February 2018

Graphic: UFZ Graphic: UFZ Effective water resource management and adaptation to the climate change can only be successfully developed, if key variables of the water circle (for example drainage flow and soil moist) are simulated correctly on the different planning levels (such as local, regional, national and continental).

The research group of Dr. Luis E. Samaniego-Eguiguren from the Department of Computational Hydrosystems developed the hydrological model mHM. It has a state of the art multiscale parameterization and allows a seamless and effective usage throughout multiple planning levels and data-sparse regions. Therefor the model can be used for scientific purposes and support political decision making processes.
As part of a comparative study, which was conducted by a scientific group in coordination with the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, 9 of the worldwide best known hydrological models were tested (Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Inter-comparison Project, ISI-MIP2). The study proved that the mHM Model is one of the two best models ( In practical application the model provides for example the basis in Germany of today’s drought watch at the UFZ ( It is currently used by over 200 users from approximately 35 countries.

A new version has now been released in December 2017. The model can be downloaded from the following link:

Please contact Dr. Luis Samaniego-Eguiguren ( for further information.

Groundwater monitoring point, Photo: UFZ Groundwater monitoring point in the HCH (hexachlorocyclohexanes) contaminated flood zone of Mulde, Germany. Photo: UFZ archive
Lindane belongs to a group of chemicals known as HCHs (hexachlorocyclohexanes) and was used as an insecticide in Germany for many years. In 2003 the use of Lindane in agriculture was banned throughout the EU due to its strongly toxic effect and its long-term persistence. However, in some areas soil and groundwater are still heavily contaminated with this substance. To implement efficient environmental management, it is important to know whether the pollutant is being degraded and how quickly. Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have now developed a method that makes it possible to quantify the biodegradation of Lindane and estimate the length of time required for the chemical to safely decompose. The study appears in the current edition of the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology.

The UFZ researchers’ innovative approach is to combine two detection methods: isotope and enantiomeric fractionation. In laboratory tests, they developed a model that allows the degree of degradation to be measured using specimens taken from the environment. The method makes it possible to measure the biodegradation of the substance when it is transported in water or with soil particles. This will allow scientists to work out how long the HCHs can be expected to be present in the environment.

The research was supported by data and sampling assistance from Ökologisches Großprojekt Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Landesanstalt für Altlastenfreistellung Sachsen-Anhalt and Chemiepark Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH.

Yaqing Liu, Safdar Bashir, Reiner Stollberg, Ralf Trabitzsch, Holger Weiß, Heidrun Paschke, Ivonne Nijenhuis, Hans-Hermann Richnow (2017). "Compound Specific and Enantioselective Stable Isotope Analysis as Tools to Monitor Transformation of Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) in a Complex Aquifer System". Environ. Sci. Technol., 2017, 51 (16), pp 8909-8916

January 2018

Grafik: UFZ In 2017 the awards for outstanding achievements by UFZ employees were presented for the fourth time already – for example in Research, Knowledge and Technology Transfer.

Altogether there were 80 proposals for 41 potential awardees and seven teams submitted – as many as never before. The seven jury’s chose the winners in partial extensive discussions and decision-making processes. The following prizes were award amongst other in the course of the 53th meeting of the supervisory board:

Dr. Matthias Gehre (Department Isotope Biogeochemistry) awarded with the UFZ Technology Transfer Award for development, patent-registration and marketing of a new method to take measurements from hydrogen isotope.

Dr. Heidi Wittmer (Department Environmental Politics) decorated with the UFZ Knowledge Transfer Award for initiation and assistance eco-political processes in developing countries; they enable a sustainable development and protection of the ecological systems in these countries.

The UFZ Research Award goes to – a very large – Team of the Department Computational Hydrosystems for the development of the mesoscale Hydrologic Model mHM and his application, for example the “German Drought Monitor”.

Photo: UFZ Photo: UFZ On 28th January was end the 83. International Green Week in Berlin. The worldwide largest trade fair of the food, agriculture and gardening industries are very popular with experts and consumers. In 2018 again visited approximated 400.000 guests this annual exhibition.

At the „AdventureFarm“, one subarea of the fair, was also participate soils-researcher from the BonaRes-Centre ( and representatives of the „Aktionsplattform Bodenschutz“ ( this year.
With a collective stand they introduced for issue „What our soils manage”. To interpreted soil as our live resources were exhibite an interactive display about soils, boxes to feel types of soils as well as inform about the funding initiative BonaRes.

“Intact soils have the same status for human und environment as climate, clean water and biodiversity” was the most important message for every guest, if an elementary school student, a farmer or a policy-maker.
Therefore Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Vogel (Helmoltz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ) and Prof. Dr. Georg Guggenberger (German Soil Science Society - DBG) treaded the board of the „AdventureFarm“ to reply questions around soils to increased awareness of our soils as a live resource.

A consistently positive feedback got the decision to give the topic soil at the Green Week more space this year. Especially pleasant was both farmers and representatives of politics and economy have reviewed BonaRes as a worthwhile and an important funding initiative.
Some of the farmers now envince interest to get involved in the initiative BonaRes.