The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich have founded a joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC). This creates a high-profile international focal point in the Rhineland for global Earth system observation with the aim of making strides toward a comprehensive understanding of our planet and better predicting changes.
In times of global environmental change, it is important to deepen our knowledge of the diverse processes that make up the Earth's climate system. Precise description of the interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, ice, soil, vegetation and ultimately mankind is prerequisite to realizing better weather and climate models. Observing the Earth is essential because without comprehensive observation it is impossible to make accurate predictions.
This is where the Center for Earth Science Observations and Computational Analysis comes in, which will leverage in unison the core competencies of the three institutions in Bonn, Cologne and Jülich. The fields represented are meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, hydrology, climatology and paleoclimatology, soil science and near-surface geophysics, plant and agricultural science, geodesy, remote sensing, geoinformatics, mathematics, scientific computing and computer science. The Faculties of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Cologne and Bonn respectively and the Faculty of Agriculture are involved as well as two Transdisciplinary Research Areas of the University of Bonn. The institutes for energy and climate research and for the bio- and geosciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich are part of the new center, as well as the Jülich Supercomputing Center.
The rectors of the two universities, the deans of the participating faculties and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich have now signed the cooperation agreement finalizing the formation of the new CESOC. Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kusche of the University of Bonn, Prof. Dr. Susanne Crewell of the University of Cologne and Prof. Dr. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr of Forschungszentrum Jülich have been appointed as founding directors. The CESOC office will be established at the University of Bonn.
The CESOC research approach will be transdisciplinary, as founding director Prof. Crewell emphasized: "To better understand weather and climate we not only have to look at the atmosphere but also at adjacent areas, such as soil, plants, oceans, etc. to understand how these interact with the atmosphere. Such processes are extremely complex, and their description by means of computer simulation represents a major challenge for science, as Prof. Kiendler-Scharr of Forschungszentrum Jülich noted: "To describe the many interacting processes we need mathematics, computer science, big data, optimization, data analysis, artificial intelligence and, last but not least, extremely powerful supercomputers such as those we have at Jülich. Progress in computer development will help us overcome current simplifications and parameterizations in the models and open up the possibility of simulating processes in line with their fundamental physical and chemical relationships.
Founding Director Prof. Kusche commented: "Together these three locations form a 'super competence center' of international standing. We complement each other excellently in research, teaching and development, and will thus be an attractive partner for strategic alliances and joint top-level research. This will be all the more the case if Germany is successful in its application for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF), which would then be located on the Rhine. State Secretary Dr. Tamara Zieschang of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, which is in charge of the application, explains: “The European programs 'Copernicus' and 'Digital Earth' are aimed at achieving a better understanding of our climate system. To this end, we have proposed Bonn as a location because it has the required high level of expertise and is ideally located within Europe. This puts us in an excellent starting position for the member states’ decision in December 2020.”
CESOC has impact both beyond and within the Rhineland metropolitan region. It will thus promote research excellence and innovative methods, attracting young researchers in the environmental and natural sciences and related fields. Lectures, workshops and conferences are to be held to inspire and facilitate the exchanging of ideas. The two participating universities are also planning to launch joint study programs.
Prof. Dr. Susanne Crewell
Institut für Geophysik und Meteorologie (IGM)
Universität zu Köln
+49 221 470-5286
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