Activities of this research group focus on continuous long-term measurements of the vertical distribution of atmospheric trace gases, aerosols, and a variety of physical parameters in the altitude range between the boundary layer and the stratosphere. The measurements are representative for the regional up to hemispherical scale, and are providing important information on the state of the atmosphere and its spatiotemporal variation. This is a contribution to a better understanding of the system "atmosphere", e.g., via trend studies or investigation of transport processes of trace compounds. A variety of ground-based techniques is utilized, e.g., optical remote sounding (FTIR, Lidar, GPS, etc.) and in-situ techniques, which are operated at various observatories (Zugspitze, Garmisch, Wank, Cape Point (South Africa)) on a long-term basis. The atmospheric sounding systems are continuously refined and contribute to the GAW-World Calibration Center for greenhouse gases (GAW-WCC-N2O) and VOC (WCC-VOC). These research activities provide a fundamental contribution to international networks like NDACC, TCCON, EARLINET, and GAW. They yield a basis for decisions in environmental policy, for monitoring the effectiveness of international agreements on emission regulations (e.g., the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol), and for validation of atmospheric chemistry satellite missions (e.g., SCIAMACHY) and greenhouse gas satellites (GOSAT). The Research Group "Variability and Trends" is operating the Permanent Ground-Truthing Facility Zugspitze/Garmisch as well as one of the three longest aerosol lidar time series in the world and the longest in-situ CO time series of the southern hemisphere.
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General contact: Ralf Sussmann