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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 water 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




Please find attached our DETECT newsletter. Here we will, in a quarterly format, publish news and activities within and in the scientific and political environment of our CRC, and also provide beneficial information on the non-scientific challenges you might face during your work in DETECT.

Please enjoy reading!


DETECT newsletter #03 | October 2022



DETECT newsletter #02 | July 2022



DETECT newsletter #01 | March 2022


CRC Lecture Series

To introduce the PhD students to interdisciplinary science conducted in the CRC, a lecture series is held twice a year. The series addresses the different disciplines in an introductory fashion, including concepts and techniques relevant for research in modelling and observation of the water cycle, as well as of the land surface and its use, also beyond what is applied in current CRC projects.

The number of participants for specific courses might be limited. Anyone interested to participate in a specific course has to check admission with the responsible lecturer listed in the table of lectures below.


responsible lecturer
08:00 - 16:00
Data assimilation and parameter estimation
Hendricks-Franssens, Harrie-Jan
08:30 - 11:30
Huisman, Johan A.
13:00 - 16:00
Service operations
Leyer, Michael
08:00 - 11:00
Agricultural economics
Hüttel, Silke
13:00 - 16:00
Productivity analysis
Seifert, Stefan
08:00 - 11:00
Data management and high-performance computing
Stein, Olaf
13:00 - 16:00
Statistical methods in weather and climate research
Friederichs, Petra
13:00 - 16:00
Observation of the water cycle
de Lannoy, Gabrielle
08:00 - 11:00
Crop modelling
Ewert, Frank
13:00 - 16:00
invited lecturer
08:00 - 11:00
Machine learning
Gall, Jürgen
13:00 - 16:00
Global climate model simulations
Fiedler, Stephanie

DETECT Seminar

“The land surface in the climate system”

In the DETECT Land & Climate Seminar, scientists of the CRC present the research progress of their project, but also international speakers external to the CRC are invited to present results of their investigations addressing issues within the wider context of the CRC, including scientists associated with projects of the CRC.

The seminar takes place irregularly on Mondays starting at 10:15. After an approximately 45 min. talk the presenters are happy to answer questions in a short discussion. The event is held via Zoom. Please contact the coordinator Frank Siegismund, if you would like to participate.


Guilleaume Lobet,
Juan Baca Cabrera
“Soil-plant-atmosphere modelling at organ scale”
Jürgen Kusche,
Charlotte Hacker
“Modeling Terrestrial Water Storage”
Hugo Storm,
Josef Baumert
“Probabilistic Crop Choice Modelling using Bayesian Statistics”
Thomas Gaiser,
Dominik Behrend
“Modeling water and nutrient fluxes in cropping systems”
Nicolas Brüggemann,
Youri Rothfuss,
Daniel Schulz
“Developing and deploying fully automated, stationary and mobile gas and isotope measurement systems”
Jan Börner,
Marco Ferro
”Empirical and modelling techniques to analyse LULCC”
Wulf Amelung,
Heike Schimmel
“Ecosystem parameterization”


The first DETECT cluster meetings are scheduled as follows:


Cluster A
Aug., 11th
09:00 - 11:00
Cluster B
Sept., 12th
10:00 - 12:00
Cluster C
July, 19th
09:00 - 13:00
Cluster D
July, 4th
13:30 - 15:30



Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kusche

University of Bonn
Geodesy and Geoinformation
Nußallee 17
53115 Bonn

  +49 228 73-2629


Prof. Dr. Silke Hüttel

University of Göttingen
(Co-opted to the LWF)
Agricultural Economics
Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5
37073 Göttingen

  +49 551 39-24846
Prof. Dr. Harry Vereecken

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Bio- and Geosciences
52425 Jülich

  +49 2461 614570


Coordination Office

Dorothee Berkle-Müller

Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1502 - DETECT
Kekulèstraße 39a
53115 Bonn

  +49 228 73-60585
  Coordination Office

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 (DA)
Division of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development (DARE)



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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