Associated Helmholtz Observatories

During the building and implementation phase, MOSES will take advantage of existing Helmholtz observation sites: COSYNA Coastal Observing System, CVOO Cape Verde Ocean Observatory, Lena Delta/SAMOYLOV Permafrost Observation Station and TERENO Terrestrial Environmental Observatories. These sites are thoroughly equipped for setting up and testing the new facility as well as the event-driven observation concept. All sites are easily accessible, operate in close cooperation with the respective international partners, provide high quality long-term data sets and are tied to the relevant international monitoring networks. For the regular operation period, they will be highly suitable sites for event-driven campaigns due to their unique long-term monitoring databases. In this respect, the sites are a crucial prerequisite for the MOSES facility’s success and are outlined below.


The Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas is an integrated observation and modeling system that provides an operational and synoptic description of the environmental status of the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Arctic coastal waters. COSYNA ( provides free real-time data, forecasts and tools that help authorities, industry and the public plan and manage routine tasks, respond to emergency situations and evaluate trends. Scientific process studies provide continuous improvement in understanding multi-disciplinary dynamics in a fragile and changing coastal system. COSYNA is a joint observation network of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht with ten national partner institutions and is part of EuroGOOS.


The Cape Verde Ocean Observatory ( consists of operational atmosphere and ocean observation sites for climate-relevant environmental parameters in the tropical eastern North Atlantic Ocean. The observational program at CVOO is based on two components: a long-term multiparameter deep-sea mooring maintained continuously since 2006 and a ship-based monthly sampling program based on the small Cape Verdean research vessel Islandia. CVOO is operated jointly by GEOMAR and the National Institute for Fisheries Development of Cape Verde. It is an official component of OceanSITES, FixO3/FP7, AtlantOS/H2020 and ICOS. National cooperation has been established with the University of Kiel, the Max-Planck Society and the Leibnitz Society. The local research infrastructure will soon be considerably improved by the joint construction of the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo, which is currently underway.


Joint Russian-German research has used Samoylov Island as a base for fieldwork since 1998 ( This cooperation has led to the establishment of a multi-disciplinary research program with long-term data records based at the Samoylov Research Station, jointly operated by the Lena Delta Reserve and AWI. A new state-of-the-art arctic field station, the Research Station Samoylov Island, officially opened in 2013 and maintains year-round operation. It is owned and operated by the Trofimuk Institute for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The joint Russian-German research expeditions LENA, coordinated by AWI, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg and the Melnikov Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk, are the main users of the new station. German cooperation includes the Universities of Cologne, Hamburg and Potsdam. Long-term observations of permafrost, climate and greenhouse gas fluxes were initiated in 1998. The data are included in international networks such as the European Fluxes Database Cluster, GTNP (part of GCOS) and GCW (Global Cryosphere Watch).


The Terrestrial Environmental Observatories ( were founded in 2008. TERENO comprises a network of four German terrestrial observatories that cover the subsurface, the land surface (including the biosphere and hydrosphere) and the lower atmosphere. The network capitalizes on new monitoring and measurement technologies, including newly launched satellite platforms. It also embraces integrative modeling approaches combined with data assimilation techniques. Hydrologic units are the basic scaling units in a hierarchy of evolving scales and structures, ranging from the local scale to the regional scale, and facilitate multi-disciplinary process studies. TERENO observational data are available to the science community via the TEODOOR data platform. TERENO is operated by six Helmholtz Centres in close cooperation with more than ten universities. It is part of ICOS and the eLTER research platforms and is presently hosting six Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs), which are part of the international CZEN network. TERENO will serve as a blueprint for the establishment of a European network for long-term ecological research sites and critical zone observatories. In addition, TERENO participates in the international CAL/VAL satellite missions (SMOS and SMAP).

The MOSES observation concept is dependent on the availability of long-term and large-scale data in order to unravel the impact of events on system behavior. This reference information will be retrieved from the Helmholtz Observatories and international long-term observation networks such as the FLUXNET, ICOS, LTER, NEON, CZO, IAGOS, AERONET, GOOS and EuroGOOS, ACTRIS, GCW (WMO), GTNP etc. The Helmholtz Observatories are members of many of these networks. Vital to providing large-scale reference data are ongoing and planned satellite missions such as SMOS, SMAP,

Sentinels, EnMap, Grace-FO, Tandem-L, ATMO-Sat. With the Helmholtz initiatives ACROSS and ALLIANCE REMOTE SENSING, an important bridge between in situ and satellite observations has been established.

The flexibility arising from the modular infrastructure concept enables the MOSES facility to cover a broad range of events and Earth system components. Combined MOSES modules can bridge observation scales in the order of meters to several hundred kilometers spatially, and on a temporal scale, from seconds to months. In combination with data sets from the reference systems mentioned above, the extremely large range of scales inherent in Earth system research can be addressed. The event-driven campaigns will offer dense and multi-parameter information on events and their direct impact. These highly resolved data sets will provide complementary and much needed contributions to the international Earth observation efforts. Such advancement can only be achieved by the joint efforts of the Helmholtz Centres, by consolidating their knowledge and experience in developing and managing Earth observation infrastructure.