The international, multidisciplinary, long term research focuses on the processes and effects of current climate and environmental changes of the Chilean Andes Mountains. The aims of the network-construction are unique field database-building and long-term monitoring analyses. The produced data, analyses and conclusions both are essential and useful for the scientifical communities and local authorities/decision-makers to manage and develop the mountainous areas.
The focus of the network is on cryosphere changes - with the connecting phenomena and environmental effects: primarily the permafrost and active layer changes, but the the investigations of glacier velocities, geomorphological and hydrographical changes are also part of the program. But it also includes the analyses of changes in living organisms, therefore important emphasis is also placed on the study of microorganisms as environmental indicators. The network also provides an opportunity to test new cartographic and planetary science methods, but these research procedures also help to explore local processes.
The core of the network is field data collection (supplemented wih remote sensing data), which allows for long-term analyses of the processes - for instance data collection takes place by building local monitoring systems. The long term monitoring requires representative locations, which inform us about the changes of the cryosphere and the connecting processes in the Andean climatic-geographical units (Hyperarid Andes, Dry/Arid Andes, Wet Andes, etc.)
An important goal of the program is to compare individual regions with the help of data analysis, to explore and synthesize local characteristics. In this process the measured data based model development is of high importance. Modeling subsurface thermal behavior and permafrost degradation is an essential step in predicting future processes.