International Autumn School NEROGRAV

”New Refined Observations of Climate Change from Spaceborne Gravity Missions“

October 5-9, 2020; Bad Neuenahr, Germany

Call for Applications



Between 2002 and 2017 the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission provided a unique 15+ years times series of monthly changes of large ice sheets and glaciers, near-surface and underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, or changes in sea level and ocean currents. The observation of mass change provides fundamental indicators of the large-scale climate dynamics and state of our planet, and an integrated global view of how Earth’s water cycle and energy balance are evolving. Since 2018 GRACE Follow-on (GRACE-FO) successfully extends this time series and demonstrates the effectiveness of a tech demo Laser Ranging Interferometer for future gravity missions. 

Only by concurrently improving and better understanding of sensor data, background models, and processing strategies of GRACE and GRACE-FO satellite gravimetry, the resolution, accuracy, and long-term consistency of mass transport series from satellite gravimetry can be significantly increased; and only in that case the potential of future technological sensor developments can be fully exploited.

The autumn school „New Refined Observations of Climate Change from Spaceborne Gravity Missions“ will educate a group of 35 Ph.D. students and junior scientists in state of the art GRACE and GRACE-FO satellite gravimetry data processing (e.g. spherical harmonic analysis, filtering/de-striping, global/regional analysis of grid data) and applications of mass transport data in Earth system sciences related with the global water cycle, the oceans, the cryosphere or the atmosphere.


Lectures and practicals given by key members of the Research Group NEROGRAV* will be augmented by selected topics presented by international experts: 

  • P. Abrikosov (TU Munich)
  • C. Böning (JPL)
  • D. Dettmering (DGFI-TU Munich)
  • H. Dobslaw (GFZ Potsdam)
  • F. Flechtner (TU Berlin)
  • P. Friederichs (U Bonn)
  • A. Groh (TU Dresden)
  • A. Hense (U Bonn)
  • V. Klemann (GFZ Potsdam)
  • A. Klos (MUT Warsaw)
  • R. König (GFZ Potsdam)
  • J. Kusche (U Bonn)
  • T. Mayer-Gürr (TU Graz)
  • H. Müller-Schmied (Uni Frankfurt)
  • R. Pail (TU Munich)
  • A. Springer (U Bonn)
  • M. Thomas (FU Berlin)
  • D. Wiese (JPL)

The planned program is as follows:


The autumn school will take place at SETA Hotel ( in Bad Neuenahr in the Ahr Valley (near Bonn, Germany). Bad Neuenahr can be reached by train from Bonn Hbf (ca. 68 Min.) or Koblenz Hbf (ca. 66 Min.) with a „Regional-Bahn“. The hotel is about 400 m from the train station (see directions sketch (only available in German)).


The flyer of the autumn school can be downloaded here (small resolution 11MB, higher resolution 17 MB).


  • Background in gravity field modelling or gravity field applications 
  • Basic programming skills (practicals are based on Matlab) 
  • Participants will need to bring their own computer with Matlab software
  • Walking shoes for a hiking tour on Wednesday 


Full application should include

  • A short Curriculum Vitae
  • A one-page letter of motivation for participation

Please send your application (one pdf, less than 1 MB) by 1st July 2020 to


The participation fee is 295€. This includes accommodation in single rooms, full board, lectures and practicals, wine tasting (on Wednesday evening) and the wellness area in the hotel. Further costs (travel costs, drinks,…) have to be paid by participants. Unfortunately, no travel grants can be paid.

The participation fee has to be paid till August 15 to the following bank account:

IBAN DEXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XX (will be updated in time)

Reference: Autumn School NEROGRAV, first name, name

Important dates

1st July 2020: Deadline for applications
22th July 2020: Acceptance and notifications
15th August 2020: Payment of Participation Fee
5-9 October 2020: Autumn School

Corona Situation

On July 22 the Research Group NEROGRAV will decide, depending on the Corona situation in Germany, if the autumn school can happen or needs to be postponed (likely to 2021). The applicants will be informed about our decision immediately. Till then, please assume that the autumn school will happen and apply!


If you have questions regarding the science behind the NEROGRAV research unit, please contact Prof. Dr. Frank Flechtner (
If you have questions regarding the admission procedure please contact

* The Autumn School is organized by the NEROGRAV Research Group (Technische Universität Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, German Research Centre for Geosciences, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (GFZ), Universität Bonn, Technische Universität München) funded by the German Research Foundation DFG under grant FOR 2736. 

The Geoverbund Aachen, Bonn, Köln, Jülich supported the organization of the autumn school.