Lufthansa Group supports pioneering government-funded climate research project
IAGOS project integrated into Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) roadmap for research infrastructures
The IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System) project, in which the Lufthansa Group is involved, uses commercial aircraft to obtain atmospheric data at cruising altitudes. Up to now, such data could only be obtained on a piecemeal basis and at great expense by using special research aircraft. According to the scientific panel appointed by the BMBF to oversee the project, IAGOS will close an important knowledge gap, resulting in more accurate climate forecasts. The BMBF attaches top priority to major research projects as part of its overall research policy.
Lufthansa has been involved in IAGOS since 7 July 2011. On that date, in cooperation with the Jülich Research Centre, it became the first airline worldwide to launch this innovative project for the long-term observation of the earth’s atmosphere during scheduled flight operations. Since then, specially developed measuring instruments installed on the Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 "Viersen" have routinely captured atmospheric trace substances. This provides a broad set of data gathered from all over the world. After each landing, the data is read, processed and analysed.
Why are commercial aircraft particularly suited to this?
Civil aviation is suited to the study and observation of the atmosphere for several reasons:
- The Earth‘s atmosphere can be observed by satellites as well as from the ground. Both are remote sensing measurements. However, they have a relatively poor spatial resolution. Direct measurements on board aircraft, on the other hand, provide a much higher spatial resolution. Commercial aircraft, therefore, bridge the gap between observation satellite measurements and ground-based measurements.
- Aircraft fly at a higher level (tropopause), which is of particular importance for climate research.
- Aircraft fly worldwide, and so can observe the entirety of the Earth‘s atmosphere.
- Scheduled flights provide a high level of continuity and mean that longterm observations can be made that would not be possible with the individual flights made by special research aircraft, which are also much more expensive.
Dr. Andreas Waibel
Deutsche Lufthansa AG
“Lufthansa has assumed responsibility once again and put the first IAGOS climate research aircraft into operations. Other airlines will follow this example to help set up an instrument to observe the Earth‘s atmosphere by means of civil aviation.”
- We design our aircraft so that climate research can be underway while they are in service.
- We measure climate-relevant trace gases daily and globally.
- We make the data available to scientists.
- We provide climate researchers with an ideal test platform through our global network.
Further information from our project partners: