Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Zeppelin NT Flies for European Climate Research -Jülich researchers measure air quality over Europe

The test programme began in Friedrichshafen this week: Jülich climatologists are testing and optimizing the measuring equipment in preparation for the largest research application ever of a Zeppelin NT, starting in May 2012.

At that time, the airship will undertake a number of flight missions, each lasting several weeks, coordinated by Jülich researchers. These missions aim to study the atmosphere over the Netherlands, Italy, the Mediterranean Sea, and finally Finland in 2013. The campaign is part of the EU’s PEGASOS project, in which 26 partners from 15 European nations are studying the relationships between atmospheric chemistry and climate change.

The researchers in Friedrichshafen will fit three different sets of measuring instruments into the interior of the airship and test their function during flights. Beginning in May, these instruments are then intended to gather data on the atmosphere’s ability to clean itself, among other aspects of interest. In this regard, special attention will be paid to the atmosphere’s “detergent”, known chemically as the hydroxyl (OH) radical. This radical initiates the breakdown of most pollutants and thus serves as a measure of the atmosphere’s cleaning capacity. In its turn, it is also recycled in a natural loop. However, regarding this recycling theory, Jülich researchers have discovered several anomalies in the last few years. The airship flights are intended to explain these anomalies, since they are at precisely the altitudes where such processes take place. Other questions relate to the phenomenon of suspended particles: What are their origins? How to they agglomerate to form larger particles? What chemical and physical effects do they have on climate and air quality? And what part do they play in recycling the natural detergent?

The Zeppelin NT will be accompanied on its mission by an international team of 15 scientists and technicians. Its first flight in 2012 will take it to Cabauw in the Netherlands for two weeks, followed in June by at least five weeks in Italy, where measurements will be taken over the Po Valley and the Adriatic Sea in cooperation with Italian scientists. Then in April 2013, the atmosphere researchers will set off on a two-month expedition to northern Europe; their final destination being Hyytiälä in Finland. Both the flight paths and the measuring locations are coordinated with existing ground measuring stations. This will enable the researchers to compare data from the flight directly with measurements from fixed locations.

The unique flight characteristics of the Zeppelin NT mean that is ideally suited to complement aircraft and fixed ground stations. It can float slowly, hover, climb and descend vertically, fly for up to 24 hours, all while carrying measuring instrumentation weighing more than a tonne. This will enable the Jülich team to conduct a precise examination of the distribution of trace gases in a region up to an altitude of 1000 metres, known as the planetary boundary layer. Until now, little research has been carried out in this region, which is chemically highly reactive and where the fate of most pollutants emitted from the Earth’s surface is decided. It is therefore essential to collect information in order to gain a detailed understanding of atmospheric processes and to test conceptual models.

The EU’s PEGASOS project (Pan-European-Gas-AeroSOl-Climate Interaction Study) is funded by the European Commission under the auspices of the Seventh Framework Programme. The purpose of the campaign is to measure the effect of atmospheric chemistry on climate change and to identify the critical processes. The results would then provide the scientific bases for determining EU-wide climate protection measures, thus improving air quality taking into account effects on climate change. The research will also be available for global climate policy, since most of the project partners are also involved in the work of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr. Andreas Wahner
Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Troposphere (IEK-8)
Tel: +49 2461 61-5932
PD Dr. Astrid Kiendler-Scharr
Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Troposphere (IEK-8)
phone: +0049 (0)2461 61-4185
PD Dr. Thomas Mentel
Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Troposphere (IEK-8)
phone: +0049 (0)2461 61-6921
Press contacts:
Erhard Zeiss, Dr. Barbara Schunk
Tel. +49 2461 61 -1841/-8031

Annette Stettien | Forschungszentrum Jülich
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>