Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research

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What does meteorology and climate physics comprise?

As the "physics of the atmosphere", meteorology deals with the physical processes taking place in the earth's atmosphere. They range from small-scale and short-lived events (e.g. wind gusts, cumulus clouds, thunderstorms) to large-scale (e.g. high and low pressure areas) and global processes that occur over very long periods of time (e.g. warm and cold periods, climate change).

The goal of meteorology is,

  • to understand the processes in the atmosphere,
  • to explain them on the basis of physical laws and
  • to predict.

Meteorologists use the following methods for this purpose:

  • Measurements (e.g. weather stations, radiosonde ascents, aircraft measurements, satellite measurements),
  • Observations based on physical equations,
  • Simulations with computer models.

Furthermore, the interactions of the atmosphere with the earth's surface, the ocean and vegetation as well as chemical processes in the atmosphere play an important role.


The scientists at the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK) research a multitude of questions from all sub-areas of meteorology in their working groups. For example, the focus is on improving weather forecasting models, on investigating the effects of the causes of extreme weather events, but also on a better understanding of cloud formation. Another important research area is devoted to climate change, one of the greatest challenges facing mankind today; the use of climate models or the interpretation and evaluation of various climate scenarios are just two examples.

Would you like to know if studying meteorology is for you? Just make an appointment and visit us above the roofs of Karlsruhe!