About ATTO

The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) is a  joint German-Brazilian project that was first initiated in 2008 and centers around a research site in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. With ATTO, our main goal is to further our understanding of the Amazon rainforest and its interaction with the soil beneath and the atmosphere above.

At the core of the project is our desire to learn more about biogeochemical cycles (such as the carbon cycle), the water cycle and energy fluxes in the Amazon. We want to determine their impact on global climate and how they are influenced by the changing climate and land-use change. Our teams strive to close a gap in the global climate monitoring network and hope to gain deeper insight into the fundamental concepts of gas exchange and cloud formation in tropical rainforests. With the findings from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory we want to improve climate prediction models and to recognize the importance of the Amazon within the climate system.

Video series "Arbeitsplatz ATTO" ("Workplace ATTO")

In this 10-part series of short videos, PhD student Leslie Kremper shows you around ATTO and gives insights into her research. Videos are in German, and English subtitles are available.

Infrastructure at ATTO

Over the years, a once small research site grew into a state-of-the-art observatory. Today, its most striking feature is a 325 m-tall steel guyed tower. It provides an unprecedented platform for sampling air and climate variables that integrate forest influence on the atmosphere over distances from kilometers to several hundreds of kilometers. Two additional 80 m tower towers enable studies of soil-atmosphere exchange away from the disturbance of tower construction.

Beyond the towers, the ATTO infrastructure includes climate-controlled containers to house laboratory instrumentation, and a field camp supporting food and lodging for ATTO personnel and visiting researchers. In the surrounding area, walkways have been constructed to provide access to the canopy, a canopy walkway, and several field plots to study (undisturbed) soils.

An (incomplete) overview:



one 325 tall tower & two smaller ones



one 80 m research mast & one in the camp for internet



almost all housed in shipping containers



housed in another shipping container



for building and repair works by our technicians



where everyone sleeps in hammocks



where our cooks prepare three meals a day



with toilets and showers with (warm) running water



for data transmission and WiFi access

SAT dishes


when people stay for several weeks, it’s nice to have TV



the site is currently powered by diesel generators



to get to and from the site



includes pick-up trucks, a tractor and a truck



almost all housed in shipping containers



a shed that operates as a garage

Not included here is additional infrastructure away from the main ATTO site. However, it is important to note, that ATTO research also takes place at other sites in the region. This includes several long-term plots at the INPA-run field station at ZF2, located about half-way between the cities of Manaus and Presidente Figueiredo. Forests are similar at the two sites, and there are synergies with other international programs (e.g., Amazon FACE and AFEX nutrient addition experiments, both INPA), LBA (Brazilian program that supports – among other research – a flux tower network in Amazonia), and NGEE Tropics. Further sites in the region are used to study the effects of windthrow disturbance, floodplain ecosystems and the function of degraded and secondary forests.

As we continue to broaden the scientific scope of the project and expand our collaboration with other projects and partners, this network and infrastructure at ATTO and associated sites will likely grow as well.

To find out more about our research in the remote Amazon Rainforest, have a look around!

  • Location

    Where exactly is ATTO located? Check here!

  • Research

    What exactly do we study? Click here!

  • Gallery

    Want see more photos? Visit our gallery!