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Cloud research for better weather and climate models


Clouds appear to us as big structures, but consist of countless water droplets and ice particles of different size and shape. With eleven million euros, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF ), the research project " clouds and precipitation processes in the climate system - HD ( CP) 2 ", which also the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology ( KIT) is involved. The project examines the spatial structure of clouds and their particle composition. Goals are an accurate understanding of cloud and precipitation formation, and thus a considerable improvement of weather and climate models. The initials HD ( CP) 2 stands for "High Definition Clouds & Precipitation in Climate Prediction". A total of 120 researchers from 17 institutions are involved in this project. The associated measurement campaign with the optimistic name "HOPE" made ​​from April until July 2013 in a ten by ten square kilometer area around the Helmholtz Centre Jülich instead. Remote sensing instruments collect there the spatial temperature, humidity and cloud fields up to approximately ten kilometers height with swiveling lidar and radar devices and a variety of floor sensors for temperature, humidity and solar radiation. More than 20 such remote sensing devices are coordinated and mostly around the clock to catch as many weather situations. This gives the most complete picture of the emergence and development of clouds. Rises from a total of 300 weather probes complement the elaborate ground-based measurements.

Forschungszentrum Jülich is host to the participating departments at the Universities of Cologne, Bonn, Hohenheim, Berlin, Leipzig, Munich, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and of the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig. Other national and international partners continuously added, complement and refine the experimental detection of complex cloud system. The measurements are accompanied by weather and climate calculations of the newest model generations on the fastest available supercomputers in Germany. The extensive data from HOPE serve as a benchmark for the accuracy of the models. The comparison between model and reality will provide a decisive impetus for model improvement. HOPE is also a prototype for future European networked measurement fields for weather and climate investigation. A team of experts from Bonn, Hamburg, Hohenheim, Karlsruhe and Leipzig led the project. The Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research - Troposphere Research (IMK -TRO) of the KIT uses its instruments for monitoring the atmosphere: the "KITcube" which has, among other things, lidar and radar equipment as well as weather probes. The scientists at the IMK -TRO be so cover the entire process chain from the evaporation at the bottom of the temporal evolution and spatial distribution of moisture in the atmosphere to the cloud and precipitation formation.

The KITcube of IMK-TRO is in the weather and climate research one of the most advanced tools in Europe for the metrological detection of meteorological processes (photo: Nele Ziegler, KIT).

More information:

About the measurement programm HOPE:

About the researchproject HD(CP)2:

About the KITcube of IMK-TRO: