Ruhr-University Bochum
Faculty of Geosciences
Department of Geography
Universitaetsstrasse 150
Building NA 4/171

  • Heike Pientka-Noll
  • Building NA 4/165
  • Office Hours: Mo. - Fr. 8:30 - 12:30
  • Phone: +49 234 32-28 313
  • Fax: +49 234 32-14 469

Current Research Projects

» OrGaMIRPLUS Cross-organizational hazard prevention to protect human life and critical infrastructures by optimized prevention and reaction. You will find further information on the project website.

» MAusKat Measuring system for the determination of the dispersal of hazardous materials in critical infrastructures and complex building for the prevention of civil disasters. You will find further information on the project website.

Welcome to the Working Group Cave and Subway Climatology


The Working Group Cave and Subway Climatology at the Department of Geography of the Ruhr-University Bochum, is specialised in basic research and advanced applied research in underground cavities.
These are divided into natural (caves), man-modified (show caves) and cavities created by humans, in example subway systems.
The group currently consists of five researchers and three student assistents.

The working group was established in 1997 and was first engaged with cave climatological studies in Poland and Germany with an later expansion to caves in other countries of Eastern Europe and the USA.
The current focus in cave climatology is the investigation of the world's biggest cave systems in the United States.

First temperature and air flow measurements in underground systems were carried out in 1998 in New York City and were followed by studies in Dortmund (Germany), Washington D.C., Munich (Germany), Berlin (Germany) and Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). Main object is the investigation of a natural background air flow inside subway tunnels and stations, which is relevant to the spread of hazardous substances within fires or terrorist attacks to identify dynamic escape routes.

Furthermore the working group is engaged in a (further) development of new measurement techniques and instruments relating specifically to the investigation in underground cavities. For example, an intelligent ultrasonic anemometer was developed, that can detect the natural background air flow during operation by numerical terminating the piston effect of moving trains.