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Contact:Prof. Dr. Ch. Kottmeier
Project Group:IMK-TRO

Transport and chemical conversion in convective systems

Project Description

Transport and Chemical Conversion in Convective Systems (TRACKS)
Conception of a multi-stage large-scale experiment Section “Atmosphere and Climate” HGF research area “Earth and Environment”

Centers Involved:
Alfred Wegener Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt
Forschungszentrum Geesthacht
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe
Geoforschungszentrum Potsdam

Compiled by Ch. Kottmeier (FZK) and H. Höller (DLR)
with contributions by
K. Beheng (FZK), E. Raschke, M. Quante, B. Rockel (GKSS), C. Lüpkes (AWI),
A. Hofzumahaus (FZJ)
15 May 2001

The TRACKS (Transport and Chemical Conversion in Convective Systems) multi-stage large-scale experiment to be performed by the Helmholtz Centers is aimed at experimentally studying convective systems – from small-scale turbulence to deep cloud convection in thunderstorm complexes and fronts – with regard to their relevant physical and chemical processes, their capabilities of transporting energy, water, and pollutants, and their impact on climate in various climatic zones. Convective systems in Northern Europe, Central Europe, and the tropics shall be investigated over a period of six to eight years. The project is of particular social relevance, as vertical exchange, long-range transport, and chemical conversion of atmospheric trace gases influence climate and the environment. They affect the global distribution of trace substances and modify the greenhouse effect. In particular, they determine the distribution of air pollutants. Foreseeable project results will be reliable assessments on the injection of trace gases into the atmosphere, from the Earth’s surface up to the lower stratosphere, the efficiency of vertical transport by convective systems especially in densely populated areas of Europe, and of rapidly developing regions in the tropics. Moreover, it is expected to obtain budgets as well as regional and vertical distributions of water vapor and trace gases that are emitted mainly at the surface. Improved representations of convective transports and physico-chemical processes in models simulating pollutant distributions, weather, and climate are within the scope of TRACKS.