The Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research consists of four divisions, two of which are jointly operated by the Campus South (former University of Karlsruhe) and the Campus North (former Karlsruhe Research Centre). They work on atmospheric processes of the troposphere (IMK-TRO) as well as of atmospheric trace gases and remote sensing (IMK-ASF). A third division, the Atmospheric Aerosol Research (IMK-AAF) is jointly operated with the Institut für Umweltphysik of the University of Heidelberg. Since January 2002 the Institute of the Research of the Atmospheric Environment, former part of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, has become the fourth division of the IMK as IMK-IFU.
The Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research contributes to the following Program Topics (PT) of the HGF Research Program "Earth and Environment", Program proposal 2 "Atmosphere and Climate":
PT1 investigates the physical state of the troposphere and associated transport processes from the soil and vegetation layer through the boundary layer to the free and upper troposphere. Special emphasis is devoted to processes shaping regional and global climate as well as natural disasters. The focus is on the transport of energy and water across scales ranging from microturbulence to intercontinental.
In PT2 the climate changes on regional scale are calculated and their impacts on exchange processes between atmosphere and biosphere, on the air pollution situation in densely populated areas and mega-cities as well as on water management and availability are quantified. The activities concentrate on climate sensitive regions with specific focus on developing countries. The data obtained are used for local authorities and political decision makers for designing appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
The research in PT3 will contribute to the understanding of the chemical composition, the dynamics, and state of the troposphere and their dependences on global change. The investigations will concentrate on the degradation, transport, and mixing processes of biogenic and anthropogenic emissions in regions of the troposphere with complex chemistry and large turnover. The chemical and physical modification of aerosols and their impact on radiation and cloud processes will be addressed.
PT 4 is investigating processes, which are changing the composition, microphysics and dynamics in the stratosphere and tropopause region, and possible feedback mechanisms, which may occur in the climate system. Among these processes are the exchange between troposphere and stratosphere as well as the future development of the ozone layer. Furthermore, the interaction between stratospheric changes and the climate, e.g. the trend of water vapour concentration in the lower stratosphere, belongs to this program topic.