OSUG - Terre Univers Environnement


Long term observations have been and are increasingly emerging as an essential mean in fundamental research and in response to contractual commitments for the state. Indeed, for each of the natural environments, it is necessary to understand the fundamental processes, to foresee the possible evolutions at different time scales and to build models that will have to assimilate reliable data.
In order to carry out this research and meet societal expectations, the Earth Sciences community is invested with a "service mission" which consists in the systematic observation of natural phenomena in order to monitor their evolution, understand and model it. Data from these observatories are made available to the international scientific community.
In the Earth Sciences, the IGE is responsible for three National Observation Services (SNO) of the INSU and / or IRD (AMMA-CATCH, GLACIOCLIM and OHMCV) and participates in the SNO CLAP. It also participates in the Draix-Bléone Environment Research Observatory. These services are networked at different levels:

  1. Observation and Experimentation Systems for Environmental Research (SOERE) of the national alliance for research on the environment (AllEnvi);
  2. Research Infrastructures (IR) labeled in France or by Europe.

In Ecological and Environment Sciences, IGE participates in the Rhone Basin (ZABR) and Alps (ZAA) Long Term Environment Research (ZA) of the Institute of Ecology and Environment INEE, themselves structured in network as well as in the Observatory Mean-Media (OHM) Nunavik (Canada).


The Observatory "African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis - Coupling the Tropical Atmosphere and the Hydrological Cycle" (AMMA-CATCH) studies the impact of climate variability and land-use change on West Africa’s water resources. Federating the sites of Upper Ouémé Basin site (Benin), Niamey Square Degree site (Niger) and Gourma site (Mali), this observatory is part of the international program AMMA. It is a member of the SOERE Network of Drainage Basins (RBV) and of the Critical Zone Observatory, Research and Applications Infrastructure IR OZCAR.


The National Observation Service "CLimate under Aerosol Properties from near surface observations" (CLAP) contributes to the monitoring of atmospheric aerosols in a context of climate change. Measurement sites are located in France, Nepal and Bolivia. CLAP is a member of the SOERE ATMOS and is part of the French contribution to the ACTRIS European Research Infrastructure.


GLACIOCLIM (The glaciers, an Observatory of climate) aims at establishing a long-term glacial-meteorological database to understand the relationships between climatic variations and glacial mass balances (mass and energy flux analysis between the glacier and the atmosphere) in Alps, Andes and Antarctica. It is a member of the SOERE CRYO-OBS-CLIM and OZCAR Infrastructure.


The Cévennes-Vivarais Mediterranean Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (OHM-CV) is studying thunderstorms generating intense rains and flash floods in the medium mountainous Mediterranean region. This observatory is part of the international HyMeX program. It is a member of the Network of Drainage Basins (RBV) and OZCAR Infrastructure.


Draix-Bléone environment research observatory aims to improve knowledge on floods and erosion in the moutains. It is located on sloping slopes with lithologies sensitive to erosion in the "Haute Provence" Alps. It is a member of the SOERE Network of Drainage Basins (RBV) and OZCAR Infrastructure.

Observatoire Vallot

En marge de ces activités d’observation du milieu naturel, l’IGE s’est vu confier par le CNRS la gestion d’un patrimoine historique d’intérêt scientifique exceptionnel : l’Observatoire Vallot. Ce bâtiment, construit à 4362 m sous le sommet du Mont Blanc par Joseph Vallot à la fin du 19ème siècle est un lieu d’observations privilégié au sommet de l’Ouest de l’Europe.

L’Observatoire Vallot a été construit par Joseph Vallot à la fin du 19ème siècle pour effectuer des observations glaciologiques, météorologiques, astronomiques à haute altitude. A sa disparition, il lègue en plus des très nombreux travaux qu’il a accomplis cet héritage immobilier unique dédié à la science. L’Observatoire construit sur le lieu-dit des "Rochers Foudroyés" sous le sommet du Mont Blanc revient au CNRS dans les années 1970 qui en transmet la gestion au Laboratoire de Glaciologie, désormais IGE. Depuis, des études de Glaciologie, de Médecine, de Chimie atmosphérique et de Météorologie s’y sont poursuivies, et l’Observatoire récemment rénové par le CNRS est désormais prêt à accueillir de nouveaux programmes scientifiques.

See also "Observation" on the OSUG website.