Zeppelin Flight for Climate Research
ince May 2012, a team of researchers from Jülich, Switzerland, Estonia and the USA conducts measuring flights aboard the research zeppelin PEGASOS. The first mission from Friedrichshafen to Rotterdam now was successfully completed; the second mission is headed for Italy, where measurements above the Po Valley and the Adriatic Sea are scheduled. The third mission direction Northern Europe will take off in 2013.
The campaign focuses on floating particles in the air on the one hand, and on hydroxyl radicals, the atmosphere's "washing agents", on the other. Hydroxyl radicals initiate the degradation of most harmful substances and therefore is a measure for the atmosphere's cleaning power. Given a natural cycle, it is also recycled. Yet Jülich-based researchers hit upon some inconsistencies in this field. The zeppelin flights are intended to clarify the matter. As regards the floating particles or aerosols, the following questions are pursued, amongst others: From which sources do they derive? How do they agglomerate to form larger particles? What are their chemical and physical effects on climate and the quality of air? What is their role in the recycling of the natural "washing agent", hydroxyl radicals?
The campaign is part of the major EU research project PEGASOS, combining the research on the interrelation between atmosphere chemistry and climate change of 26 partnering institutions from 14 European countries as well as from Israel.