HZG logoThe Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research GmbH (HZG) is one of 18 members of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. HZG is located in Geesthacht near Hamburg with branches in Teltow near Berlin and in Hamburg, with a total staff of approximately 850 employees, including about 600 scientists, engineers and technicians.

The main HZG research areas cover materials science with foci on advanced engineering materials, research with neutrons and synchrotron radiation and regenerative medicine, as well as environmental research focusing on marine, coastal and polar systems. HZG has gained experience for years and has cultivated a successful tradition in both the co-ordination of and participation in different types of EU projects. Since the year 2000, researchers at HZG have coordinated some 30, and have participated in more than 110 EU projects co-financed by the European Commission through FP5, FP6 and FP7 priority programmes.

Institute of Coastal Research

Coastal systems are under constant pressure from short and long term natural influences, including erosion or sea level rise due to climate change, and from human endeavours, for example, transportation, land use patterns, tourism, etc. As a means to identify the potential for change, sustainability, and adaptation, coastal research provides the tools, assessments, and scenarios for managing this vulnerable landscape.

The Institute of Coastal Research represents one part of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. The institute’s research activities span both the natural and human dimensions of coastal dynamics, analyzing the coastal system in global and regional contexts, conducting assessments of the state and sensitivity of the coastal system to natural and human influences, and developing scenarios of future coastal options, for instance for the North Sea.

The coastal seas host unique ecosystems, provide numerous services to society, and mediate important matter fluxes with significant impacts on regional water quality and the global climate. Current observations reveal changes in biogeochemistry and food webs, but neither the causes nor consequences of these shifts are known. A key question is how the numerous interactions between physical, biogeochemical and ecological parameters of coastal seas can be best described and how they will evolve in future.

Within coastal research a major platform is the coastal observing system COSYNA, an operational coastal monitoring, forecasting and information system for the North Sea. The mission of COSYNA is to develop and test analytical systems for the operational synoptic description of the environmental status of coastal waters. COSYNA aims to provide knowledge tools that can help authorities and other stakeholders to manage routine tasks, emergency situations and evaluate trends. The main topic of COSYNA is the development and application of “integrated monitoring strategies” which include in-situ measurements, satellite remote sensing and numerical modelling. COSYNA is financed and co-ordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. The scientific work is carried out together with partners from Helmholtz-Association, universities and monitoring authorities.

COSYNA has an open data policy, providing real-time or near real-time data and forecasts to the public via internet. The COSYNA data portal gives a comprehensive presentation of all COSYNA measured and modelled data and metadata. The COSYNA data access can be found here.