The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) is a research site in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. In its center is a 325 m-tall steel guyed mast. In addition, it includes two further 80 m tall towers, as well as several container-laboratories and a base camp to accommodate scientists and technicians working there. Nearby field sites and study plots complete the site.
The joint German-Brazilian project was established in 2009. 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. Our teams strives 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.
The Amazon, as the world’s largest continuous tropical forest, is of global significance. It is home to more than half of all plant and animal species on Earth and contains 40 % of all living biomass. An abundance of plants produces large amounts of oxygen while removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Furthermore, this large tropical forest controls the water cycle of the South American continent. The Amazon functions as the lungs and the beating heart of our planet. There is it vital to better understand the complex processes and interactions within the ecosystems.