Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research


Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container

IAGOS-CARIBIC is a European project to study chemical and physical processes primarily in upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). The philosophy is to deploy passenger aircraft for making measurements during long distance flights. That is, an airfreight container filled with scientific instruments (total weight: currently 1.6 t) is placed in the cargobay of a passenger aircraft and automatically conduct measurements (while the passengers above enjoy their flight). Between November 1997 and April 2002 a Boeing 767-ER of LTU International Airways was used. As of May 2005 a new, bigger container with altogether 15 instruments is deployed for measurements on board an Airbus A340-600 of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. 

We run 5 in-situ instruments, that are

  • a fast and accurate ozone instrument. It is based on two physical processes, i.e. UV absorption of ozone at λ 254 nm and chemiluminescence reaction of ozone at the surface of an organic dye
  • a device for measuring gasphase water and cloud water/ice. It consists of a chilled mirror frost point hygrometer and a two-channel photo-acoustic laser spectrometer (PALS) using a near-infrared (λ 1.37 µm) DFB laser
  • a proton-transfer-reaction mass-spectrometer (PTRMS) for measuring diverse volatile organic compounds such as acetone, acetonitrile, or methanol
  • a tunable diode laser absorption spectrometer (TDLAS) for measuring  the isotopic composition of water vapor (H216O, HDO, H218O)
  • an off-axis integrated cavity output spectrometer (ICOS) for measuring methane (CH4)

 For further information, join the CARIBIC homepage.