ATTO - Amazonian Tall Tower Observatory

ATTO - Amazonian Tall Tower Observatory

325 meters high measuring tower (Tall Tower) with smaller towers (80 m) and camp site in the Amazon rain forest; with measuring equipment for atmosphere, biosphere and climate research (greenhouse gases, aerosols, clouds, weather data & micrometeorology, etc.)

Largely untouched nature reserve in the Amazon rain forest about 150 km northeast of Manaus, Brazil


  • Official start of the project 2009
  • Pioneering and development of the site and access in 2009/10
  • Buiding of a 81 m high guyed triangular mast for pilot measurements in 2010, meanwhile used for a variety of aerosol measurements
  • Construction of the base camp at the ATTO plateau in 2011/12, with accommodation capacity for up to 30 people
  • Building of a 80 m high guyed, walk-up scaffold tower with outboard platforms on 5 heights on which trace-gas and meteorological measurements are currently performed
  • Continuous and campaign-based measurements since 2011 (carbon dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen-containing trace gases, aerosols, meteorology)
  • Satellite connection for data transmission and device control since 2013
  • Laying of the foundation stone of the 325 m high Tall Tower on 8/15/2014 and official inauguration on 8/22/2015
  • Construction and equipment of air-conditioned laboratory containers at the base of the measuring towers in 2010/11 (at 80/81 m towers) and 2016 (at the 325 m tower)
  • Implementation of a professional fail-safe generator-based electrical power supply in 2016


German-Brazilian joint project

Research objectives

  • Collect data on the influence of the vast, largely untouched rainforest on the climate
  • Understand sources and sinks of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and N2O
  • Investigate the formation of aerosols which is important for cloud formation
  • Investigate the transport processes of air masses that take place over several hundred kilometers

All information will lead to models to make better statements about the atmosphere and our climate, especially with the point of view of "Global Climate Change". At the same time ATTO data can also be used as a basis for environmental regulations for sustainable development of the Amazon region.


The costs (about 8.4 million euros) are divided by Germany and Brazil in comparable parts.

Funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) in the period from 2010 to 2015 with 4.5 million euros.

Statement Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kesselmeier, former ATTO-Projectcoordinator (German Side):
The Amazonian Tall Tower Observatory will be a unique facility in South America. The location in the Brazilian Amazon is of highest scientific interest because the Amazon rain forest is still the largest contiguous rain forest on earth. Thus, the measurement point provides outstanding properties to investigate such a wooded area on the chemistry and physics of our atmosphere, largely to the exclusion of direct anthropogenic impacts. The height of the measuring tower will allow us to investigate the transport of air masses and their alteration through the forest over a distance of several hundred kilometers."

Go to Editor View