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Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Affiliation: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
Prof. Dr. Markus Rapp
Head of the Institute
Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre
The Institute of Atmospheric Physics investigates the physics and chemistry of the global atmosphere from the Earth's surface up to the upper boundary of the middle atmosphere at about 120 km height. As an institute of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) we answer questions associated with atmospheric processes and with relevance to the research programmes "Aeronautics, Space, and Transportation" and "Energy" of the Helmholtz Association (HGF).
Atmospheric research around the globe
Since almost five years the German research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft) is operated to explore the environment and the climate in the stratosphere, the Arctic and Antarctic, and to collect atmospheric data around the world.
Onboard wake vortex prediction including avoidance maneuvers demonstrated in flight tests
The onboard wake vortex prediction system WEAA (Wake Encounter Avoidance & Advisory) has been tested during flights of the DLR research aircraft ATRA in November and December 2016. The system predicts potentially hazardous wake vortices employing meteorological data and navigational data of the leading aircraft; it further detects potential conflicts and suggests appropriate avoidance maneuvers.
Measurements to explore the predictability of weather
The key to improving weather forecasts in the mid-latitudes is to get new measurements that are not already used to make the forecasts, especially in regions that are very sensitive to small disturbances. Therefore direct observations of wind in the Jetstream and moisture and clouds in the surrounding of low pressure systems over the Atlantic Ocean are required. In September and October 2016 researchers from the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics went to Iceland to conduct the ‚North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream Impact Experiment‘ (NAWDEX).
A look on the Etihad EY474 turbulence encounter on 4 May 2016 from a Cb-global perspective
A turbulence encounter of a flight close to Sumatra caused atmospheric scientists from the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics and WxFUSION, a DLR spin-off company, to analyze this event with the new methodology Cb-global. This thunderstorm detection and nowcasting system is capable of detecting thunderstorms in near real time and to nowcast their future development. Cb-global is based on satellite data, in this case from Himawari-8 available in real time with a space/time resolution of 2 km (IR channels)/10 minutes. An analysis with Cb-global reveals that the severe turbulence encountered by the aircraft has most probably been caused by a rapidly developing convective cell.
Rare noctilucent cloud observed above southern Germany
Atmospheric scientists from the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IPA) succeeded in sounding of a so-called noctilucent cloud (NLC) using a LIDAR system developed at IPA. The measurement was recorded on 18/19 July at the Sulzberg in the Bavarian Forest, and shows a very thin, bright layer of ice crystals at 82 km altitude. Noctilucent clouds, also termed polar mesospheric clouds, are a common phenomenon above Earth's poles in summertime, when this region paradoxically proves to be the coldest place on Earth. Noctilucent clouds are rarely observed at mid-latitudes where observation conditions for LIDARs are optimal.
Institute of Atmospheric Physics
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