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In-situ instruments - trace gases
The Institute of Atmospheric Physics develops, modifies and optimizes in-situ instrumentation for the airborne measurements of a series of trace gases. The instruments are deployed on different aircraft (HALO, DLR Falcon, Geophysica-M55, Lufthansa A340-600).
Passive Remote Sensing
Satellite or ground based passive remote sensing from satellite utilize either solar radiation reflected at the Earth's surface or scattered in the atmosphere, or thermal radiation emitted by the surface-atmosphere system. At the Institute of Atmospheric Physics our remote sensing activities especially focus on water and ice clouds as well as on contrails and aerosols (also volcanic ash).
ALIMA is a powerful iron resonance and Rayleigh lidar for airborne measurements in the middle atmosphere, including the stratosphere, mesosphere and the lower thermosphere. The lidar probes the iron line at 372 nm wavelength to determine atmospheric temperature, wind and iron density within the iron layer, which extends from approximately 70 to 120 km in altitude depending on geographic location and time of the year.
CORAL (Compact Rayleigh Autonomous Lidar) is a lidar instrument specifically designed for the investigation of gravity waves in the middle atmosphere between 25 and 85 km altitude. The project’s uniqueness is its fully autonomous operation, i.e. the system controls and monitors itself without human support. For example, the software built into CORAL monitors the weather condition using cloud cameras, in-situ weather measurements and weather forecasts. Based on these input data, the software decides when to begin with lidar observations, and the lidar system is automatically started up.
CHARM-F is a newly developed airborne integrated path differential absorption (IPDA) lidar that will be operated on board the HALO research aircraft to quantify concentration gradients and surface-atmosphere fluxes of CH4 and CO2 both over anthropogenic point sources and larger-scale natural sources. Lidar does not require the sun as a light source, and can therefore provide both day and night, all-seasons and all-latitude measurements.
TELMA – the Temperature Lidar for Middle Atmosphere research – is designed for measurements of atmospheric gravity wave parameters in the middle atmosphere. The lidar system comprises a sodium resonance lidar and a powerful Rayleigh lidar. Within the sodium layer, which extends from about 80 to 105 km altitude depending on time of the year as well as geographic location, atmospheric temperature can be determined from probing the sodium resonance line at 589 nm wavelength.
Water vapour in the atmosphere is one of the key-substances, controlling both weather and climate. Water vapour is the dominant greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere. Moreover, it plays a central role in atmospheric chemistry. Despite its importance to atmospheric processes over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, water vapour is one of the least understood and poorly described components of Earth's atmosphere.
Forward looking Doppler lidar for detection of aircraft wake vortices
The wake vortices generated by heavy aircraft can be a potential hazard for other aircraft flying too close to these vortices. Therefore, the development of a forward-looking sensor for the detection and warning of wake vortices is strongly forced.
Polarisations Doppler Radar (POLDIRAD)
On the roof of the institute the polarimetric Doppler radar POLDIRAD is operated since 1986. This radar operates in C-band and is designed for research purpose. Measurements of the Doppler velocity are meanwhile standard for operational radars. Only a few radars provide the capability of polarization diversity. In Europe only POLDIRAD is able to transmit and receive with any possible polarisation. The Doppler velocity is used to estimate the motion in the atmosphere. Together with the bistatic receivers it is now possible to estimate the full three dimensional wind field within a precipitation field, e.g. a thunderstorm.
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