Dr.  Susanne Benz

Dr. Susanne Benz

Research Interests

My work combines (big) data science with geospatial data to study the impacts of urbanization and climate change on society and nature. I am particularly interested in the role of the built environment on atmospheric, surface, and subsurface temperature disparities. Because of my trans-disciplinary background in physics, hydrogeology, geospatial data science, and public policy I use a variety of tools such as remote sensing, machine learning, and analytical and statistical models. A common thread in my projects is the use of large geospatial datasets and the development of tools for decision making that incorporate both built and natural environments.

My research to date focuses on four main areas:

  •     Environmental Justice
  •     Subsurface Heat Recycling
  •     Subsurface Temperatures
  •     Urban Heat


Courses thought in the RSGI and GuG Master programs:

  •     Seminar Topics of Image Analysis (WS)
  •     Seminar Topics of Remote Sensing (SS)

A list of currently offered topics for student's thesis can be found at Suggested Topics for Student’s Thesis


Since 10/2022 Freigeist Fellow,  Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (IPF), KIT
02/2021 - 09/2022 Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Water Resources Studies, Dalhousie University, Canada
01/2020 - 02/2020 Guest Researcher, Department of Geography, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
09/2018 - 01/2021 Postdoctoral Scholar, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California San Diego (UCSD), USA
05/2018 - 08/2018 PostDoc, Institute of Applied Geosciences (AGW), KIT
10/2017 - 03/2018 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship, Research Institute of Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan
08/2015 - 10/2015 Guest Researcher, School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
01/2017 - 05/2017 PostDoc, Institute of Applied Geosciences (AGW), KIT
15/12/2016 PhD, Institute of Applied Geosciences (AGW), KIT
21/03/2013 M.Sc. in Physics, Georg-August-University Goettingen
04/10/2010 B.Sc. in Physics, University of Konstanz



Smith, K. A.; O’Sullivan, A. M.; Kennedy, G.; Benz, S. A.; Somers, L. D.; Kurylyk, B. L. (2023). Shallow groundwater temperature patterns revealed through a regional monitoring well network. Hydrological Processes, 37 (9), Art.-Nr.: e14975. doi:10.1002/hyp.14975
Noethen, M.; Hemmerle, H.; Menberg, K.; Epting, J.; Benz, S. A.; Blum, P.; Bayer, P. (2023). Thermal impact of underground car parks on urban groundwater. Science of The Total Environment, 903, Art.-Nr.: 166572. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.166572
Hare, D. K.; Benz, S. A.; Kurylyk, B. L.; Johnson, Z. C.; Terry, N. C.; Helton, A. M. (2023). Paired Air and Stream Temperature Analysis (PASTA) to Evaluate Groundwater Influence on Streams. Water Resources Research, 59 (4), e2022WR033912. doi:10.1029/2022WR033912
Benz, S. A.; Menberg, K.; Bayer, P.; Kurylyk, B. L. (2022). Shallow subsurface heat recycling is a sustainable global space heating alternative. Nature Communications, 13, Article no: 3962. doi:10.1038/s41467-022-31624-6
Bluhm, R.; Polonik, P.; Hemes, K. S.; Sanford, L. C.; Benz, S. A.; Levy, M. C.; Ricke, K. L.; Burney, J. A. (2022). Disparate air pollution reductions during California’s COVID-19 economic shutdown. Nature Sustainability, 5 (6), 509–517. doi:10.1038/s41893-022-00856-1
Benz, S. A.; Burney, J. A. (2021). Widespread Race and Class Disparities in Surface Urban Heat Extremes Across the United States. Earth’s Future, 9 (7), e2021EF002016. doi:10.1029/2021EF002016
Benz, S. A.; Davis, S. J.; Burney, J. A. (2021). Drivers and projections of global surface temperature anomalies at the local scale. Environmental Research Letters, 16 (6), Article no: 064093. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ac0661
Tissen, C.; Menberg, K.; Benz, S. A.; Bayer, P.; Steiner, C.; Götzl, G.; Blum, P. (2021). Identifying key locations for shallow geothermal use in Vienna. Renewable energy, 167, 1–19. doi:10.1016/j.renene.2020.11.024
Blum, P.; Menberg, K.; Koch, F.; Benz, S. A.; Tissen, C.; Hemmerle, H.; Bayer, P. (2021). Is thermal use of groundwater a pollution?. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 239, Art.-Nr.: 103791. doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2021.103791
Benz, S.; Park, H.; Li, J.; Crawl, D.; Block, J.; Nguyen, M.; Altintas, I. (2019). Understanding a Rapidly Expanding Refugee Camp Using Convolutional Neural Networks and Satellite Imagery. 15th International Conference on eScience (eScience), 243–251, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). doi:10.1109/eScience.2019.00034
Hemmerle, H.; Hale, S.; Dressel, I.; Benz, S. A.; Attard, G.; Blum, P.; Bayer, P. (2019). Estimation of Groundwater Temperatures in Paris, France. Geofluids, 2019, Article ID 5246307. doi:10.1155/2019/5246307
Tissen, C.; Benz, S. A.; Menberg, K.; Bayer, P.; Blum, P. (2019). Groundwater temperature anomalies in Central Europe. Environmental research letters, 14, Article no: 104012. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab4240
Benz, S. A.; Blum, P. (2019). Global detection of rainfall-triggered landslide clusters. Natural hazards and earth system sciences, 19 (7), 1433–1444. doi:10.5194/nhess-19-1433-2019
Benz, S. A.; Bayer, P.; Blum, P.; Hamamoto, H.; Arimoto, H.; Taniguchi, M. (2018). Comparing anthropogenic heat input and heat accumulation in the subsurface of Osaka, Japan. The science of the total environment, 643, 1127–1136. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.253
Benz, S. A.; Bayer, P.; Winkler, G.; Blum, P. (2018). Recent trends of groundwater temperatures in Austria. Hydrology and earth system sciences, 22 (6), 3143–3154. doi:10.5194/hess-22-3143-2018
Benz, S. A.; Bayer, P.; Blum, P. (2017). Global patterns of shallow groundwater temperatures. Environmental research letters, 12 (3), Art. Nr.: 034005. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa5fb0
Benz, S. A.; Bayer, P.; Blum, P. (2017). Identifying anthropogenic anomalies in air, surface and groundwater temperatures in Germany. The science of the total environment, 584-585, 145–153. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.139
Benz, S. (2016). Human Impact on Groundwater Temperatures. Dissertation. Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). doi:10.5445/IR/1000065105
Benz, S. A.; Bayer, P.; Göttsche, F. M.; Olesen, F. S.; Blum, P. (2016). Linking Surface Urban Heat Islands with Groundwater Temperatures. Environmental science & technology, 50 (1), 70–78. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b03672
Benz, S. A.; Bayer, P.; Menberg, K.; Jung, S.; Blum, P. (2015). Spatial resolution of anthropogenic heat fluxes into urban aquifers. The science of the total environment, 524-525, 427–439. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.003