Photo of Magnus Gålfalk

Magnus Gålfalk

Associate Professor, Docent

I work with optical methods and image processing. The projects are interdisciplinary, where methods and instruments often used in Astronomy are applied to environmental research. An example is the possibility to image and film greenhouse gases.

Applying optical instruments and methods for mapping of greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide affect the Earth's climate which in time may change the sea level, the amount of ice in the arctic regions, plant types and regions where they can grow, conditions for life for animals and humans. The emissions can be both natural and caused by human activity, and are often difficult to map as they occur all over Earth. Measurements are often made from space using satellites or in-situ at known sources. Development of new measurement methods are important at all scales for better mapping and quantification of different sources.

I have a background in observational astronomy, including different types of cameras and spectrographs, both ground-based and using satellites from space. This specialization requires a lot of programming to allow for project-specific image processing and model calculations.

At Tema environmental change I use optical instruments and methods applied to environmental research, with a focus on greenhouse gases and climate change. One of the projects involves a camera that can image and film the greenhouse gas methane using infrared light and spectroscopic modeling. Using this method it is possible to detect emissions sources directly in a landscape and to identify these. Methane has a much higher potential than carbon dioxide, per molecule, to cause a climate change. Another project is to follow heat patterns in the surface waters of lakes, using infrared video, allowing calculation of surface velocities which in turn can be used to estimate the exchange of greenhouse gases between the lake surface and the atmosphere.

I teach Astronomy and Physics in the teacher education program, but also physical geography with a focus on the greenhouse effect.





Gustav Pajala, Henrique Sawakuchi, David Rudberg, Jonathan Schenk, Anna Sieczko, Magnus Gålfalk, David Seekell, Ingrid Sundgren, Thanh Duc Nguyen, Jan Karlsson, David Bastviken (2023) The Effects of Water Column Dissolved Oxygen Concentrations on Lake Methane Emissions-Results From a Whole-Lake Oxygenation Experiment Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, Vol. 128, Article e2022JG007185 Continue to DOI
Gustav Pajala, David Rudberg, Magnus Gålfalk, John Michael Melack, Sally Macintyre, Jan Karlsson, Henrique Sawakuchi, Jonathan Schenk, Anna Sieczko, Ingrid Sundgren, Thanh Duc Nguyen, David Bastviken (2023) Higher Apparent Gas Transfer Velocities for CO2 Compared to CH4 in Small Lakes Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 57, p. 8578-8587 Continue to DOI
David Bastviken, Claire C. Treat, Sunitha Rao Pangala, Vincent Gauci, Alex Enrich Prast, Martin Karlson, Magnus Gålfalk, Mariana Brandini Romano, Henrique Sawakuchi (2023) The importance of plants for methane emission at the ecosystem scale Aquatic Botany, Vol. 184, Article 103596 Continue to DOI
Gustav Pajala, David Rudberg, Magnus Gålfalk, John Michael Melack, Sally Macintyre, Jan Karlsson, Henrique Oliveira Sawakuchi, Jonathan Schenk, Anna Katarzyna Sieczko, Ingrid Sundgren, Thanh Duc Nguyen, David Bastviken (2023) Source data for " Higher apparent gas transfer velocities for CO2 compared to CH4 in small lakes"


David Bastviken, Julie Wilk, Thanh Duc Nguyen, Magnus Gålfalk, Martin Karlson, Tina-Simone Schmid Neset, Tomasz Opach, Alex Enrich Prast, Ingrid Sundgren (2022) Measuring greenhouse gas fluxes: what methods do we have versus what methods do we need?




  • 2008
    PhD in Astronomy, Stockholm University 
  • 2000
    Master in Astronomy, Stockholm University


  • Geography 
  • Science studies