Prof. Heinke Schlünzen receives Honorary Plaque of The Association of German Engineers


Urban climate researcher Heinke Schlünzen was awarded the Honorary Plaque of The Association of German Engineers (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, VDI) in recognition of her outstanding research achievements in environmental meteorology and her committed volunteer work. The meteorologist and climate change expert has a particular focus on urban areas. She is currently conducting research for Universität Hamburg’s Meteorological Institute at the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN). Schlünzen is also a member of the Cluster of Excellence Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction (CliSAP).

Prof. Heinke Schlünzen translates basic meteorological research into approaches to air management.

Prof. Schlünzen has long been investigating atmospheric phenomena and the fluxes of air pollutants in metropolitan regions such as Hamburg. As early as the 1980s, she developed the computer-based mesoscale transport and fluid model METRAS. Among other things, METRAS can calculate the expected dissemination of air contaminants based on a city’s characteristics, for instance urban development or vegetation. A simplified METRAS version—available for free—has established itself as a vital tool for environmental experts.

Wolfgang Müller, head of the VDI Division of Environmental Meteorology, emphasized in his laudatory speech for the Honorary Plaque winner that thanks to Prof. Schlünzen all environmental experts, whether inside or outside academia, can rely on dependable tools in order to determine air pollution. Insights from basic meteorological research are thus being translated into approaches to air management.

Moreover, Müller praised the scientist’s devotion to the implementation of national and international quality standards for modeling in environmental meteorology. An active member of the VDI Division of Environmental Meteorology for many years, Schlünzen is heading the VDI Commission on Air Pollution. With a membership of 150,000, the VDI is Germany’s major professional engineering association; it sees itself as a mediator between business and science.

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