Thomas Kalbacher

Dr. Thomas Kalbacher

Deputy Head of Department and Workgroup Leader of Hydroinformatics

Department of Environmental Informatics
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

phone +49 341 6025 - 1093

Research Interests

I am interested in the development of OpenGeoSys (OGS) software and related analysis tools to study the sustainable use and protection of natural groundwater systems and their quantitative and qualitative impact on surface waters.

Earth Science - Hydrogeology

Our soils and the underlying rocks have many functions. Humus, mineral soil and rock, i.e. the upper layers, protect the groundwater from substances of all kinds, filter it and thus keep it clean.But also the deeper rock layers that are home to our aquifers sustainably purify our groundwater, which then feeds our lakes and rivers again or serves us directly as drinking water resources. The shallow and deep underground is habitat, water reservoir, water filter and basis for our nutrition. But, like everywhere else in life, use and protection are often in conflict with each other and in face of climate change it will require adaptation in almost all sectors of water management (TiM4Water: Transitions in Water Management). Therefore, it is important to create robust future projections (IP RobustPics) to preserve the multi-functionality of our landscapes so that the right conclusions can be drawn and adjustments made.

Computer Science - Simulator & Workflows

In the age of digitization, near real world models, so called digital twins, could help to tackle the above tasks. Nowadays, we have the technical capabilities and IT infrastructures with modern high-performance computers that allow us to study much larger and much more complex systems. Furthermore, the integration of spatially and temporally high-resolution observation data from technically new and advanced monitoring stations and airborne / satellite observations in such models, brings great opportunities but also great scientific and technical challenges for model-driven system and scenario analyses. This applies to data collection, data integration, and data processing, as well as to model simulations and result evaluation (e.g. uncertainty analyses). The digital workflows, data pipelines and simulators for these tasks are complex and time-consuming, and must therefore be developed in a goal-oriented manner, but should also be fundamentally object-oriented , to provide sustainably extendable and maintainable system analysis tools.


In the working group Hydroinformatics, we develop such software solutions, currently for regional groundwater quantity modelling (LandTrans), in cooperation with the working group Research Software Engineering and Visualization.

Publications: [arranged in alphabetical order]