This is the home of

Philip Kraaijenbrink, Physical Geographer.

Projects & Portfolio


About me

I am a geographer based in Utrecht, The Netherlands, who tries to understand earth surface processes using remote sensing and modelling.


After my studies in Earth Sciences and Physical Geography, I obtained a cum laude PhD degree in Physical Geography at Utrecht University in 2018. By analyzing elevation models, optical imagery and thermal imagery that I acquired using unmanned aerial vehicles, I have studied Himalayan debris-covered glaciers in unprecedented detail. I have linked the high-resolution unmanned aerial vehicle data to the larger scale using satellite imagery and by development of a large-scale glacier model. By doing so, I have increased knowledge on the dynamics of debris-covered glaciers and the impact of climate change on these systems.

My research, heart for computer analyses and eagerness to learn in this field have made me a skilled geospatial analyst and an expert in the applications of unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite image analysis and object-based image processing. Besides my remote sensing skills, I've become knowledgeable on climate data analysis and statistical downscaling during my time at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).

I am currently part of the Mountain Hydrology group of the Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, where I integrate satellite imagery, climate data and glacio-hydrological modelling to study the past, present and future water cycle in the high mountains of Asia.


  • Remote sensing
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Hydrology
  • Glaciology
  • Climate change
Academic publications
PhD Thesis

Professional experience

2021 - present

Utrecht University

Assistant professor

Studying climate change impacts on the mountain water cycle. Focusing on downstream hydrological impacts of changing mountain vegetation, and losses of glaciers and snowpacks using a combination of fieldwork, remote sensing and numerical modelling.

2018 - 2021

Utrecht University

Postdoctoral researcher

Integrating large scale remote sensing and hydro-glaciological modelling to study the past, present and future water cycle in the high mountain regions of Asia.

2014 - 2018

Utrecht University

PhD candidate

Studied the dynamics of debris-covered glaciers using unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite and numerical modelling in order to learn more about spatial and temporal variability in melt and flow patterns, and about the role of surface features on these glaciers.



Hydrology consultant

Involved in several projects for this consultancy. I was responsible for providing climate data to partners and clients, performing climate analyses, setting up a web mapping service, and processing unmanned aerial vehicle data.

2013 - 2014

Utrecht University

Junior researcher

Employed on a research project to study a Nepalese glacier using imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle. Included expeditions to Nepal, data processing, co-authoring a scientific paper (writing, creating figures) and presenting results.

2012 - 2013

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute


Responsible for statistical downscaling of temperature and precipitation data from CMIP5 climate models for the KNMI '14 climate scenario report.


Martinus van Marum Prize


Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen

Received the prestigious Martinus van Marum Prize for the best Dutch PhD research in environmental sciences over the past five years.

Outstanding Student Paper Award


American Geophysical Union

Received an OSPA for my oral presentation on the "Impacts of a 1.5 °C Global Temperature Rise on the Glaciers of High Mountain Asia" at the AGU Fall Meeting 2017 in New Orleans.

Outstanding Student Poster and PICO


European Geosciences Union

Best poster presentation award within EGU's Cryosphere division at the General Assembly 2016 in Vienna for my poster "Multi-temporal high-resolution monitoring of debris-covered glaciers using unmanned aerial vehicles".

Best oral presentation


International Symposium on Glaciology in High-Mountain Asia 2015

Awarded 'best oral presentation by a student' at the International Symposium on Glaciology in High Mountain Asia in Kathmandu, Nepal, for my presentation on the monitoring of debris-covered glaciers using unmanned aerial vehicles.


PhD (cum laude)


Physical Geography

Studied the dynamics of (debris-covered) glaciers using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and numerical modelling at Utrecht University to learn more about spatial and temporal variability in melt and flow patterns, and about the role of surface features. Developed multiple lectures on (UAV) remote sensing, assisted computer practicals of the Earth Observation and Remote Sensing courses for multiple years, and supervised numerous bachelor and master students.

Master (cum laude)


Physical Geography

Master degree in Physical Geography from Utrecht University (Earth Observation and Natural Hazards track). During my study I mainly focused on applications of remote sensing, geographical information systems, geostatistics and spatial modelling. My graduation research was focused on understanding river morphodynamics in the Ganges delta by using multi-temporal object-based analysis of Landsat imagery. As part of my master I also did an eight-month internship at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), where I learned climate data analysis and statistical downscaling.



Earth Sciences

In this study at Utrecht University I mainly focused on physical geography, rivers and remote sensing. However, the broad range of courses and two extended fieldwork campaigns really helped me to provide me with a strong foundation on a wide range of topics within the fields of both geography and geology.




Princetonlaan 8A
3584 CB Utrecht
The Netherlands