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Collaborative Research Centre 1502


The German Research Foundation DFG has decided on November 25, 2021, to establish the Collaborative Research Centre CRC1502 at the University of Bonn.

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Regional Climate Change:
Disentangling the Role of Land Use and Water Management

The CRC1502 joins forces in the University of Bonn and its project partners to address one of the most challenging problems in our understanding of climate change.

While several continental regions on Earth are getting wetter, others are drying out not only in terms of precipitation but also measured by the increase or decrease in surface water, water stored in the soils, the plant root zone, and in groundwater. Observations, however, do not support a simple dry-gets-dryer and wet-gets-wetter logic and existing climate models fail to explain observed patterns of hydrological change sufficiently.




This CRC aims to close this gap in understanding. To better comprehend the origin of these patterns, it is necessary to build a modelling framework that explains past observations as realistically as possible, accounts for potential drivers of change that may have been understudied in the past, and can predict future changes.


The central hypothesis

Humans – through decades of land-use change and intensified water use and management – have caused persistent modifications in the coupled water and energy cycles of land and atmosphere.

Compared to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing and natural variability, these human-induced changes contribute considerably to the observed trends in water storage at the regional scale. We hypothesize that – next to known local effects – human land management, land and water use changes have altered the regional atmospheric circulation and related water transports. These changes in the weather balance’s spatial patterns have, it is hypothesized, created and amplified imbalances that lead to excessive drying or wetting in more remote regions.

To address these hypotheses a broad range of scientific disciplines collaborates closely to further develop the IMS in order to allow for reproduction of these interactions. We will test the central hypothesis for a single region of continental size in the 1st phase (Europe/Eurasia) and in later phases evaluate the transferability of our approach for regions with different environmental conditions. We will develop evidence-based sustainability criteria for land and water use activities.


Four scientific Cluster + one Service-Cluster

The structure of the CRC considers four clusters. This will enable us to take a more comprehensive view and merge process understanding and integration of experimental results. All projects will be supported by Z: Service projects.

For detailed description of the clusters please click on the corresponding link.


Representation of processes




Building the integrated modelling system



Service projects


Establishing an improved data record




Simulation and diagnostics




Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kusche

University of Bonn
Geodesy and Geoinformation
Nußallee 17
53115 Bonn

  +49 228 73-2629


Prof. Dr. Silke Hüttel

University of Bonn
Food and Resource Economics
Meckenheimer Allee 174
53115 Bonn

  +49 228 73-2891


Prof. Dr. Harry Vereecken

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Bio- and Geosciences
52425 Jülich

  +49 2461 614570


Participating Institutions


University of Bonn

Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation (IGG)
Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES)
Institute for Food and Resource Economics (ILR)
Institute for Geosciences and Meteorology (IGM)
Institute for Computer Science (CS)
Innovation Campus Bonn (ICB))
High Performance Computing and Analytics Lab (HPC/A)



University of Cologne

Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology (IGM)



University of Göttingen

Division of Agronomy



Research Centre Jülich

Institute of Bio- and Geosciences - Agrosphere (IBG-3)
Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC)



German National Meteorological Service

Hans Ertel Centre for Weather Research at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne (HErZ)
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