Petrus (Peter) Van Oevelen, Senior Scientist

Petrus (Peter) Van Oevelen




Peter van Oevelen was born in The Netherlands and grew up in a country where both the struggles with water as well as the benefits of water are clearly evident and as such the importance of water was already instilled in him from a young age. After high school he chose Wageningen University to study Water Resources and Earth Observation and this led him to obtaining his engineering degree in 1991. After a brief stint at the UN-FAO he continued in Wageningen to pursue his PhD in Earth Observation with an emphasis on microwave remote sensing and soil moisture. During his PhD he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at University of California at Davis, USA where he worked on stochastic methods in engineering. After his PhD (2000) he co-founded SarVision B.V., a small value adding company that specialized in the use of microwave remote sensing of the environment with a focus on tropical deforestation. During this period, he also lectured at Wageningen University. In 2004 he decided to move to the European Space Agency as the European GEWEX Coordinator and land mission scientist. In 2008 he became the director of the International GEWEX Project office (IGPO) as part of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Since 2015, he has also served as Senior Scientist with the Universities Space Research Association and both he and the IGPO are located in Washington, DC, USA. Peter van Oevelen is internationally recognized as an expert on earth observation, water resources and climate change. His current career is focused on facilitating international research collaboration on water, energy and climate issues and making the science in particular on water and climate issues more accessible to the general public.