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Institute of Energy and Climate Research

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Global Monitoring


The tropopause region and the adjacent layers of the upper troposphere and lowermost stratosphere (UTLS) are very sensitive to changes of the chemical composition and the climate. However, the knowledge about this region is still limited. Long-term observations of atmospheric chemical composition, temperature, aerosols and clouds by IAGOS help documenting changes in this sensitive atmospheric region, better understanding the cycles of climate-active gases like water vapour and ozone, and investigating the impact of climate change. The regular measurement of the vertical distribution of air quality relevant components like NOx, O3, and particulate matter provide essential information for the assessment of global air quality. The operational measurement of atmospheric trace constituents on board of passenger aircraft have created a dense network of collaborations with European research infrastructures, aviation industry, airlines, and the European Earth observation programme Copernicus.

Research Groups and Topics:

Water Vapour and Ozone

  • Water vapour budget of the upper troposphere and tropopause region
  • Climatologies and transport processes
  • Interaction of water vapour and cirrus clouds
  • World Calibration Centre for Ozone Sondes (WCCOS)

Nitrogen Oxides

  • Budgets of ozone and nitrogen oxides in the upper troposphere and lowermost stratosphere
  • Transport processes and exchange at the tropopause region
  • Air quality in the vicinity of airports


  • Development of compact instruments for airborne operation
  • Aerosol distribution in the upper troposphere and lowermost stratosphere
  • Arctic aerosol (cooperation with AWI)
  • Optical-chemical properties of boundary layer aerosol, long-term observations at the Julich Meteorological Tower


IAGOSIn-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System
ENVRIplusCluster project of the European Environmental Research Infrastructures – Supporting environmental research with integrated solutions
IGASIAGOS for the Copernicus Atmospheric Service
MOZAICMeasurement of ozone, water vapour, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides aboard Airbus in-service aircraft