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Welcome to the website of the DARWIN project

Researching Galapagos rain water services

The Galápagos archipelago is well known for its unique and high endemic biodiversity, which attracted many bioscientists since Darwin published his theory on the "Natural Selection". At the same time, the knowledge on the climate of the archipelago in space and time is rather poor. Thus, it is completely uncertain how climate change might impact the unique biodiversity of the archipelago.

Since there are hardly any aquifers on the islands, the ecosystem and the Galápagos population are completely depending on atmospheric water supply from rainfall. Galápagos rainfall dynamics in time and space, however, is hardly understood. This particularly holds for impacts of extreme events on precipitation, such as ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) that potentially surrogates future climate change conditions. Essential to know is how climate change will impact rainfall totals and distribution of the two major rainfall types: warm season convective rains and cold season stratiform Garúa. The latter is hypothesized to be the major water source for the archipelago, particularly threatened by climate change.


Thus, the main aim of DARWIN is:

  • To properly understand the contribution of the two main rainfall types to Galápagos rain water services in space and time
  • To analyze interactions of rainfall with synoptic forcing, location, topography and ocean current dynamics for different areas on the three main populated Galápagos islands
  • To assess changes in rainfall types during extreme events
  • To provide thorough knowledge on Galápagos rainwater services in space and time as a planning tool for sustainable development


The DARWIN approach (figure) integrates

  • field observations with automatic weather stations, present weather sensors and vertical rain radars
  • rainfall retrieval techniques based on active and passive satellite data and machine learning
  • dynamical downscaling with the Weather and Forecasting model (WRF)


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