The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) is a research site in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. It is centered around a 325 m-tall steel guyed mast, with two further 80 m-tall towers, as well as six container-labs and a base camp to accommodate visitors. The site is complemented by nearby field sites and study plots.
The German-Brazilian joint project was established in 2009 to further our understanding of the Amazon rainforest flora and fauna and its interaction with the soil beneath and the atmosphere above. At the core of the project is the desire to learn more about biogeochemical cycles (such as the carbon cycle), the water cycle and energy fluxes in the Amazon, their impact on global climate and how they are in turn influenced by the changing climate. Researchers want 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 the tropical rainforest. The aim is to use these findings 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 half of all plant and animal species on Earth and contains 40 % of all living biomass. The abundance of plants produces large amounts of oxygen while removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Furthermore, this large tropical forest controls the hydrological cycle of the South American continent. The Amazon, therefore, functions as the lungs and the beating heart of our planet, making it vital to better understand the complex processes and interactions within the ecosystems.