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The TERENO Pre- Alpine Observatory integrates meteorological, hydrological, and biogeochemical measurements and activities from the atmospheric boundary layer through the atmosphere-ecosystem interface down to the aquifer. In brief, interdisciplinary research in the TERENO Pre-Alpine Observatory spans the variability and interaction of interlinked water, energy and nutrient cycles, including ecosystem C and N dynamics, and associated exchange processes with the atmosphere (greenhouse gases) and hydrosphere (N leaching) and biodiversity. Mountain areas are characterized by steep topographically induced climate gradients, enabling study designs spanning different climatic zones along short distances. In the Ammer catchment region of the observatory, temperature lapse rates are around 0.6°C per 100 m in summer and 0.45°C per 100 m in winter.

 

The key hydrological objectives comprise (i) improved quantification of the spatiotemporal variability of precipitation in complex terrain, (ii) investigation of soil moisture response to precipitation, and (iii) quantification of the variability, interaction, and closure of the regional interlinked water and energy cycles.

 

The key micrometeorological objectives are related to the biosphere–atmosphere exchange of heat, water, and CO2, with particular focus on (i) improving our understanding of atmospheric exchange processes in complex terrain, (ii) investigation of the energy balance closure problem, and (iii) the response of net ecosystem exchange to transient climatic events.

 

The key biogeochemical objectives include characterization and quantification of ecosystem C and N storage, turnover, and associated biosphere–atmosphere–hydrosphere matter exchange with a particular focus on (i) GHG emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O), (ii) nutrient export by seepage water, and (iii) vegetation and microbial productivity and diversity affecting ecosystem C and N transformations and losses.