Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 679–694 | Cite as

The Berchtesgaden National Park (Bavaria, Germany): a platform for interdisciplinary catchment research

  • T. MarkeEmail author
  • U. Strasser
  • G. Kraller
  • M. Warscher
  • H. Kunstmann
  • H. Franz
  • M. Vogel
Special Issue


The Berchtesgaden National Park (Bavaria, Germany), a study site of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere program in the catchment of Berchtesgadener Ache, is introduced as a platform for interdisciplinary research. As the investigation of how human activities affect the natural resources in the park area, which has been defined a main aim of the program, naturally requires expertise from different scientific fields, interdisciplinary research has been fostered in the national park plan since the very beginning of the Man and the Biosphere program in 1981. To analyze the complex interactions and mutual dependencies between socio-economic and natural systems, a variety of monitoring programs have been initialized in different disciplines (e.g. climate sciences, zoology, botany) that are addressed in this paper. As a result of these research efforts, the park offers a profound data basis to be used in future studies (e.g. land cover classifications, maps of geological and soil conditions). Detailed information is provided on a climate monitoring network that has been installed in the park starting in the year 1993. The network has been continuously extended over the years and now provides extraordinary comprehensive information on meteorological conditions in the park, setting the basis for current as well as for potential future climate-related studies. A special characteristic of the station network is the fact that it covers a large range of elevations from 600 m a.s.l in the valleys to 2,600 m a.s.l in the summit regions and is therefore able to capture altitudinal gradients in meteorological variables as typical for Alpine regions. Due to the large number of stations in high elevations (15 stations are in elevations higher than 1,500 m a.s.l) the network provides information on the complex hydrometeorological conditions in summit regions which are often insufficiently represented in observation networks due to the increased costs for maintenance of climate stations in these locations. Beside the various monitoring programs, a variety of numerical models have been (further) developed for application in the park area that make extensive use of the different data collected and therefore largely benefit from the comprehensive data pool. The potential and necessity of the climate monitoring network for modelling studies is demonstrated by utilizing the meteorological recordings in the framework of a hydrometeorological simulation experiment. Further examples of environmental modelling efforts are shortly described together with preliminary model results.


Climate change research High alpine monitoring networks Catchment hydrology Physically based modelling Interdisciplinary research 



The authors thank all scientists and institutions that have contributed to the studies presented in this paper and gratefully acknowledge the continuous support of the national park staff. Research and technical instrumentation presented in this paper were financed by the Authority of the Berchtesgaden National Park.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Marke
    • 1
    Email author
  • U. Strasser
    • 1
  • G. Kraller
    • 2
  • M. Warscher
    • 3
  • H. Kunstmann
    • 4
    • 3
  • H. Franz
    • 2
  • M. Vogel
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of GeographyUniversity InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Berchtesgaden National ParkBerchtesgadenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU)Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)Garmisch-PartenkirchenGermany
  4. 4.Institute for GeographyUniversity of AugsburgAugsburgGermany

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