Alexander Schwertheim

Alexander Schwertheim started at Bodeker Scientific as an Intern on the 17th of November 2014. He holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Otago, and has recently completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Physics. 

Alex contributed to various projects during his internship including:
  • Assessing the contribution of climate change to plans of raising the Falls Dam in the Manuherikia Catchment: 
    • The Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group currently has plans to raise the Falls Dam by 27m to increase irrigation capabilities. Using the NIWA regional climate models we can assess how the rainfall in this specific area will change in the coming century, and how this will affect the dam. 
  • Using the MAGICC climate model to project a typical New Zealander’s emissions to every person in the world, to answer the question “Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the world was a New Zealander?” 
    • We New Zealanders are very proud of our clean green image. Yet recent studies have shown per head of population New Zealanders emit nearly twice as much greenhouse gases as the British and almost five times as much as the Chinese. We plan on using the MAGICC simple climate model to see what the climate would be like with 7 billion Kiwis. 
  • Measuring the soil moisture in New Zealand using satellites. 
    • When the surface of the earth is heated by the Sun, some of the radiation is reflected back into space in the form of microwave radiation. In 2009 the European Space Agency launched the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity spacecraft (SMOS) to measure this microwave radiation emitted from all over the planet. Because water absorbs microwaves so well, (hence the microwave oven) we can calculate the amount of water in soil from the SMOS’s microwave measurements. We hope to provide New Zealanders with soil moisture data from the SMOS to help with water conservation in agriculture.
  • Validating the Bodeker Scientific total column ozone database.
    • Bodeker Scientific produces global, daily, total column ozone database by combining measurements from a number of different satellite-based instruments. The database is now ready to be compared to six others for validation. 
  • Google [x] Project Loon trajectory model
    • Bodeker Scientific is working to to use the Google Loon balloon data to investigate stratospheric transport, and in particular barriers to transport because these barriers largely determine the distribution of radiatively active gases (e.g. ozone) in the stratosphere. Alex will be building on a trajectory model written by Jan Markus Diezel in order to compare actual Loon trajectories with those modeled from meteorological reanalyses products.
On the 1st of March 2015, Alex became an employee at Bodeker Scientific.  You can view his profile page here.

Ivo Kostadinov

Ivo Kostadinov came from the United Kingdom, where he is studying towards a BSc in Oil, Gas & Energy Management at Coventry University. He joined Bodeker Scientific on the 10th of November 2014, and worked for four months on contract as an intern. Ivo’s tasks during his internship included: 
  1. Exploring the technological, financial and engineering options for the construction and operation of a river-sourced heat pump for home and commercial heating in Alexandra, New Zealand
  2. Contributing to writing a report on the findings of (i) to be submitted to the Central Otago District Council at the end of February 2015
  3. Contributing to writing a business plan for the development and use of renewable energy technologies, and in particular home thermal mass systems, in the Central Otago region. 
Central Otago provides unique opportunities for the deployment of renewable energy technologies and part of Ivo’s project was to explore which of the latest technologies are best suited to the unique conditions of Central Otago.

Troy Smith 

Having just completing an undergraduate degree in Energy studies with minors in Physics and Mathematics at Otago University, Troy Smith joined Bodeker Scientific on the 10th November 2014. Troy hopes to continue his studies by completing an honours degree in Energy Management in 2015. Interests of Troy in the field of energy are renewable energy systems which will allow for a more sustainable green future.

The project that Troy will be working on while at Bodeker Scientific is a feasibility study on whether a water source heat pump would be practical for Alexandra’s domestic heating requirements. Alexandra sits on the intersection of the Clutha and Manuherikia Rivers which makes the water source heating a potential option.

The heat pump at your home is probably an air source heat pump. It uses the heat from the outside air to evaporate a working fluid which is then compressed to a high temperature that is transferred to the air in your home. While useful, the air source heat pump has a few down falls. One such reason is when you want to heat your home the air is coldest outside. This decreases the efficiency of the device as the compressor has to work harder to get the working fluid to the required temperature. Another flaw of the air source heat pump is at lower temperatures ice can form on the heat-exchanger component of the heat pump, causing another drop in efficiency as a defrosting mechanism is needed.

A water source heat pump combats both of these issues. They can operate at water temperatures as low as 5oC. Water has a very high heat capacity which is roughly four times greater than air. This means that four times the amount of heat is needed to increase the temperature of water by one degree Celsius than that of air. This means that water is a better heat sink than air and because of a large body such as a river is not going to have huge temperature variations. Air on the other hand has large temperature changes throughout the day and between day and night. This could potentially mean that using the Clutha River could be a more energy smart way to supply heating to homes.

Jordis Tradowsky 

Jordis Tradowsky joined the Bodeker Scientific team on Monday 24 March 2014 as an intern and will be based at Bodeker Scientific for the next four months.  Jordis recently finished a Master of Science degree in meteorology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

The first project Jordis is working on is a paper that derives measurement uncertainties on COSMIC radio occultation temperature measurements based on comparisons against temperature measurements from GRUAN radiosondes. Radio occultation measurements of temperature are made by using atmospheric soundings from GPS satellites. The transmitted GPS signal is received with a low-Earth orbit (LEO) GPS receiver. From two measured GPS frequencies, the bending angle and vertical profiles of the refracivity index, pressure, temperature etc. can be derived. The observation of the earth atmosphere with GPS satellites can be made at all weather conditions and provides meteorological measurements with a high precision and a high vertical resolution.

The GRUAN radiosonde network is designed to perform long-term observations of the atmospheric profile, that can later be used to detect climate variability and climate trends. In addition, the high-quality measurements can be used for the calibration/validation of satellite measurements and for the numerical weather prediction.

The radiosonde temperature measurements at GRUAN sites are available with well characterised random uncertainty estimates for every single data point on the vertical temperature profile.

The uncertainties on the COSMIC data are expected to be dependent on latitude and altitude, and perhaps other parameters.

Data from 12 GRUAN sites will be used for this study. The availability of data for the different GRUAN stations (y-axis) is shown in Figure 1 (courtesy of Stefanie Kremser) for every month in 2005 to January 2014 (x-axis). The vertical squares show the different launching times of radiosondes at each station (from top to bottom: 12 am, 6 am, 12 pm, 6 pm). The largest quantity of data is available at the station 'Lindenberg' with up to more than 27 radiosondes per month and per launching time.  

Figure 1:  Availability of data for the GRUAN sites (courtesy of Stefanie Kremser)

For questions, remarks or further information please email


GRUAN       GCOS Reference Upper Air Network

GCOS          Global Climate Observing System

COSMIC     Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate