IMK-IFU, at KIT’s Campus Alpin in Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the foot of Zugspitze (2962 m a.s.l.), joined KIT and IMK in 2002, after 50 years as an independent environmental research institute (IFU, in the Fraunhofer Association).
Today, the common theme of research at IMK-IFU is the investigation of sources and sinks of biogenic greenhouse gases (and other atmospheric trace constituents), as well as their long-term trends, at a regional, high-resolution scale. The bulk of research activities is concerned with observation and modelling of exchanges and interactions at the land surface – atmosphere interface (soils, hydrology, vegetation, atmosphere), including the effects of global climate change and land-use / land-cover change (LUCC), and water availability in regions of enhanced climate-change sensitivity.
IMK-IFU scientists are experts in measurements of eddy-covariance fluxes, lysimetry, enclosure/cuvette techniques for soil eflux, and absorption laser spectroscopy. Results from experimental work are linked to process models of VOC and greenhouse gas emissions, chemistry and hydrology modules of meso-scale climate models, as well as high-resolution boundary layer LES models.
Moreover, IMK-IFU has long-standing expertise in ground-based atmospheric remote sensing (LIDAR, FTIR) at the high-altitude stations Zugspitze and UFS Schneefernerhaus. IMK-IFU operates a wide range of sensors and equipment (including integrated ecosystem-atmosphere exchange stations, a microlight research aircraft, a climate-control experimental greenhouse, and the Center for Stable Isotope Analysis). Development and application of numerical models is carried out mostly on IMK-IFU’s own high-performance computing clusters.