Programme "Atmosphere and Climate" investigates the role of the atmosphere in the dynamic climate system and its underlying processes. The programme contributes to the understanding of the long-term atmospheric composition change and the associated climate change, as well as the degradation of air quality, which occur in response to increasing anthropogenic forcings (emissions, land-use change), to biosphere-atmosphere-climate feedbacks, and to interactions with changes in the water cycle.
The Programme "Atmosphere and Climate" is carried out jointly by the three Helmholtz centres FZK, FZJ, and GFZ. It consists of four Programme Topics, involving the expertise of scientific groups from several Helmholtz Centres.
The programme performs extended field observations that describe the chemical composition change of the atmosphere, the processes controlling the fluxes and abundances of climatically relevant atmospheric constituents, and important components of the water cycle. Relevant processes include the exchange of matter and energy between land surfaces, the biosphere and the lower atmosphere, their vertical transport by convection in the troposphere and in the UT/LS region, and the regional and global transport of trace gases and aerosol particles and their transformations. Observations are obtained by long-term monitoring activities on satellites (e.g. MIPAS/ENVISAT) and passenger aircraft, and from a network of ground-based remote sensing and in-situ stations (e.g. TERENO observatories), as well as by targeted international field studies with ground-based and airborne research platforms (e.g. new research aircraft HALO). Additional experimental studies will be performed in large simulation chambers (AIDA) to investigate transformation mechanisms of trace substances that affect climate and air pollution.
To understand the complex coupled processes in the climate system, numerical models at the global and regional scale are utilized and further developed. A previously unachieved spatial resolution will be implemented. Furthermore long-term observational data will be integrated with the help of numerical data assimilation techniques, and knowledge resulting from detailed process studies will enter the parameterisations of hydrological, chemical, and transport processes to reduce the large uncertainties that still exist in these models. The improved global and regional chemistry and climate models will contribute to more reliable predictions of changes in air pollution, the water cycle, and the climate, and their causes and consequences in different regions of the world.
Scientific Spokesman: Prof. Dr. Christoph Kottmeier