Observatory for Climate and Environment

Observational field data provide a valuable input for scientific research projects, private engineering offices and are also mandatory for the monitoring and management of the environment by public stakeholders. A sustainable data management is of particular relevance for domains in which Luxembourg has legal obligations in a number of European directives, namely in the fields of water resource management, climatology, air quality and biodiversity.

Main activities

  • The Observatory for Climate and Environment operates therefore a dense hydroclimatological measurement network in Luxembourg in close cooperation with public authorities (National Water Management Administration - AGE, and Agricultural Technical Services Administration - ASTA). High quality data at different scales are provided for many users. Recently new techniques concerning vegetation were implemented: sap flow meter, dendrometer and sap sampling.
  • The Observatory undertakes sampling of water and sediments at local or larger scale, by the use of commercial equipment or by developing in-house applied systems. It ensures long-term water quality surveys.
  • Concerning soil, the Observatory is an active partner of the WRB (World Reference Base) 2014 for international soil classification. It takes in charge the setup of soil description and sampling and realizes pedological survey.
  • Spectral profiling from lab to field scale (soil, vegetation, artificial surfaces), airborne small and large scale thermal mapping (support to scientific projects in precision agriculture, vegetation stress and disease detection)
  • In the field of air quality, the observatory conducts applied research and services targeting a better understanding of air pollution and thermal stress for public health. In addition, the Observatory for Climate and Environment provides a basis for town planning and traffic plans to set objectives for air pollution reduction.
  • On behalf of the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure (MDDI), the Observatory for Climate and Environment operates and maintains a biodiversity-monitoring programme in Luxembourg, with an emphasis on species of European interest (Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC, Article 17). This includes preparations for the European reporting on species conservation status and the production of habitat suitability models.



  • Eddy covariance station to determine exchange fluxes sensible heat, latent heat and CO2. Meteorological stations for long-term monitoring, measuring wind speed and direction, global radiation, air temperature and relative humidity, precipitation, barometric pressure, soil temperature, moisture and conductivity
  • A suite of solar radiation sensors: SOLYS Sun Tracker, PMO6-CC absolute cavity radiometer, Pyrheliometer Type CH1, Kipp & Zonen Pyranometers Type CM1 => global-, diffuse- and direct solar radiation, EKO Spectroradiometer MS-700
  • A permanent and nested streamgauges network covering the various geological and physiographical characteristics encountered in Luxembourg. They cover catchments sizes ranging from 0.45 to 410 km2 and are complementary to the AGE network. Permanent piezometers focusing on two main topics : alluvial groundwater survey in the upper Alzette, groundwater characterization and exchange in micro-catchments (Attert headwater brooks)
  • Various current meters that allow to measure runoff in different conditions: mechanical propellers, electromagnetic current meter, acoustic Doppler current meter and profilers
  • A large set of automatic water samplers for continuous or projects linked sampling purposes
  • Multiparameter recorders for continuous measurement of water quality parameters

Equipment for remote sensing applications

  • VIS/NIR portable Spectrometer ASD FIeldspec III max (350 - 2500 nm)
  • VIS/NIR portable Spectrometer Spectral Evolution RS3500 (350 - 2500 nm)
  • Hyperspectral thermal imager Telops Hypercam LW (7.8 - 12.0 µm)
  • Motion compensating platform for Hypercam airborne operation
  • Headwall Photonics Nano hyperspectral VIS/NIR UAV sensor (400 - 1000 nm) with UAV platform (DJI Matrrice 600)
  • TeAx Thermal capture Fusion TIR imager fro UAV applications
  • Licor LAI plant canopy analyser
  • Konica Minolta SPAD502+ leaf chlorophyll analysers
  • ASD RTS-3ZC integrating sphere for ASD Fieldspec

Photovoltaic (PV) modules test installation

  • Outdoor test field for 21 PV modules
  • I-V curve tracing, range +- 100 [VDC], +- 12 [ADC], dynamic: 1[ms] to 500 [ms], load curve: arbitrary function (typically sinusoidal)
  • Characterization according to irradiance (direct, diffuse, global), spectrum (350 [nm] - 1050 [nm]) and PV module temperature
  • Calibration of irradiance measuring devices with the PMO6-CC absolute cavity radiometer, direct traceable to the World radiometric reference

Air quality

  • Environmental measurement vehicle including analysers for nitrogen oxides, ozone (HORIBA, Ltd.) and particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1, number of particles in 31 size classes from 0,25nm to 32.0 nm) and mobile automatic weather stations
  • Portable optical particle analyser (OPC) for fine dust measurements (GRIMM Aerosols laser spectrometer in accordance with EN12341, EN14907, US-EPA EQPM-0311-195)
  • High volume cascade impactor and low volume dust samplers (DERENDA) for different fractions from PM10 to PM0.1


  • Camera traps for pictures and video acquisitions, automatic sound recorders, butterfly nets, amphibian and crayfish traps
  • Equipment for electric fishing, freshwater macroinvertebrate and diatom sampling


Key expertise Some possible applications
Hydroclimatology and environmental survey

Management of long-term hydro-climatological measurement networks, monitoring of river velocity and discharge with high time resolution, provision of validated meteorological and hydrological data, statistics and maps, evaluation and interpretation of surface-atmosphere exchange fluxes Water sampling and sediment trapping at high frequency or at long-term, mainly focusing on flood events, multiparametric characterization of water bodies Soil description and characterization, pedological mapping, Quaternary geology

Remote sensingSpectral profiling from lab to field scale (soil, vegetation, artificial surfaces), airborne small and large scale thermal mapping
Electronic engineering

Power supply solutions for field stations and equipment at remote sites, testing and monitoring of photovoltaic panels under ambient conditions

Air quality management

Local and regional air quality measurements, modelling and mapping, development of concepts to improve air quality, dispersion modelling of air pollutants, incident analysis and accident prevention

Biodiversity management

Biodiversity monitoring, development of novel protocols for species monitoring, modelling of species distribution, diagnosis and design of conservation strategies



Dr Ivonne TREBS
Dr Ivonne TREBS
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