Atmospheric observatories

Atmospheric observation network in Germany

Work on building the atmospheric observation network began in 2012 and is scheduled for completion by mid-2017. The first sites to be equipped were the TV tower at Hohenpeissenberg (Upper Bavaria), the measuring mast of the DWD's Lindenberg Meteorological Observatory (Brandenburg), the 340-m radio mast on mount Höhbeck near Gartow (Lower Saxony) and the measuring mast at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Baden-Württemberg). In addition to these, the measuring equipment installed at the tower on the Ochsenkopf in the Fichtelgebirge Mountains and used by the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry since 2003 has been upgraded to meet ICOS requirements.

The next site to be put into operation is Torfhaus, which is scheduled for summer/autumn 2016. The entire observation network is due for completion in 2017 once the work on the last two stations, Jülich and Steinkimmen, is finished. By this time, a supplementary fixed marine station will also have been installed on the island of Helgoland.

As an example, the Germany map shows the net flow of carbon dioxide (CO2) at midday on a summer day. The land biosphere appears at this moment as a sink (green and blue) because the vegetation takes up CO2 through leaf photosynthesis. CO2 is also captured by algae growth in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. In cities, anthropogenic emissions of CO2 from traffic, power stations and industry predominate. These areas are shown on the map in yellow, orange or red. Busy motorways are shown as thin yellow lines. These maps are based on model calculations which are calibrated and checked against ICOS long-term measurements.

Aktueller Jahresgang der CO2 ,CO und CH4 Konzentration an den ICOS Messstationen Gartow (GAT), Hohenpeißenberg (HPB), Karlsruhe (KIT), Lindenberg (LIN) und Torfhaus (TOH). In der Abbildung kann man sehr gut die Änderung der CO2 Konzentration im Verlaufe des Jahres verfolgen. Liegen die Werte im Winter wegen des verstärkten Bedarfs an Energie hoch, sinkt die Konzentration im Sommer auf ein Minimum, da einerseits durch die Vegetation viel CO2 aufgenommen wird, andererseits der Energiebedarf geringer ist. (© DWD)