerd, H.J. (2011). Improving the description of the suspended particulate matter concentrations in the southern North Sea through assimilating remotely sensed data. Ocean Science Journal, 46(3), 179–204. doi:10.1007/s12601-011-0015-x


van der Woerd, H.J., Blauw, A., Peperzak, L., Pasterkamp, R. & Peters, S. (2011). Analysis of the spatial evolution of the 2003 algal bloom in the Voordelta (North Sea). Journal of Sea Research, 65, 195–204.

Bouma, J., van der Woerd, H.J. & Kuik, O. (2009). The value of information for water quality management in the North Sea. Journal of Environmental Management, 90, 1280–1288.

van der Woerd, H.J. & Pasterkamp, R. (2008). HYDROPT: A fast and flexible method to retrieve chlorophyll-a from multispectral satellite observations of optically complex coastal waters. Remote Sensing of Environment, 112, 1795–1807. 

Eleveld, M.A., Pasterkamp, R., van der Woerd, H.J. & Pietrzak, J. (2008). Remotely sensed seasonality in the spatial distribution of sea-surface suspended particulate matter in the southern North Sea. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 80, 103–113.

Ancillary activities

Stichting Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee - senior Researcher 't Horntje Texel, 01 januari 2015
Last changes Ancillary activities: Amsterdam 27 januari 2017