Helmholtz Association

Research Field Earth and Environment

Our goal is to understand the System Earth to ensure that our home planet remains ecologically stable and the climate equilibrium is not knocked out of balance. Helmholtz researchers search for sustainable solutions for the co-existence of industrial society and the natural environment.

Goals and Roles

ZoomLena River Delta - Landsat 2000 05, Image: Alfred-Wegener-Institut
Lena River Delta - Landsat 2000 05, Image: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

It focuses on expanding and interconnecting long-term observation systems, improving predictions and applying results within society. One special goal is to formulate scientifically based policy recommendations on how the Earth’s resources can be used in a sustainable fashion without destroying the foundations of life. For example, REKLIM, a Helmholtz climate initiative, brings together the expertise of eight Helmholtz centres in an effort to improve regional and global climate models. In the Water Science Alliance, Helmholtz experts work together with universities and other partners to investigate the impact of global change on water resources. An important aim is to establish and operate infrastructure and facilities such as the HALO research aircraft and the TERENO network. This latter project involves the construction of terrestrial observatories in four selected regions in Germany. Within the scope of the COSYNA project, a longterm observation system will be created for the German North Sea and later extended to Arctic coastal waters.

Outlook

To meet the challenges, the research field Earth and Environment will continue to pool the capacities of the participating centres within shared research portfolios. This strategy will lead to new alliances and facilitate the expansion of Earth observation and knowledge systems as well as integrated modelling approaches. The interdisciplinary portfolio project “Earth System Knowledge Platform – Observation, Information and Transfer” will integrate the knowledge acquired by all the centres in this research field and by their partners. It aims to help society to cope with the complex challenges brought about by changes in the Earth system. The incorporation of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel into the Helmholtz Association has significantly expanded its research spectrum.

Research Programmes


Geosystem

This programme analyses processes in the geosphere and their interaction with the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.

More details about Research Programme Geosystem


Marine, Coastal and Polar Systems Programme

This programme concentrates on changes in the Arctic and Antarctic, their interaction with the global climate and polar ecosystems, vulnerable coasts and shelf seas and the polar perspective of Earth system analysis.

More details about Research Programme Marine, Coastal and Polar Systems


Oceans

This interdisciplinary programme examines the physical, chemical, biological and geological processes in oceans as well as the interactions between these processes and both the ocean floor and the atmosphere.

More details about Research Programme Oceans


Atmosphere and Climate Programme

The goal of this programme is to better understand the function of the atmosphere within the climate system. Topics are Clouds and Weather Research, Land Surface Processes, Tropospheric Trace Gases and Chemical Processes and  the Upper Troposphere and Middle Atmosphere.

More details about Research Programme Atmosphere and Climate


Terrestrial Environment Programme

The goal of this programme is to preserve the natural foundations of human life and health. It addresses the effects of global  change and climate change on terrestrial environmental systems.

More details about Research Programme Terrestrial Environment

The programmes in the funding period 2014-2018

Eight Helmholtz centres currently participate in the research field Earth and Environment: the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (since 2012), the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG), the Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Research is currently being conducted in five programmes:

Research Programmes


Geosystem

This programme analyses processes in the geosphere and their interaction with the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.

More details about Research Programme Geosystem


Marine, Coastal and Polar Systems Programme

This programme concentrates on changes in the Arctic and Antarctic, their interaction with the global climate and polar ecosystems, vulnerable coasts and shelf seas and the polar perspective of Earth system analysis.

More details about Research Programme Marine, Coastal and Polar Systems


Oceans

This interdisciplinary programme examines the physical, chemical, biological and geological processes in oceans as well as the interactions between these processes and both the ocean floor and the atmosphere.

More details about Research Programme Oceans


Atmosphere and Climate Programme

The goal of this programme is to better understand the function of the atmosphere within the climate system. Topics are Clouds and Weather Research, Land Surface Processes, Tropospheric Trace Gases and Chemical Processes and  the Upper Troposphere and Middle Atmosphere.

More details about Research Programme Atmosphere and Climate


Terrestrial Environment Programme

The goal of this programme is to preserve the natural foundations of human life and health. It addresses the effects of global  change and climate change on terrestrial environmental systems.

More details about Research Programme Terrestrial Environment

Insights into Research Field Earht and Environment

Here, we present projects currently being carried out by scientists at the Helmholtz Centres.

Insights into Research Field Earth and Environment

Contact

Prof. Dr. Georg Teutsch

Research Field Coordinator Earth and Environment

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 235-0
Fax: +49 341 235-1468
gf (at) ufz.de
http://www.ufz.de


Dr. Cathrin Brüchmann

Research Field Earth and Environment

Helmholtz Association

Phone: +49 30 206329-45
cathrin.bruechmann (at) helmholtz.de


 

"Taking the pulse of the planet"

Brochure of the Helmholtz Earth Observatory Network

29.07.2014