ICON-ART (ICOsahedral Nonhydrostatic weather- and climate model with Aerosols and Reactive Trace gases)


ICON-ART is a state-of-the-science seamless model system for the whole atmosphere (physics and composition) that comprises the key components of the next generation Earth system model in Germany. ICON is a global weather and climate model solves the full three-dimensional non-hydrostatic and compressible Navier-Stokes equations on an icosahedral grid and allows seamless predictions from local to global scales. Aerosol and Reactive Trace gases (ART), as a submodule of ICON, supplements the model by including emissions, transport, gas phase chemistry, and aerosol dynamics in the troposphere and stratosphere.

German Weatherservice (DWD) uses ICON-ART for operational forecasts of mineral dust and pollen. It is also used by MeteoSwiss for pollen forecasts.


ICON-ART references

  • Schröter, J., Rieger, D., Stassen, C., Vogel, H., Weimer, M., Werchner, S., Förstner, J., Prill, F., Reinert, D., Zängl, G., Giorgetta, M., Ruhnke, R., Vogel, B., and Braesicke, P.: ICON-ART 2.1: a flexible tracer framework and its application for composition studies in numerical weather forecasting and climate simulations, Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 4043-4068, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-11-4043-2018, 2018.

  • Rieger, D., Bangert, M., Bischoff-Gauss, I., Förstner, J., Lundgren, K., Reinert, D., Schröter, J., Vogel, H., Zängl, G., Ruhnke, R., and Vogel, B.: ICON–ART 1.0 – a new online-coupled model system from the global to regional scale, Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 1659-1676, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-8-1659-2015, 2015.


Application Examples

Transport of mineral dust

The Aerosol Optical Thickness due to mineral dust during a Saharan dust event in Europe from 14-03-22 to 19-03-22. The Aerosol Optical Thickness is a measure of the opacity of the atmosphere. Simulation performed by the German Weather Service.


Volcanic aerosols

SO2 cloud of the Raikoke eruption in June 2019, simulated with ICON-ART. The isosurface of a constant gas concentration of 100 µg per kg air is displayed in the animation.



Biomass burning aerosols

The animation shows the vertical integrated soot column of vegetation fires simulated with ICON-ART. The simulation starts at September 8th and lasts for seven days. There were severe vegetation fires in California, but also Central Africa and South  America during that time period.



Training course for the model system ICON-ART

Training courses on the ICON-ART model system are held annually. They are organized in collaboration with the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the German Weather Service (DWD).

The training courses provide participants with an insight into the weather prediction model ICON and an introduction to performing own simulations. The importance of aerosols (small liquid or solid particles suspended in the air) for weather patterns, aviation and climate are discussed in theory and practice.

Exercises include, for instance, the dispersion of arbitrary single sources, volcanic ash plumes by virtual eruption of different volcanoes, a simple ozone chemistry and a accidental release. In addition, simulating the dispersion of sea salt particles is another exercise. Sea salt has a large share of the global aerosol amount and is assumed, among others, to play an important role for the formation of clouds.

For upcoming events, please refer to the DWD website.