Logo AWAAWA

A German, French, African
                   consortium in West Africa

Prof. (emer.) Dr. Werner R. Alper

Werner Alpers studied physics at the University of Hamburg (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), and Madison, Wisconsin (USA). In 1962 he received the diploma degree in physics (Dipl. Phys.) from the University of Hamburg, in 1964 the M.S. degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin and in 1967 the Ph.D. degree (Dr. rer. nat.) in theoretical physics (elementary particle physics) from the University of Hamburg, Germany.

From February 1968 to September 1970 he was with the European Space Research Institute (ESRIN) in Frascati, Italy, and from October 1970 to September 1973 with the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, in Garching near Munich, Germany, where he carried out research work in the field of space physics and cosmic ray physics. In 1973 he became engaged in remote sensing of the ocean and worked from 1973 to 1985 at the University of Hamburg and the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg. From 1985 to 1989 he was an Associate Professor (C3) at the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering of the University of Bremen, Germany, and from 1989 to 2001 a Full Professor (C4) at the Institute of Oceanography of the University of Hamburg, Germany, where he established the research group "Satellite Oceanography". From 1998 to 2001 he was also the Managing Director of the Institute of Oceanography of the University of Hamburg. Since 1973 he has been engaged in microwave remote sensing of the ocean by using laboratory, airborne and spaceborne sensors as well as theoretical models. He was a Principal Investigator for the Seasat, the Shuttle Imaging Radar B (SIR-B) and the Shuttle Imaging Radar C/X-SAR (SIR-C/X-SAR) missions. At present he is a Principal Investigator for the ERS and Envisat missions. He has authored or co-authored 115 in peer reviewed journals and books and 105 papers in conference proceedings dealing with different aspects of remote sensing of the ocean. Some of his major contributions to the field of microwave remote sensing of the ocean include the theory of radar imaging of ocean surface waves, oceanic internal waves, underwater sand banks and of atmospheric phenomena in the marine boundary layer, like atmospheric gravity waves, boundary layer rolls, coastal wind fields, and rain cells. Furthermore, he has devoted much research effort in explaining how ocean surface waves are damped by very thin (monomolecular) natural surface films.

He was active in several advisory committees of the German Ministry of Science and Technology, the German Science Foundation, the European Science Foundation, and the European Space Agency (ESA) for defining earth observation satellite missions. In particular, he was involved from the beginning in the ERS-1, ERS-2, and Envisat satellite projects as a scientific advisor to the European Space Agency (ESA).

In 1999, he was the General Chairman of the 1999 IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS'99) in Hamburg, Germany. Since 1999 he is Visiting Professor at the Ocean University of China in Qingdoa and since 2007 Adjunct Research Scientist at the State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment Dynamics of China, Second Institute of Oceanography, in Hangzhou.

After his retirement from the University of Hamburg on 30 September 2001, he has continued doing research work in the field of satellite oceanography at the University of Hamburg. He closely cooperates with scientists in Mainland China, Taiwan, Russia, and the USA. In recent years his research interest has focussed on studies of meso-scale atmospheric phenomena in the marine boundary layer using synthetic aperture radar images of the sea surface. Another of his major activities is lecturing at foreign universities and research institutions on ocean remote sensing. In October 2004 he has organized on behalf of ESA and in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ocean University of China (Prof. Ming-Xia He) an "Advanced Training Course in Ocean Remote Sensing" in Qingdao, China. Since then has given lectures in several other ESA sponsored training courses in ocean remote sensing which took place in China, South Korea, Mexico, and Vietnam.

At present he is participating in the Dragon 2 and the DRAGONESS projects. The Dragon 2 project is a co-operation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of the P.R. China in which Chinese and European scientists analyze jointly satellite data for earth observations. DRAGONESS (DRAGON in support of harmonizing European and Chinese marine monitoring for Environment and Security System) is a project funded by the European Commission in which he, together with Prof. Ming-Xia He of the Ocean University of China, is the work package leader for "Review and utilization of spaceborne observing systems".