dr. Irina Yu. Petrova

Irina Yu. Petrova specializes in land-atmosphere interactions, boundary layer dynamics, climate and weather extremes, novel approaches in statistics, remote sensing.

BioIrina Petrova

My main professional interest lies in studying the processes that govern the interactions between the land and the atmospheric boundary layer, in comprehending how these interactions affect rainfall formation, or, vice versa, drought development on local and regional scales. Within the H-CEL team, I research the role of land-atmosphere feedbacks, in particular those dependent on soil moisture conditions, in the exacerbation of dry extremes under present and future climates.

Before joining the H-CEL group at the University of Ghent, I worked on quantifying the effect of soil moisture on convection and rainfall formation (MPI-M, Germany); on the application of complex networks to the problem of precipitation–evaporation relationship using observations, as well as its representation in Global Climate Models (MPI-M, Germany); as well as on the assessment of atmospheric transport of pollutants using backward and forward trajectory analyses (RSHU, Russia).

In addition to my job roles, I am also passionate about climate knowledge communication to the public: from schools to companies. I enjoy giving talks and lecturing on various topics in climate science, weather extremes, and climate change. Recently, I joined the non-profit NGO Lecturers Without Borders, wherein I currently act as a moderator and adviser for a school climate action project.


Address: Coupure links 653 - Room A2.010

               9000 Ghent, Belgium

Phone: +32 9 264 61 40


Trajectory (full CV here)

Recent and ongoing projects

  • 4DMED-Hydrology (ESA):   Development of an advanced, high-resolution, and consistent reconstruction of the Mediterranean terrestrial water cycle (2021-2023)
  • BOF personal grant (UGent): “Role of land–atmosphere interactions in dry extremes under present and future climates”  (2020-2023)
  • DRY–2–DRY (ERC): Do droughts self-propagate and self-intensify? (2017–2022)
  • CEEH: Danish Centre for Energy, Environment and Health (2007–2012)
  • ISTC-2133: Development of methodical bases and mobile equipment for monitoring of Xe and Kr radionuclides in the North-West region of Russia (2008–2010)

Selected publications (complete list here)

  • Wouters H., J. Keune, I. Y. Petrova, C. C. Van Heerwaarden, A. J. Teuling, J. S. Pal, J. Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, D. G. Miralles (2022): Soil drought can mitigate deadly heat stress thanks to a reduction of air humidity. Science advances 8 (1), eabe6653.
  • Wouters H., I. Y. Petrova, C. C. Van Heerwaarden, J. Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, A. J. Teuling, V. Meulenberg, J. A. Santanello, D. G. Miralles (2019): Atmospheric boundary layer dynamics from balloon soundings worldwide: CLASS4GL v1. 0. Geoscientific Model Development 12 (5), 2139-2153.
  • Petrova, I.Y. Miralles, D.G., van Heerwaarden, C.C., Wouters, H. (2018): Relation between Convective Rainfall Properties and Antecedent Soil Moisture Heterogeneity Conditions in North Africa. Remote Sensing, 10, 969.
  • Petrova I., van Heerwaarden C., Hohenegger C., Bakan S. (2018): Regional co-variability of spatial and temporal soil moisture – precipitation coupling in the African Sahel: an observational perspective, J. of Hydrometeorology, 22, 3275-3294.