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Closed Projects


Consistent wave-mean flow modelling in coupled atmosphere-wave-ocean models

Project timeline: APR 2018 - MAR 2020

WaveFlow addresses the impact that unresolved wave-mean flow effects have on the circulation in the upper ocean. Specifically, the project aims to introduce recent improvements to the physical parameterizations of wave physics in a state-of-the-art wave model used for operational wave forecasting. The wave fields and fluxes will be implemented in an openly available wave model code and new processes tested with fields and fluxes from a decades-long wave hindcast of the soon to be completed ERA5 reanalysis studied. The tests will be carried out on scales, ranging from vertical column one-dimensional setups to regional, high-resolution models and all the way to global ocean-only and fully coupled atmosphere-wave-ocean forecast systems. The project aims to explore the beneficial impact on the predictability of forecast systems and the potential improvement to the circulation of the upper ocean. The project brings together a consortium with complementary competence on wave and ocean modelling and will lay novel foundations for how wave and ocean models should interact.


Analyse der Eigenschaften und Auswirkungen von Offshore Windpark-Fernfeldern

Projektlaufzeit: NOV 2015 – OKT 2018

Mehr als 500 Offshore-Windenergieanlagen gingen allein 2015 in Deutschland ans Netz. Wie solche Windparks sich untereinander beeinflussen und sich möglicherweise auf das lokale Klima auswirken, ließ sich bislang nur mit Modellen annähern. Der großflächige Ausbau macht es nun erstmals möglich, diese Effekte in der Realität zu untersuchen.

Das ist Gegenstand des BMWI geförderten Forschungsprojekts „WIPAFF", das vom Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie zusammen mit dem Hereon, der Universität Tübingen, der Universität Braunschweig und dem Deutschen Windinstitut (DEWI) durchgeführt wird. Die Ergebnisse sollen dazu beitragen, den weiteren Ausbau der Windkraftnutzung in der Nordsee möglichst effizient und umweltverträglich zu gestalten.

Ziel der Forscherinnen und Forscher am Institut für Küstenforschung des Hereon ist die Untersuchung des Windfeldes für den Bereich zwischen 10 und 100 Kilometern hinter großen Windparks mit Hilfe von Messdaten und numerischen Modellen. Die Dynamik in diesem Bereich ist äußerst komplex und wird durch verschiedene Faktoren in der Atmosphäre, aber auch Eigenschaften der Wasseroberfläche beeinflusst. Eine interessante Frage, die die Hereon Wissenschaftler zusammen mit Kollegen des IMK-IFU untersuchen wollen ist die Rolle des Seegangs für die Rauigkeit der Wasseroberfläche. Diese Rauigkeit spielt eine wichtige Rolle für den Impulsfluss von der Atmosphäre in den Ozean, d.h. der Abbremsung der unteren Luftschichten die Wasseroberfläche. In den bisher für die Modellierung der atmosphärischen Bedingungen im Bereich von Offshore Windfarmen verwendeten Modellen ist dieser Effekt nur sehr grob nachgebildet. Das Hereon betreibt hochaufgelöste Seegangsmodelle für die Deutsche Bucht, die Informationen über Wellenhöhe, Wellenlänge, und Wellenausbreitungsrichtung liefern und die für diese Untersuchung verwendete werden sollen. Ein weiterer wichtiger Teil der Arbeiten am Hereon wird sich mit der Analyse von Satellitendaten beschäftigen. Die Radarsensoren der Satelliten TerraSAR-X und SENTINEL-1 liefern Informationen über die Rauigkeit der Wasseroberfläche, die mit der Windgeschwindigkeit in der wassernahen Luftschicht in Verbindung steht. Mit den Radarbildern dieser Satelliten können große Teile der Deutschen Bucht mit einer hohen räumlichen Auflösung abgebildet werden. In der Regel ist es sogar möglich, einzelne Windturbinen zu erkennen. Mit Hilfe dieser Daten sollen Abschattungseffekte durch Windfarmen für verschiedene Wettersituation untersucht werden. Hierbei sind insbesondere die Distanzen, über die Windabschattungen in Abhängigkeit verschiedener Wettersituationen beobachtet werden können, von Interesse.


CEASELESS Copernicus Evolution and Applications with Sentinel Enhancements and Land Effluents for Shores and Seas

Project timeline: NOV 2016 – OKT 2019
The CEASELESS project will demonstrate how the new Sentinel measurements can support the development of a coastal dimension in Copernicus by providing an unprecedented level of resolution / accuracy / continuity with respect to present products. The retrieval and validation for restricted domains and for an enlarged set of combined, user oriented variables will be the basis to advance the state of the art in assimilation, modelling and applications, at a level commensurate with the new Sentinel capabilities. The project will address the multiple scales coexisting in littoral areas by developing new shallow water parameterizations, introducing them into coupled model suites (wind-wave-surge-current-land discharge) and producing new standards for coastal simulations and analyses. The permanent data base, with dynamic repositories, plus the modular structure of the developed models will demonstrate the technical feasibility of a future operational Copernicus coastal service. The set of derived products will be ingested into the users’ work routines, proving the economic feasibility of the Copernicus coastal extension. The level of conflicts in squeezed coastal zones, expected to grow in the face of climate change, will, thus, benefit directly from CEASELESS, establishing tangible contributions for a wide range of economic sectors. The data repositories (accessible via a dedicated portal), regularly updated with the evolving (satellite-derived) bathymetry will facilitate the use/re-use of our high resolution results, supporting a new set of Copernicus coastal applications such as renewable energy, coastal erosion or harbor exploitation. The mutual validation of satellite data, numerical results and in-situ observations will generate reciprocal profit for enhanced competiveness of EU coastal industries where we shall also explore the suitability for cases in 3rd countries, opening new business opportunities for a coastal Copernicus.
Hereon leads the work package entitled "Derived products / performances as proof-of-concept for a Copernicus coastal service".


Joint European Research Infrastructure Network for Coastal Observatory – Novel European expertise for coastal observatories

Project timeline: SEP 2015 - AUG 2019

The coastal area is the most productive and dynamic environment of the World Ocean with significant resources and services for mankind. JERICO-NEXT emphasizes that the complexity of the coastal ocean cannot be well understood if interconnection between physics, biogeochemistry and biology is not guaranteed. Such integration requires new technological developments allowing continuous monitoring of a larger set of parameters. In the continuity of JERICO(FP7), the objective of JERICO-NEXT consists in strengthening and enlarging a solid and transparent European network in providing operational services for the timely, continuous and sustainable delivery of high quality environmental data and information products related to marine environment in European coastal seas. Other JERICO-NEXT objectives include: Support to European coastal research communities, enable free and open access to data, enhance the readiness of new observing platform networks by increasing the performance of sensors, showcase of the adequacy of the so-developed observing technologies and strategies, propose a medium-term roadmap for coastal observatories through a permanent dialogue with stakeholders. Although JERICO-NEXT already includes industrial partners, it will be open to other research institutes, laboratories and private companies which could become associated partners to the project.

The Hereon contribution to JERICO-NEXT is through its North Sea coastal observatory system COSYNA.
Furthermore, observation system assessments will be performed using numerical models. One particular focus is on HF radar systems.


COPERNICUS Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) - Coupled ocean-wave model development in forecast environment

Project timeline: MAR 2016 – FEB 2018

WAVE2NEMO contributes to the development of the COPERNICUS Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS). It specifically aims at improving the coupling of the ocean model system to wave models. The target areas are the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The main objectives of the project are:
• Further development of the NEMO ocean model and the forcing which will explicitly include the effect of waves from wave models on the upper ocean dynamics;
• Providing software for additional parameters which have to be exchanged between waves and hydrodynamic models,
• Improved validation methods by retrieved wave information from satellite data and in situ platforms (buoys, moorings, HF radars, etc.);
• Demonstrating the interaction of waves and currents at small scales both in the ocean interior as well as near the shoreline.


(Earth System Knowledge Platform) is a platform under development informing about risks and chances of global change in the environment. The scientifically validated and processed information comprising the topics water, ground, climate or natural disasters shall enable the society, policymakers and economy to make sound decisions on preventive future strategies. Besides 8 Helmholtz Centres further partners are engaged in the project. Funding is provided by the German Research Society (Deutsche Forchungsgemeinschaft) and the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.

Future Ems

The future of the Ems-Dollart estuary – tackling environmental degradation

The Ems-Dollart estuary is of high ecologic and economic value to the neighboring regions in both the Netherlands and Germany. During the past decades, the environmental conditions in the Ems-Dollart have rapidly degraded/worsened, such as an increased load of suspended matter and an increase in tidal range. As a consequence, the risk of storm floods seawards the weir at Gandersum has increased, harbors and channels have increasingly silted up and the ecologic value has decreased.

In a bilateral and multi-disciplinary project, researchers from the Netherlands and Germany and a variety of disciplines, such as oceanography, mathematics, geochemistry and biology, will collaborate in order to advance the knowledge of the system substantially and provide new tools for addressing practical key problems. The project aims at developing a model with which the behaviour of the Ems can be simulated in great detail. This tool will be subsequently used to stimulate debate between scientists and decision makers on designing proper, cheap and environmentally friendly measures aimed at improving the ecologic value of the system, while maintaining its important role for the local economy.

The project 'Impact of climate change and human intervention on hydrodynamics and environmental conditions in the Ems-Dollart estuary: an integrated data-modelling approach' started in December 2011 and will last for four years. During this period, the researchers will collect new environmental data, integrate existing data as well as advance and extend a numerical model of the system. This improved model will be used to assess the response of the Ems-Dollart system ‘s characteristics, such as water motion, sediment, oxygen and phytoplankton concentrations, to both climate change (i.e. sea level rise, changes in storm statistics and tidal conditions) and human intervention. In addition, simple models will be used to advance the understanding of key processes in the Ems.


WIMO - Wissenschaftliche Monitoringkonzepte für die Deutsche Bucht (Scientific monitoring concepts for the German Bight)
This project network addresses significant environmental parameters in the sea, the state and quality development of the German sea regions as well as scientific advice for the decision makers. Furthermore display formats suitable for the public community will be developed.
The project is funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture and the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony.


Pre-operational marine service continuity in transition towards Copernicus

Project timeline: OCT 2014 – MAY 2015

MyOcean is a project of the 7th framework program of the EU to build up GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, now Copernicus) Marine Core Services. It shall establish an integrated paneuropean capacity to monitor and predict the ocean. One goal is to provide the user a continuous approach to Copernicus service products and establish the necessary interface to research and development activities. Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht coordinates the scientific and technical development in MyOcean-2, especially in the frame of numerical modelling and data assimilation, but is also engaged in in the Ocean Colour TAC (Thematic Assembly Centre) and the Monitoring and Forecasting Centres (MFCs) for the Baltic and the Black Sea.


A pan-European concerted and integrated approach to operational wave modelling and forecasting – a complement to GMES MyOcean services

Project timeline: JAN 2012 – DEC 2014

MyWave is a project of the 7th framework program of the EU which aims at the improvement of services of the European Program for the establishment of a European capacity for Earth Observation in the field of “Marine Environment Monitoring Systems”. First of all the ocean wave and circulation models shall be substantially improved by developing modern coupled atmosphere -wave-ocean model systems. This comprises new methods for ocean wave physics, coupled methods of wave-ocean-atmosphere and new data assimilation techniques where satellite data from coastal areas will be used more frequently.
Main task for the Institute of Coastal Research of the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht is to combine and document all developments which will lead to a new standard model version of the wave model WAM.


Task of the Helmholtz network EOS is to look at the system earth – consisting of lithosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere and biosphere – and to analyse their functionality globally and regionally. It investigates how human action influences the natural balances and processes in this highly complex system.

In this sense the network EOS collects the geoscientific competence of the following centres: Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the National Aeronautics and Space Research Centre (DLR), Research Centre Jülich (FZJ), Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht Centre for Material and Coastal Research (Hereon) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Altogether the infrastructure of all these six Helmholtz Centres is manifold comprising research vessels, aeroplanes and up-to-date satellite sensors and super computers.

Seven research topics which are investigated by the research community, range from analysis of atmospheric, hydrological and ecological systems and processes, monitoring of individual dangers and risks in a changing environment to the development of new monitoring systems of the earth.

Changes observed over a wide area cannot be caught by single measurements alone. This leads to a main focal point “global change and processes in the ocean and at the coast”, coordinated by Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht, where changes in the marine environment are analysed with remote sensing and in situ methods combined with numerical models.


The research project Hypox, a project of the 7th framework programme of the EU, aims at better understanding the oxygen depletion in open seas and land-locked water bodies. This process is influenced by climate change and a dramatic impact on the ecosystem and the economy of coastal areas is expected.

In Hypox the scientific basis will be developed which allows modelling and forecasting the oxygen depletion on different temporal and spatial scales. One of the main issues is the improvement of model capacities by coupling physical and biogeochemical processes in three-dimensional numerical coupled models as well as integration of existing data.

It is expected that the data assimilation not only enables a more exact estimate and prediction of the oxygen content but also provides basic recommendations for the improvement of oxygen monitoring systems.


FIELD_AC (Fluxes, Interactions and Environment at the Land-Ocean Boundary. Downscaling, Assimilation and Coupling) aims at the improvement of predictability for the coastal area using high-resolving numerical models and measurements. Fresh water discharge as well as sediment and nutrient input for geographically limited areas (with strong gradients and up to now high prediction errors) will be considered. The results of the project contribute to improve operational services for coastal areas and will be a surplus for GMES Marine Core Services which are limited to shelf seas and regional scales. FIELD_AC fills the gap between forecasts for shelf seas and coastal areas.


ACOAST-Baltic (Assessment of coastal observing systems in the Baltic Sea: on the route to developing science based coastal services). Main goal of the project is the establishment of a forum which fosters the development of intelligent coastal monitoring systems. It is restricted to certain areas (e.g. Danish sounds and belts, German coastal waters, Swedish coastal waters, Gulf of Finland). It is necessary to assess existing measurement systems and improve their functionality. The approach is to combine remote sensing data and numerical model results to identify, understand, and predict physical, biogeochemical and biological processes in intensively used coastal areas and to minimise uncertainties in the ecosystem prediction.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.


BALTICWAY (“Significance of currents for the environmental management of the maritime industry in the Baltic”) aims at diminishing environmental risks caused by the industry (e.g. pollution from ships which cause damages in environmental sensitive areas far from the accident). Strategies are investigated to minimise any damage. The scientific approach is based on the intelligent use of statistically heterogeneous semi-persistent current patterns, the knowledge of which is important for the drift of ships without power unit, rescue boats or lost containers. Areas with minor risks are therefore most appropriate for waterways and the operation of potentially dangerous installations in the sea.

The German contribution is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Further EU Projects

YEOS (Yellow Sea Observation, Forecasting and Information System): YEOS is an EU FP6 Specific Supported Action, which aims at technical transfer and international cooperation with developing countries, as a part of EU contribution to GEOSS. The goal of YEOS is to strengthen the GOESS cooperation between EU and other key GEOSS players, by demonstrating benefits and building up confidence through a solid cooperation in national level (i.e., EU-States-China-South Korea) and regional level (i.e., BOOS - Yellow Sea OOS).

ADOPT (Advanced decision support system for ship design, operation and training) : The project will focus on optimizing safety by development of a system that senses the environment for actual situation data, and predicting the ship motions accordingly, thereby ensuring optimal operational performance, relying on computer based decision support tool creating an interface to be used in ship operation, training and design.

SAFEDOR (Design, operation and regulation for safety): SAFEDOR undertakes to deliver the foundation for Europe to sustain world-leadership on safety-critical and knowledge-intensive ships, services, products, equipment and related software and to install systematic innovation in ship design and operation by modernizing the maritime regulatory system.

HIPOCAS (Hindcast of Dynamic Processes of the Ocean and Coastal Areas of Europe): Retrieval of a 40-year hindcast of wind, wave, sea-level and current climatology for European waters and coastal seas for application in coastal and environmental decision processes.

SEAROUTES Advanced decision support for shiprouting based on full-scale ship-specific Responses as well as improved sea and weather forecasts including synoptic, high precision and realtime satellite data.

MaxWave (Maximum Waves): Main objectives are the investigation of properties and forecasting abilities of low frequency wave fields, extreme individual waves and wave groups as well as derivation of new design criteria considering the impact of rogue waves on ships and offshore constructions (coordinator).

EuroRose (European Radar Ocean Sensing): Development of a transportable methodology for monitoring and forecasting winds, waves, water level and currents in limited areas (coordinator).

COST714 (Measurement and Use of Directional Spectra of Ocean Waves): Development of methods for directional wave spectra retrieval from remote sensing and directional wave spectra for modeling application. Comparison of different wave measuring techniques.

PIONEER (Preparation and Integration of Analysis Tools towards Operational Forecast of Nutrients in Estuaries of European Rivers): Development of techniques for the day-to-day monitoring, analysis and short-term prediction of nutrient and related suspended matter distributions in estuaries.

PROMISE (Pre-operational Modeling in the Seas of Europe Sylt-Rømø): Develop a framework to optimize the application of existing pre-operational dynamical models of the North Sea towards the present focus of quantifying the rates and scales of exchange of sediment between the coast and the near-shore zone.

WASA (Waves and Storms in the North Atlantic): Investigation of hypotheses of a worsening storm and wave climate in the Northeast Atlantic and its adjacent seas in the present century (coordinator).

NEPTUN An integrated approach for determining North West European coastal extremes.

WASP (Wadden Sea Project): Development and testing of combined models of wind, waves, currents, sediment and ecosystem (coordinator).

Further Projects

CliWaCoas (Climate Change, Wind-Wave Interaction and Anthropogenic Impact on Coastal Processes ): Investigation of risks that may develop in the coastal regions under accepted scenarios of possible climate change and/or human activity. Scientific and technological cooperation project with TECHNION in Israel. BMBF funded.

GITEWS (German Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System): Development of a Tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean. GKSS´s part is to model the Tsunami wave propagation, transformation and run-up in selected coastal areas. BMBF funded.

EXTROP (Investigation of Extratropical Cyclones Using Passive and Active Microwave Radars): The aim of the Virtual Institute is to improve the predictability of cyclones in the northern Atlantic using various remote sensing techniques. HGF funded.

SOWWC (SAR Ocean Wind, Waves and Currents): Develop and validate processing methods for ocean wind, waves and current retrieval from ENVISAT ASAR data with a view to their rapid incorporation into operational products. ESA funded.

MOSES Modelling of the mid-term wave climate within the German North Sea coastal area. BMBF funded.

ODERHAFF Hydrodynamics and transports in tideless coastal waters.

ODERFLUT (Oder flood): Simulation of a flood plain in the catchment area of the Oder with a coupled model system (coordinator).

ENVOC A New Perspective of the Ocean. The instruments of the European satellite ENVISAT will be used for various tasks including improvement of wind, wave and sea ice measurements as well as water constituent, hydrobiological and geochemical monitoring (consortium).

SARPAK (Spatial Resolution of Marine Parameters with ERS-SAR Images): Investigation of the spatial Resolution of marine meteorological and marine biological parameter fields in coastal areas with ERS-SAR images (coordinator).

Environmental assessment study for the deepening of the Elbe river (consortium).

Baltic Sea hindcast for reconstruction of the breakwater and entrance of Warnemünde harbor, Rostock, Germany. On behalf of the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW), Germany.

40 year hindcast of the southern North Sea for the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW), Germany.

Investigation of sea state near to the coast and the estuaries of the German Bight for the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW), Germany.

Measurement and modeling of ocean wave spectra for the calibration and validation phase of the European remote sensing satellite ERS-1.

Hindcast study and extreme value analysis of 132 storms in the Southern North Sea for a consortium of 6 oil companies.

NESS (North European Storm Study): A hindcast study to establish extreme value statistics of winds, waves and currents for the North European shelf areas (consortium).

SWAM Comparison of several deep-water wave models (consortium).

SWIM Comparison of several shallow water wave models (consortium).