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Forschungszentrum Jülich - Annual Report 2012

Sharingknowledge Annual Report 2012 | Forschungszentrum Jülich 63 Above the Clouds – No Limits in Climate Research The novel spectrometer GLORIA collected some 30 terabytes of data for climate research on board the new Ger- man research aircraft HALO in 2012. GLORIA stands for ‘Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere’. This is the name of a novel infrared camera that precisely maps the large-scale movements of gases and aerosols in the atmosphere. A recently developed detector chip measures carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, water vapour, numerous nitrogen and chlorine compounds, and other substances. It all began in 2003 during an informal exchange of ideas between physicist Felix Friedl-Vallon from Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (today Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT) and atmospheric researcher Prof. Martin Riese, director at Jülich’s Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK). Riese was planning to measure a large range of climate-relevant trace gases in unprecedented spatial resolution with novel detector chips. Friedl-Vallon sug- gested using a suitable spectrometer for this purpose – the idea for GLORIA was born. GLORIA goes on board Nine years later, in August 2012, GLORIA was on board when the research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft) was officially put into operation by Prof. Annette Schavan, then Federal Minister of Education and Research. HALO is a joint initiative of German institutions involved in environ- mental and climate research funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Helmholtz Association, the German Research Foundation, the Max Planck Society, the Free State of Bavaria, the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), Forschungs- zentrum Jülich, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the German Aero- space Center (DLR). The flight routes of the 2012 climate measurement campaigns stretched from the Arctic Circle to the Svalbard archi- pelago and around Africa to the Antarc- tic – a total of 126 flight hours and 88,000 kilometres. The total of 30 tera- bytes of data, which corresponds roughly to the amount of data contained in three million encyclopaedias, is now being analysed. Dr. Peter Preusse reveals initial findings: “The results of GLORIA show a large number of very thin filaments created by the mixing of tropospheric and stratospheric air. GLORIA’s resolution is particularly high, enabling researchers to observe these filaments with a vertical expansion of only a few hundred metres. These struc- tures are thinner and more pronounced than previously predicted by models.” In autumn 2012, the novel spectrometer GLORIA (left) took part in two large-scale measurement campaigns: TACTS (green) and ESMVal (red). Both TACTS (Transport and Composition in the Upper Troposphere/Lowermost Stratosphere) and ESMVal (Earth System Model Validation) study the transport processes between the troposphere and the stratosphere. The results help to improve existing climate models. HALO Institute