Christiaan van der Tol

dr. ir.

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Personal profile

Personal profile

My name is Christiaan van der Tol, I was born in 1978 and I am currently an associate professor in 'Ecohydrology and Earth Observation' at the Water Resources department, faculty ITC of the University of Twente.

I enjoy interaction with students and colleagues as much as my research into water, energy and photosynthesis. I am interested in how water, solar radiation and nutrients interact in the terrestiral biosphere. Many aspects of the processes in natural systems can inspire us to develop towards a sustainable use of water, production of food, and use of energy sources.

With a group of collaborators, I developed the 'Soil Canopy Observation of Photosynthesis and Energy fluxes' (SCOPE) model, which includes the relevant physical processes at the Earth surface and simulators for different satellite sensors. This model has helped the interpretation of remote sensing data.

I obtained my MSc degree in Hydrology at Wageningen University (2001), and PhD in Earth Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2007) with the thesis ‘Climatic Constaints on Cabon Assimilation and Transpiration of sub-Mediterranean forests’. I developed the ‘Soil-Canopy Observation of Photosynthesis and Energy fluxes’ (SCOPE) model at the University of Twente, and worked on the interpretation of Solar Induced Chlorophyll fluorescence:

Research interests

  • The energy and water budget of the Earth
  • Remote sensing of physical processes on Earth, such as photosynthesis and evaporation of water
  • Vegetation structure and composition, and its relation with thermodynamics
  • Energy dissipation pathways in natural systems 
  • Micro-climate control in natural systems
  • Improving water and energy use efficiency of crops through companion planting and structure manipulation
  • Solar Induced Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Rainfall and light interception, evaporation and transpiration

External positions

Associate Editor of 'Remote Sensing of Environment'


Member of the Mission Advisory Board of the FLEX satellite mission (ESA)



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