Sanam Vardag

Dr. Sanam Vardag



Senior Scientist
Address Im Neuenheimer Feld 229
Room 330
Phone +49 6221 54-6511
Group Arbeitsgruppe Fernerkundung der Atmosphäre

Research interests

  • Budgeting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere 
  • Simulating atmospheric transport on scales from urban over regional to global
  • Designing Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE)
  • Interdisciplinary Climate Action Science


  • 09/2020 – present: Senior Scientist, Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 04/2017 - 08/2020: Executive manager of the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE), University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 01/2013 - 04/2017: Research Associate, Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 05/2016: PhD in Physics “Greenhouse gas measurments with a FTIR spectrometer” (final grade: Summa cum laude) from University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 03/2011 - 09/2012: Master of Science, Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 08/2008 - 04/2009: Università Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy (Erasmus semester)
  • 09/2007 - 03/2011: Bachelor of Science, Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Selected other activities and awards

  • 11/2021 Teaching award by the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy
  • 06/2021 - today: Member of the ICOS Science programme comittee
  • 09/2020 - today: Member of the Supervisory Board of Heidelberger Energie Genossenschaft
  • 11/2017: Environmental Award of the Viktor and Sigrid Dulger Foundation for an outstanding scientific dissertation, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 09/2014-09/2019: Press spokesperson and active member of the Heidelberg university group Amnesty International
  • 06/2007: Pierre de Coubertin Award, Usingen, Germany, Award for special commitment in honorary office combined with fair attitude in sports


  • May, M., Wald, S., Suter, I., Brunner, D., Vardag, S.N.: Evaluation of the GRAMM/GRAL model for high-resolution wind fields in Heidelberg, Germany, submitted to Atmospheric Research,  2023
  • Vardag, S. N. and Maiwald, R.: Optimising Urban Measurement Networks for CO2 Flux Estimation: A High-Resolution Observing System Simulation Experiment using GRAMM/GRAL, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss.,, preprint , 2023.
  • Knapp, M., Kleinschek, R., Vardag, S. N., Külheim, F., Haveresch, H., Sindram, M., Siegel, T., Burger, B. and Butz, A.: Quantitative imaging of carbon dioxide plumes using a ground-based shortwave infrared spectral camera, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Disc., doi:10.5194/egusphere-2023-1857, preprint, 2023.
  • Schmitt, T. D., Kuhn, J., Kleinschek, R., Löw, B. A., Schmitt, S., Cranton, W., Schmidt, M., Vardag, S. N., Hase, F., Griffith, D. W. T. and Butz, A.: An open-path observatory for greenhouse gases based on near-infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Disc., doi:10.5194/amt-2023-185, accepted, 2023.
  • Metz, E.-M., Vardag, S.N.,  Basu, S., Jung, M., Ahrens, B., El-Madany, T., Sitch, S., Arora, V.  K., Briggs, P. R. , Friedlingstein, P., Goll, D.S., Jain, A.K.,  Kato, E., Lombardozzi, D., Nabel,J .E. M. S., Poulter, B., Séférian, R., Tian, H., Wiltshire, A., Yuan, W., Yue, X., Zaehle, S.,  Deutscher, N.M.,  Griffith, D.W.T., Butz, A. Soil respiration–driven CO2 pulses dominate Australia’s flux variability. Science, 379, 1332-1335,, 2023.
  • Ulrich, V., Brückner, J., Schultz, M., Vardag, S.N., Ludwig, C., Fürle, J., Zia, M., Lautenbach, S., Zipf, A. Private Vehicles Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimation at Street Level for Berlin Based on Open Data. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2023, 12, 138., 2023.
  • Ebenhoch, S., Ruckelshausen, T., Siegmund, A., Teichert, V., Vardag, S.N.: Bildung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung,  Buchkapitel in Umwelt interdisziplinär, Bd. 1. Universitätsbibliothek, Heidelberg, https://10.11588/heidok.00031284, doi:10.11588/heidok.00031284 2022.
  • Jungmann, M., Vardag, S.N., Kutzner, F., Keppler, F., Schmidt, M., Aeschbach, A., Gerhard, U., Zipf, A., Lautenbach, S., Siegmund, A., Goeschl, T. Butz, A.: Zooming-in for climate action—hyperlocal greenhouse gas data for mitigation action?. Clim Action 1, 8,, 2022.
  • Luther, A., Kostinek, J., Kleinschek, R., Defratyka, S., Stanisavljević, M., Forstmaier, A., Dandocsi, A., Scheidweiler, L., Dubravica, D., Wildmann, N., Hase, F., Frey, M. M., Chen, J., Dietrich, F., Nȩcki, J., Swolkień, J., Knote, C., Vardag, S. N., Roiger, A. and Butz, A.: Observational constraints on methane emissions from Polish coal mines using a ground-based remote sensing network, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 22(9), 5859–5876, doi:10.5194/acp-22-5859-2022, 2022.
  • Butz, A., Hanft, V., Kleinschek, R., Frey, M. M., Müller, A., Knapp, M., Morino, I., Agusti-Panareda, A., Hase, F., Landgraf, J., Vardag, S. N. and Tanimoto, H.: Versatile and Targeted Validation of Space-Borne XCO2, XCH4 and XCO Observations by Mobile Ground-Based Direct-Sun Spectrometers, Front. Remote Sens., 2, 775805, doi:10.3389/frsen.2021.775805, 2022.
  • Ghasemifard, H.; Vogel, F.R.; Yuan, Y.; Luepke, M.; Chen, J.; Ries, L.; Leuchner, M.; Schunk, C.;  Vardag, S.N; Menzel, A. Pollution Events at the High-Altitude Mountain Site Zugspitze-Schneefernerhaus (2670 m a.s.l.), Germany. Atmosphere, 10, 330., 2019.
  • Griffith, D. W. T., Pöhler, D., Schmitt, S., Hammer, S., Vardag, S. N., and Platt, U.: Long open-path measurements of greenhouse gases in air using near-infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 1549–1563,, 2018.
  • Vardag, S.N. and Lautenbach,S.: The Value of Detours. In: R Westerholt, F-B Mocnik, and A Zipf (eds.), Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Platial Analysis (PLATIAL’18), pp. 61–65, 2018.
  • Vardag, S. N., Hammer, S., and Levin, I.: Evaluation of 4 years of continuous δ13C(CO2) data using a moving Keeling plot method, Biogeosciences, 13, 4237–4251,, 2016.
  • Vardag, S. N., Hammer, S., Sabasch, M., Griffith, D. W. T., and Levin, I.: First continuous measurements of δ18O-CO2 in air with a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 579–592,, 2015.
  • Vardag, S. N., Gerbig, C., Janssens-Maenhout, G., and Levin, I.: Estimation of continuous anthropogenic CO2: model-based evaluation of CO2, CO, δ13C(CO2) and Δ14C(CO2) tracer methods, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 12705–12729,, 2015.
  • Vardag, S. N., Hammer, S., O'Doherty, S., Spain, T. G., Wastine, B., Jordan, A., and Levin, I.: Comparisons of continuous atmospheric CH4, CO2 and N2O measurements – results from a travelling instrument campaign at Mace Head, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 8403–8418,, 2014.