Prof. Dr. Klaus Pfeilsticker

Klaus Pfeilsticker
Atmospheric Radiation and ApplicationsPeople
Position Group leader
Address Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, Room 422
Phone +49 6221 54 6401
E-Mail klaus.pfeilsticker -AT-
Group Atmospheric radiation and applications: solar energy
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Klaus Pfeilsticker studied physics (1974-1985) at the Universities of Ulm, Heidelberg (both Germany), and Beer-Sheba (Israel). He received his physics diploma, and PhD from the University of Heidelberg in 1981 and 1985, respectively. He held post-doc positions at various research institutions including the MPI für Kernphysik in Heidelberg, the Forschungzentrum Jülich, and the University of Heidelberg. In 1998, he has been habilitated at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. In 1999/2000, he joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Aeronomy Laboratory at Boulder Co, USA for a sabbatical leave sponsored by the US National Research Council. In 2001, he became guest professor with the Anhui Institute of Optical and Fine Mechanics (AIOFM) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)/China, and in 2003 with the University of Perugia/Italy. In 2005, he was nominated professor (apl) at the University of Heidelberg.

His research interests focus on physics of the environment, including atmospheric photochemistry, radiative transfer in the Earth's atmosphere, random walks on fractals, isotopes in the atmospheric environment, and UV/vis spectrometry. He has been actively developing the high resolving oxygen A-band spectrometry, a novel technique that provides new insights into atmospheric radiative transfer. A second, more recent research objective that builds on our skills in atmospheric radiative transfer modelling and inversion techniques addresses the deposition of solar radiation at the ground and its relation to the generation of electricity using solar photovoltaic (PV) installations.

During his career, he actively took part in quite a suite of internationally organized and sponsored field campaigns (CHEOPS 3, EASOE, SESAME, THESEO, ARESE 2, EuroSOLVE, SCOUT-O3, EU-SHIVA, NASA-ATTREX, .....) that aimed at the investigation of the Earth's ozone layer, the deposition of the solar radiation in the atmosphere, and the isotopic composition of the atmosphere and hydrosphere. He is also actively involved in stratospheric ozone research by co-leading the French/German LPMA/DOAS (Laboratoire Physique Molèculaire et Application/Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) cooperation. Within the cooperation, a larger series of balloon-borne UV/visible/near IR solar occultation measurements were performed from the LPMA/DOAS balloon gondola, that was successfully launched on many occasions at low (Brazil), mid- (France, Spain), and high latitudes (Sweden) during all seasons. Further, his group developed and assembled a novel optical spectrometer for aircraft-borne UV/Limb from the Geophysica and NASA Global Hawk. Lately (2012 – 2019), his research group participated in a suite of DFG SPP-1294 sponsored field missions using the novel HALO aircraft by performing aircraft-borne UV/Limb measurement.

In total, he was involved in 38 nationally, or internationally funded research projects. He first-authored, or contributed to more than 131 publications in peer reviewed international journals and 3 book chapters. He also contributed as author/contributor to the UNEP/WMO assessment reports on stratospheric ozone published in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.


Klaus Pfeilsticker has long standing experience in teaching on a graduate and post-graduate level. His teaching experience includes graduate classes and seminars of general physics as well as lectures and seminars in environmental Physics. His teaching experience includes seminars and tutorials for post-graduate student, tutorials with written exercises that cover the whole range of physical studies conducted by graduate students. 

Research Interests

(1) Atmospheric ion and photochemistry of free radicals
(2) Atmospheric ozone 
(3) Climate, i.e sudies on the deposition of solar and thermal radiation in the atmosphere, photon path length distributions, UV/vis/near IR/IR absorbers 
(4) Isotope hydrology and aeronomy of the water isotopomers (HTO, HDO, H218O) 
(5) Molecular Spectroscopy of clusters, and metastable complexes (O2-O2, H2O-H2O, ..)
(6) Multifractals, turbulence, and alpha-stable statistics in geophysics 
(7) Optical spectroscopy 
(8) Technology 
(9) Local energy concept, based on energy savings, energy efficiency and renewable energies (3E)



© 2019
Priv. Doz. Dr. Klaus Pfeilsticker 
Institut für Umweltphysik 
University of Heidelberg 
Im Neuenheimer Feld 229 
D-69120 Heidelberg 
Phone: +49 (0)6221-546401 
Fax: +49 (0)6221-546405 
Friedrich Ebert Anlage 23 a 
D-69117 Heidelberg 
Phone: +49/(0)6221/27080 
Ehrhafts 6 (previously Birkach 134) 
D-88167 Maierhöfen