• Contact:

    Andreas Zahn

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

IAGOS-CARIBIC is a European research infrastructure 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 1.8 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 19 instruments was deployed for measurements on board an Airbus A340-600 of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. A new CARIBIC laboratory on board an Airbus A350-900 is under construction and will be operational end of 2023.


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 vacuum ultraviolet fluorescence instrument measuring CO operating with a time resolution of 1s and in-flight calibration every 25min. The precision of the measurement is 1.6ppb for high reoslution data and 1ppb for 10 second averages.
  • an Aerodyne dual laser trace gas analyzer type TILDAS-FD-L2 configured for the simultaneous detection of N2O, CO, CH4, and C2H6 with a 76 m optical multi-pass cell.

 For further information, join the IAGOS-CARIBIC homepage.

The new IAGOS-CARIBIC laboratory an board an Airbus A350 (operational End of 2023)