IEK-7 studies chemical, microphysical and dynamic processes in the atmosphere and the role they play in climate change. The institute focuses on the tropopause region (5 to 15 km), because this is where changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols and clouds have a particularly strong effect on the radiative forcing of the atmosphere.
In order to increase the prognostic value of chemistry-climate models (on the timescale of decades), IEK-7 conducts research on small-scale processes globally (waves, clouds, exchange processes), as a lack of understanding of these processes currently limit the prognostic capability of global and regional models. For these studies, novel measuring equipment for research aircraft and research balloons will be developed and deployed in international measuring campaigns in the Arctic, in the mid-latitudes, or in the tropics (e.g. on the new German research aircraft HALO). IEK-7 also uses global satellite data (e.g. ENVISAT) and contributes to the development of new ESA satellite missions (e.g. PREMIER). All measured data are interpreted in combination with computer simulations of the earth’s atmosphere (e.g. with the CLaMS atmosphere model developed at IEK-7). In the future, studies on the impact of the energy industry (e.g. emission of greenhouse gases) on the composition of the upper troposphere and stratosphere will be intensified in order to create synergies with energy research.