Geosystem: The Changing Earth

The key challenge facing Earth Sciences is the development of appropriate strategies to safeguard human living conditions during rapid growth of the world population on a highly variable and dynamic planet Earth. As a consequence, the programme "Geosystem: The Changing Earth" (coordination: GFZ, Potsdam; contributor: GEOMAR, Kiel) aims at understanding, quantifying, and predicting processes in the geosphere and their interaction with the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere with a focus on the human timescale.

Our top-level long-term goals are:

  • monitoring and modeling of key geo-processes with the highest possible resolution,
  • comprehension and assessment of the impact of these processes on the human habitat,
  • development of solutions and strategies for disaster reduction and risk mitigation,
  • development of geotechnologies for utilizing the Earth’s subsurface as a resource.

We integrate process-oriented and applied research involving a wide spectrum of state of the art infrastructure combining near-Earth satellites, airborne systems, permanent geophysical and geodetic instrument networks, Earth System Observatories, deep drilling equipment, mobile instrument arrays, as well as integrated analytical and experimental facilities. We offer these facilities and other services to the international scientific community as part of the Helmholtz large-scale research infrastructure and platforms. Integration of our research with other Helmholtz-institutions will particularly emphasize the joint development of observation and monitoring strategies and infrastructure. Furthermore, major industry collaborations underpin our research activities, interfacing pure with applied research perspectives.

The expertise available at GFZ and at GEOMAR encompasses a wide spectrum including, among others, geodesists, geophysicists, geologists, mineralogists, geochemists, volcanologists, physicists, biologists, mathematicians and engineers, in addition to advanced technologies. Moreover, we have close connections with several programmes in the research area ‘Earth and Environment’. Close links also exist with the programmes 'Space' in the research area 'Transport & Space' and 'Renewable Energy' in the research area 'Energy'.

Programme Spokesperson

Onno Oncken
Section Head
Prof. Dr. Onno Oncken
Lithosphere Dynamics
Building E, Room 424
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1310

Programme Coordinator

Pia Victor
Dr. Pia Victor
Lithosphere Dynamics
Building E, Room 421
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1357