Centre for Ecology & Hydrology observatories and networks

Plynlimon Observatory
  • The Plynlimon experimental catchments, which cover a combined area of 19.25 km2, are located on the east flanks of Plynlimon, approximately 20 km inland of Aberystwyth on the mid-Wales coast. The site is used for intensive and long-term monitoring that underpins a wealth of hydrological and hydrochemical research. Monitoring is funded by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and has been in progress since 1968. The combined temporal datasets include river flow, rainfall, cloud and stream hydrochemistr, meteorology, and a variety of spatial datasets representing the topography, soils and rivers of the catchments. To access the datasets, please go to the CEH Environmental Information Platform and search for Plynlimon..
  • The CEH carbon catchments are a network of four UK peatland sites (Forsinard, Auchencorth Moss, Moor House and Conwy) that aim to quantify the overall carbon balance of individual peatlands by measuring and combining various flux terms. This involves linking long-term measurements of land–atmosphere carbon flux (CO2 and CH4) to downstream fluxes of particulate, dissolved and gaseous forms of carbon in rivers. The carbon balances of individual peatlands are based on high quality, reliable flux data, leading to an empirical understanding of the factors controlling these fluxes.
  • The UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) terrestrial sites are part of a long-term (20 year) environmental monitoring programme. Temporal data is collected, analysed and interpreted from a network of 12 terrestrial sites. The physical, chemical and biological data are a unique national resource that is improving our understanding of how and why environments change. Data from the ECN can be downloaded from the dedicated ECN datacentre.
  • The National Soil Moisture Network (COSMOS-UK) is establishing the first UK large area soil moisture network. The network delivers exciting new data showing how soil moisture varies across the country with soil type, climate and vegetation. COSMOS-UK stations also measure the weather and other environmental variables.
  • Our Welsh long-term climate change monitoring site has the longest data stream for responses of carbon fluxes and biodiversity to continuous manipulation of precipitation and air temperature in the UK. Our site is located in the Conwy landscape and is capturing the effects of drought and warming on an upland heath vegetation on organo-mineral soil. Our monitoring site is part of a cross European climate change network and facilitates EU trans-national access. We measure climate induced changes as anticipated in a future climate in the soil-atmosphere continuum (e.g. greenhouse gas fluxes) and created long-term air and soil temperature and soil moisture records that are now available in real time.