Successful completion of the "Swabian MOSES" measurement campaign

In October 2021, the measurement campaign "Swabian MOSES" in the Swabian Alb/ Neckar Valley area, which had started in May 2021, was successfully completed. „MOSES“ (Modular Observation Solutions for Earth Systems) is a mobile observation system of the Helmholtz Association and includes the KITcube, among other measurement systems. The researchers of "Swabian MOSES" aim to understand entire event chains of the two hydro-meteorological extremes heavy rain and drought, from their formation in the atmosphere to their impact on the environment. To cover this variety of research areas, scientists from many different disciplines and institutions cooperate, the main coordination was done by IMK-TRO (KIT).     

Supercell on 23.06.21 at the main site in Rottenburg am Neckar

During the measurement campaign, there were seven periods with particularly favorable conditions for the occurrence of strong convective cells (thunderstorms) in the investigation area. Therefore, seven IOPs (Intensive Observation Periods) were declared. During these IOPs, researchers were on site and conducted additional measurements to the automatic measurement systems, e.g., using balloon soundings, aircraft, water samples, or a novel mobile cosmic-ray rover. Additionally, a team of scientific storm chasers tested small swarmsondes for the first time.

Particularly interesting events were observed on June 23, 2021, and June 28, 2021. On June 23, a supercell passed over the main site Rottenburg am Neckar with its typical accompanying phenomena like heavy rain and hail. The development of a hailstorm in the study area could be measured on June 28, 2021. Especially these two days provide important measurement data for a better understanding of the formation, intensification and impacts of such strong convective events.

A thick layer of hail covers the city center of Rottenburg am Neckar after the passage of the supercell on 23.06.21

In addition to the important measurement data, an intensive exchange between researchers from different institutions took place. Employees of KIT, the German Weather Service, and the Collaborative Research Center Waves To Weather visited some of the measurement sites and developed ideas for further cooperation. In addition, many people visited the two open days in Rottenburg am Neckar and Nürtingen, where all visitors could gain an insight into the work and research goals of the campaign. There was also great interest from the media. Among others, journalists from newspapers, the Bayrische Rundfunk (BR), the Südwestrundfunk (SWR) and Wetteronline visited measurement sites, conducted interviews with the involved scientists and recorded film material for documentaries.

Thus, all participants can look back on a successful measurement campaign with interesting events and reliable and new technologies, which will help to better understand mechanisms and processes for the triggering and intensification of thunderstorms as well as their consequences in the future.

Further information about the measurement area, instruments and their locations, data and goals of the measurement campaign "Swabian MOSES" can be found on the campaign website:

Working Group: "Land Surfaces and Boundary Layer" (Melissa Latt)