Dr. Jan Friesen

Academic Staff


Phone+49 0341 235 1082
Fax +49 341 235 45 1082
E-mail Jan Friesen

Department Catchment Hydrology
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

Building 7.1 -> Room 411


Scientific Career

since Nov 2014

Scientist at the Department of Catchment Hydrology (CATHYD), UFZ

Feb 2012 - Oct 2014

Scientist in the working group Coordination and Integration of Water Sciences (CIWAS), UFZ

2009 - Jan 2012

Scientist at the Department Computational Hydrosystems (CHS), UFZ

2004 - 2008

PhD degree in hydrology from the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, Thesis: "Regional vegetation water effects on satellite soil moisture estimations for West Africa"

2002 - 2004

Research assistant at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Department of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Bonn, Germany


Degree (Dipl. Geogr.) in physical geography from the University of Bonn, Germany


Elected member of the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA)

Member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Member of the European Geophysical Union (EGU)

Member of the International Association of Hydrologic Sciences (IAHS)

Research interests

Large-scale modeling of vegetation water using hydrological models and remote sensing data

Hydrological field measurements (soil moisture, meteorological stations, vegetation parameters)

Hydrology in semi-arid regions (Ghana, Burkina Faso, Oman)

Projects / Cooperations

Current projects

Transforming Weather Water data into value-added Information services for sustainable Growth in Africa (TWIGA), 01.02.2018 - 31.01.2022, European Union (EU)

People, Pollution and Pathogens: Süßwasserlebensräume in Bergregionen – Nutzung, Verschmutzung, und Risiken für Mensch und Umwelt (P3), 01.06.2016 - 31.05.2019, The Belmont Forum

Establishment of a “Research, Demonstration and Training Facility for Decentralized Wastewater and Sludge Management” in Oman (IATI-WW), 01.08.2015 - 31.07.2019 ,The Research Council (TRC)

RUI: Measurement and modeling of rainfall interception loss from Georgia Southern University’s urban forest (link), 15.06.2015 - 31.05.2018, National Science Foundation (NSF)

Submarine Groundwater Discharge: Adaption of an autonomous aquatic vehicle for robotic measurements, sampling and monitoring (IATI-SGD), 02.06.2015 - 01.06.2019, The Research Council (TRC)

Past projects

Internationalen WasserforschungsAllianz Sachsen (IWAS-II)

Internationalen WasserforschungsAllianz Sachsen (IWAS)

Drought monitoring and yield forecast (DRYMON)

Globaler Wandel des Wasserkreislaufes - Volta Projekt (GLOWA Volta)

Media/ outreach

ON Live, a pan-Arab news TV channel, about the AGYA science comic (in Arabic) (February 19, 2018)

Blog entry about the AGYA science comic on zweikommazwei, the blog of the Forschungszentrum Jülich (February 9, 2018) (in German).

Von Biobrennstoff und Beerenhelfern. Media review with the AGYA science comic on BIOÖKONOMIE.DE (February 5, 2018) (in German).

Wissenschaft trifft Comic! AGYA press release (January 26, 2018) (in German).

Premiere mit Vorträgen zum 1. AGYA „Science Comic“. The Society for Comic Research (Gesellschaft für Comicforschung) reports on the launch event of the AGYA science comic (January 26, 2018) (in German).

The Halophyte Tales Vol I. The Rise of the Incredible Salty Salicornia Power Plant: Science comic by authors Jan Friesen and Skander Elleuche together with illustrator Tyasseta and colorist Siloy explains the use of halophytes for bioenergy and is based on the review article: A. Debez*, I. Belghith*, J. Friesen*, C. Montzka*, S. Elleuche* (2017) Facing the challenge of sustainable bioenergy production: Could halophytes be part of the solution?. Journal of Biological Engineering 11(27). doi: 10.1186/s13036-017-0069-0. (* equal contribution)

Invasion of the Trees: Professor’s comic connects entertainment to plant sciences Georgia Southern University press release (June 23, 2017).

Auf den Spuren des Grundwassers im Süd-Oman UFZ press release (June 15, 2017). Covered by Leipziger Volkszeitung on June 15, 2017 (both in German).

Plant Invasion Alters Canopy Ecohydrology! Graphic novella by artist Bagus Seta (Tyasseta) based on the scientific story told in Sadeghi et al. (2017), Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 240, 10.

AGYA in discussion: Spotlight on Survival Artists: Saltwater Plants as Biomass for Energy Production?

AGYA in discussion: The Path to Publication - Biologist Skander Elleuche and Geoscientist Jan Friesen talk on publication strategies in natural sciences.

Scitech 2016 Episode 5 ‚Plants for green future‘. The Dhofar cloud forest, Oman, and its interaction with the groundwater resources is explained by Dr. Jan Friesen, Dr. Thomas Müller, and Dr. Abdullah Bawain. (Starting at minute 10:11, in arabic).


J. T. Van Stan, S. J. Underwood, J. Friesen (accepted) Urban forestry: An underutilized tool in water management. In: Advances in Chemical Pollution, Environmental Management and Protection: Advanced Tools for Integrated Water Resources Management, Volume 3. Eds. J Friesen and L. Rodriguez-Sinobas. Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-12-814299-8.

J. Friesen, S. Elleuche, J. T. Van Stan II (2018) Communicating Science through Comics: A Method. Publications, 6, 38.

J. Friesen, M. Zink, A. Bawain, T Müller (2018) Hydrometeorology of the Dhofar cloud forest and its implications for groundwater recharge. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 16(54:66), doi:10.1016/j.ejrh.2018.03.002.

S.M.M. Sadeghi, J.T. Van Stan, T.G. Pypker, J. Tamjidi, J. Friesen and M. Farahnaklangroudi (2018) Importance of transitional leaf states in canopy rainfall partitioning dynamics. European Journal of Forest Research. 1:10. doi:10.1007/s10342-017-1098-4.

D.S. Schmeller, A. Loyau, K. Bao, W. Brack, A. Chatzinotas, F. De Vleeschouwer, J. Friesen, L. Gandois, S.V. Hansson, M. Haver, G. Le Roux, J. Shen, R. Teisserenc, V. Vredenburg (2018) People, pollution and pathogens – global change impacts in mountain freshwater ecosystems. Science of The Total Environment 622–623(756:763), doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.006.

A. Debez*, I. Belghith*, J. Friesen*, C. Montzka*, S. Elleuche* (2017) Facing the challenge of sustainable bioenergy production: Could halophytes be part of the solution?. Journal of Biological Engineering 11(27). doi: 10.1186/s13036-017-0069-0. (* equal contribution)

J.T. Van Stan, Z. Norman, A. Meghoo, J. Friesen, A. Hildebrandt, J.-F. Côte, G. Maldonado (2017) Edge-to-stem variability in wet canopy evaporation from an urban tree row. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 165(295:310). doi:10.1007/s10546-017-0277-7.

E.D. Gutmann, J.T. Van Stan, J. Friesen, D.P. Aubrey, J. Lundquist (2017) Observed compression of in situ tree stems during freezing. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 243(19:24). doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.05.004.

S.M.M. Sadeghi, J.T. Van Stan, T.G. Pypker, and J. Friesen (2017) Canopy hydrometeorological dynamics across a chronosequence of a globally invasive species, Ailanthus altissima (Mill., tree of heaven). Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 240–241(10:17). doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2017.03.017.

U. Wollschläger, S. Attinger, D. Borchardt, M. Brauns, M. Cuntz, P. Dietrich, J. H. Fleckenstein, K. Friese, J. Friesen, A. Harpke, A. Hildebrandt, G. Jäckel, N. Kamjunke, K. Knöller, S. Kögler, O. Kolditz, R. Krieg, R. Kumar, A. Lausch, M. Liess, A. Marx, R. Merz, C. Mueller, A. Musolff, H. Norf, S. Oswald, C. Rebmann, F. Reinstorf, M. Rode, K. Rink, K. Rinke, L. Samaniego, M. Vieweg, H.-J. Vogel, M. Weitere, U. Werban, M. Zink, S. Zacharias (2017) The Bode Hydrological Observatory: A platform for integrated, interdisciplinary hydro- ecological research within the TERENO Harz/Central German Lowland Observatory, Environmental Earth Sciences, 76:29. doi:10.1007/s12665-016-6327-5.

J. Friesen, L. Rodriguez Sinobas, L. Foglia, and R. Ludwig (2017) Environmental and socio-economic methodologies and solutions towards integrated water resources management. Science of the Total Environment, Volumes 581–582(906:908). doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.051.

M. Strauch, R. Kumar, S. Eisner, M. Mulligan, J. Reinhardt, W. Santini, T. Vetter, and Friesen, J. (2017) Adjustment of global precipitation data for enhanced hydrologic modeling of tropical Andean watersheds. Climatic Change, 14(3), 547-560. DOI:10.1007/s10584-016-1706-1.

Siebert, C., Rödiger, T., Schulz, S., Horovitz, M., Merz, R., Friesen, J., Dietrich, P., Michelsen, N., Kallioras, A., Rausch, R., Engelhardt, I., Al-Saud, M., Schüth, C. (2016): New tools for coherent information base for IWRM in arid regions: the Upper Mega Aquifer System on the Arabian Peninsula. In: Borchardt, D., Bogardi, J., Ibisch, R., (eds.), Integrated water resources management: Concept, research and implementation, Springer.

Van Stan, J.T., Lewis, E.S., Hildebrandt, A., Rebmann, C., Friesen, J. (2016) Impact of interacting bark structure and rainfall conditions on stemflow variability in a temperate beech-oak forest, central Germany. Hydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques, 61(11). 2071–2083. doi:10.1080/02626667.2015.1083104.

J. Friesen, J. D. Lundquist, and Van Stan, J. T. (2015): Evolution of forest precipitation water storage measurement methods. Hydrological Processes, 29, 2504–2520. doi: 10.1002/hyp.10376.

G. Strauch, K. S. Al-Mashaikhi, A. Bawain, K. Knöller, J. Friesen and T. Müller (2014): Stable H and O isotope variations reveal sources of recharge in Dhofar, Sultanate of Oman. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, doi:10.1080/10256016.2014.961451.

Mallast, U., Gloaguen, R., Friesen, J., Rödiger, T., Geyer, S., Merz, R., and Siebert, C. (2014): How to identify groundwater-caused thermal anomalies in lakes based on multi-temporal satellite data in semi-arid regions, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2773-2787, doi:10.5194/hess-18-2773-2014.

Van Stan, J. T., II, K. Martin, J. Friesen, M. T. Jarvis, J. D. Lundquist, and D. F. Levia (2013): Evaluation of an instrumental method to reduce error in canopy water storage estimates via mechanical displacement, Water Resour. Res., 49, doi:10.1029/2012WR012666.

Susan Steele-Dunne, J. Friesen, and N. van de Giesen (2012): Using Diurnal Variation in Backscatter to Detect Vegetation Water Stress. IEEE Trans. on Geosci. Remote Sens. Vol. 50, no. 7pp. 2618-2629, Jul. 2012.

J. Friesen, Susan Steele-Dunne, and N. van de Giesen (2012): Diurnal differences in global ERS scatterometer backscatter observations of the land surface. IEEE Trans. on Geosci. Remote Sens. Vol. 50, no. 7pp. 2595-2602, Jul. 2012.

W. Buytaert, J. Friesen, J. Liebe, and R. Ludwig (2012): Assessment and Management of Water Resources in Developing, Semi-arid and Arid Regions. Water Resources Management. Volume 26, Number 4, 841-844, DOI: 10.1007/s11269-012-9994-3

P. G. Oguntunde, A. E. Ajayi, J. Friesen, N. van de Giesen, and P. L. G. Vlek (2011): Seasonal Variation of Temporal Patterns of Water Flux in a Cashew Orchard under Sub-humid Tropical Conditions. Journal of Crop Improvement, 25(5). pp. 504-520, doi: 10.1080/15427528.2011.591482.

J. Van Stan, M. Jarvis, D. Levia, and J. Friesen (2011): Instrumental method for reducing error in compression-derived measurements of rainfall interception for individual trees. Hydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques, 56(6). pp. 1061-1066, doi: 10.1080/02626667.2011.590811.

R. de Jeu, W. Wagner, T. Holmes,H. Dolman, N. van de Giesen, and J. Friesen (2008): Global Soil Moisture Patterns Observed by Space Borne Microwave Radiometers and Scatterometers. Surveys in Geophysics, 29(4), pp. 399-420, doi:10.1007/s10712-008-9044-0.

J. Friesen, C. van Beek, J. Selker, H.H.G. Savenije, and N. van de Giesen (2008): Tree Rainfall Interception Measured by Stem Compression. Water Resources Research, 44, W00D15, doi:10.1029/2008WR007074.

R. De Lange, R. Beck, N. Van de Giesen, J. Friesen, A. de Wit, and W. Wagner (2008):Scatterometer derived soil moisture calibrated for soil texture with a one-dimensional water flow model. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 46(12), 4041-4049.

J. Friesen, C. Rodgers, P.G. Oguntunde, J.M.H. Hendrickx, and N. van de Giesen (2008): Hydrotope-based protocol to determine average soil moisture over large areas for satellite calibration and validation - With results from an observation campaign in the Volta Basin, West Africa. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 46(7), 1995-2004.

J. Friesen, H. C. Winsemius, R. Beck, K. Scipal, W. Wagner, and N. van de Giesen (2007): Spatial and seasonal patterns of diurnal differences in ERS Scatterometer soil moisture data in the Volta Basin, West Africa. IAHS Red Book Series 316. IAHS Press, Oxfordshire, UK, pp. 47-55.

Compaoré, H., Hendrickx, J.M.H., Hong, S-h., Friesen, J., van de Giesen, N.C., Rodgers, C., Szarzynski, J., and Vlek, P.L.G. (2007): Evaporation mapping at two scales in the White Volta Basin, Upper East Ghana, using optical imagery. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, doi: 10.1016/j.pce.2007.04.021

Amisigo, B.A., van de Giesen, N., Rogers, C., Andah, W.E.I., and Friesen, J. (2007): Monthly Streamflow Prediction in the Volta Basin of West Africa: A SISO NARMAX Polynomial Modelling. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, doi: 10.1016/j.pce.2007.04.019

M. Hafeez, M. Andreini, J. Liebe, J. Friesen, A. Marx, and N. van de Giesen (2007): Hydrological parameterization through remote sensing in Volta Basin,West Africa. International Journal of River Basin Management, 5(1): 49-56

Hendrickx J.M. , Sung-ho Hong, J. Friesen, H. Compaore, N. C. van de Giesen, C. Rodgers, and P. L. Vlek (2006): Mapping energy balance fluxes and root zone soil moisture in the White Volta Basin using optical imagery. Proc. SPIE Vol. 6239, pp. 62390Q.1-62390Q.12.

Oguntunde P.G., J. Friesen, van de Giesen N., and Savenije H.H.H. (2006). Hydroclimatology of the Volta River Basin in West Africa: Trends and Variability from 1901-2002. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 31 (18), pp. 1180-1188.

Hendrickx J.M., J. Bruce J. Harrison, R. L. van Dam, B. Borchers, D. I. Norman, C. D. Dedzoe, B. O. Antwi, R. D. Asiamah, C. Rodgers, P. Vlek, and J. Friesen (2005): Magnetic soil properties in Ghana. Proc. SPIE Vol. 5794, pp. 165-176.

Friesen, J., Andreini M., Andah W., Amisigo B., and van de Giesen, N. (2005): Storage capacity and long-term water balance of the Volta Basin, West Africa. IAHS Red Book Series 296. IAHS Press, Oxfordshire, UK, pp. 138-145.

Friesen, J. (2002): Spatio-temporal Patterns of Rainfall in Northern Ghana. Diploma thesis, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Germany