Pia Langhans was awarded the 2023 Women4Geo scholarship and worked on the detection of irrigation amounts using satellite observations. Here you can read about her experience:
My name is Pia Langhans and I am studying Environmental Engineering at the TU Vienna at Master´s level. During my two-month WOMEN4GEO summer internship in the CLIMERS group, I worked on Irrigation Water Use (IWU) retrieval. As irrigation has a huge impact on the water cycle, it is crucial to assess its amount and therefore also its impact on the water cycle, especially in times of drought and water scarcity.
The scholarship was a great opportunity to contribute to research on such a pressing issue. I am very grateful for the experience.
To perform the IWU retrieval, a pair of modelled and satellite-based soil moisture time series is used. Normally, soil moisture modelling is data and computation intensive. Therefore, a simpler, easier to compute model would be advantageous. Consequently, the aim of my work was to determine, whether the Soil Water Balance Model (SWBM) soil moisture, an easy to compute model, is suitable to be used for IWU retrieval. To achieve this, I analysed soil moisture data using Python as a programming tool, which challenged me in an educational and enjoyable way.
The WOMEN4GEO summer job was a great opportunity to gain insight into remote sensing research, improve my programming skills in Python and, most importantly, meet new colleagues, who not only gave me great support with my work tasks, but also love to go climbing together. In addition, the WOMEN4GEO scholarship gave me the opportunity to stay at CLIMERS and further improve my skills, for which I am very grateful.
Thanks to Prof. Wouter Dorigo, Dr. Alexander Gruber and Luca Zappa for supervising my work and to the whole CLIMERS group for welcoming me!