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.

Initiatives in the Research Field Earth and Environment

In the following, a selection of initiatives in the research field Earth and Environment are presented:

The Helmholtz Climate Initiative

By establishing the Helmholtz Climate Initiative, Helmholtz is facilitating a systematic and interdisciplinary approach for the first time. This means that more intensive research will be conducted into ways of adapting to a changed climate and strategies to reduce emissions. The Helmholtz Climate Initiative encompasses all six research fields of Germany’s largest research organization. It will initially run for two years.

The Helmholtz Climate Initiative

MOSES (Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems)

The MOSES facility is designed to decipher the interactions of short-term events and long-term trends in Earth and environmental systems. MOSES follows a "system of systems" approach, combining sensors across compartments to allow for integrated observations in the atmosphere, at the land surface, in coastal regions, in the ocean and in the cryosphere. To create the new observing system, the Helmholtz Association is investing €28 million during the implementation phase from 2017 until 2021.

More Details about MOSES

Climate Service Center 2.0

A team of natural scientists, economists, political scientists and communication-specialists are working at the Climate Service Center 2.0. Their tasks are refining the knowledge derived from climate research in a practice-orientated way and conveying the findings to decision-makers in politics, administration, economy and for the broad public.

More details about the Climate Service Center 2.0

European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA)

The European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA) is an association of leading European research institutions in the field of climate research. ECRA has the objective to bring together to expand and to optimize European expertise in climate research by sharing existing national research capacities and infrastructures.

More details about the European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA)

Helmholtz Network REKLIM (Regional Climate Change)

The Earth is currently subject to profound climate change. The observed increase in global air and ocean temperatures, the melting of snow and ice and the rising sea level indicate a significant warming of the Earth in recent decades. However, the impacts of climate change can regionally be highly different. Within the framework of the Helmholtz Network "Regional Climate Change" (REKLIM) nine Research Centres of the Helmholtz Association focus their competences in exploring the regional climate. The networks research activities will help to improve the understanding of regional processes and therefore contribute to optimise mitigation and adaptation strategies.

More details about REKLIM

Regional Climate Offices of the Helmholtz Association

The effects of global climate change on particular regions vary significantly. Farmers, coastal engineers, town planners and other decision makers need first-hand information on regional climate change in order to adapt their region to the effects. The Helmholtz Association has therefore decided to initiate a German network of regional climate offices. Each of the four Regional Helmholtz Climate Offices is focusing on a certain region. We integrate regional climate change information based on latest research projects and make scientific results understandable to the public.

More details about Regional Climate Offices of the Helmholtz Association

TERENO - Terrestrial Environmental Observatories

The infrastructure measure TERENO is an observation platform which combines a variety of terrestrial observatories in selected and for Germany representative regions. The observatories continuously provide spatially and temporally distributed measured long-term data to support the further development and validation of integrated process models of terrestrial systems.

More details about "TERENO - Terrestrial Environmental Observatories"


The Earth and Environment DataHub integrates data repositories, infrastructures and services in the joint research programme “Changing Earth – Sustaining our Future” across Helmholtz centres. A comprehensive, common research data management (RDM) in an open and cooperative network enables the harmonisation of data flows and metadata profiles. This will enhance data (re-)usability in- and outside the research area and will foster better exchange with diverse national and international initiatives. Three compartment-specific associated hubs (ATMO, MARE, TERRA) form the core structure of the DataHub. They are connected by crosscutting activities and well-defined working groups pursuing joint developments. The creation and sustainable operation of the DataHub as a FAIR infrastructure furthers data science in Earth and Environment for new research and societal relevant insights. At the same time, the DataHub allows a systematic positioning and networking of RDM themes across research fields in Helmholtz, including the Helmholtz Metadata Collaboration (HMC) platform. In addition, relevant national (e.g. NFDI) and international (e.g. EOSC) RDM initiatives and organisation will be addressed. 


Print Version



"Taking the pulse of the planet"

Brochure of the Helmholtz Earth Observatory Network


"Integrated research for adressing global water challanges"

Brochure of the Helmholtz Water Network