In October 2017, the HALO research aircraft measured the transport and mixing of greenhouse gases in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere during measurement flights over the Atlantic starting from Shannon in Ireland. The measurement campaign is providing new knowledge regarding the origin, distribution and lifetime of trace gases at the climate-sensitive interface between these atmospheric layers.
Emissions from major cities can spread beyond the limits of these urban areas under certain weather conditions. When this happens, the wind often carries particles and gaseous pollutants over 1000 kilometres.
Climate change, with all its ecological and economic implications, is one of society's greatest challenges. It is imperative that we develop efficient strategies and derive measures to protect our sensitive climate system on a global scale.
International policy-makers have set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris Agreement regarding climate change. Monitoring emissions will play a crucial role here. Greenhouse gas sources and sinks need to be investigated as accurately as possible in order to obtain reliable climate forecasts. In spring 2017, the research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and LOng Range Research Aircraft) is set to target carbon dioxide and methane, the two most significant greenhouse gases, with its innovative instruments, acquiring data stretching from Europe to North Africa, which is currently lacking.
What effects do tropical clouds have on our climate? Do they warm up or cool down the atmosphere? What factors do they influence? Even the latest models do not fully understand the effects of these climate-influencing 'clouds'.
Aircraft should normally avoid turbulence and wake vortices. But test pilots and researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have deliberately flown into turbulence during flight experiments designed to test numerical models and a new real-time evaluation method that enables the instantaneous review of aeroelastic stability.
Gravity waves affect the climate and weather. For the first time ever, scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with colleagues from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie; KIT) and the Jülich Research Centre (Forschungszentrum Jülich), as well as other national and international partners, have succeeded in measuring almost the entire life cycle of atmospheric gravity waves.
In the icy environment high above the Arctic and working in close cooperation with other German research institutes, scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are going to investigate the complex processes involved in climate change and their impact on the polar atmosphere.
Thunderclouds over rainforests are an important element in the climate system. The DLR research aircraft HALO spent the period from the beginning of September to the beginning of October 2014 in Manaus, a city in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, measuring the emergence, development and properties of tropical clouds.
Unanswered questions about the formation of clouds and their impact on the climate are currently setting limitations on the validity of global climate forecasts. To make a detailed analysis of the climate effects of natural ice clouds and the vapour trails created by air traffic, the HALO research aircraft embarked on the first of a total of 12 measurement flights on 24 March 2014.
Clouds can both warm and cool Earth's atmosphere. In current climate models, detailed conditions for cloud cover as a climatic factor are still not clearly understood. There is a shortage of precise measurements on how the water, humidity, ice particles and aerosols that form water droplets are distributed in towering cumulus clouds.