Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Atmosphere and Remote Sensing

Upper Troposphere and Stratosphere Research Group


Our research group focuses on the investigation of physical processes of the upper troposphere and the stratosphere. A key objective is the photochemistry of ozone. Our central experimental method is the Differential Optical Absorption Spectrometry (DOAS), which allows for detecting many relevant trace gases (O3, NO2, HONO, BrO, IO, OClO, CH2O, C2H2O2, ...) as well as water in all three phases. The measurements are taken with optical grating spectrometers using either direct sunlight or scattered light at daytime and twilight. For the instrumentation different platforms are used such as aircrafts (Falcon, HALO, Geophysica), unmanned air vehicles (UAV), and high altitude balloons. The spatial and temporal reconstruction of concentration fields of the targeted trace gases is performed with assisting radiative transport calculations. Absolute concentrations of the targeted species are then obtained using tradiitional inverse method, or alternatively the novel scaling method, we we deveopled in the recent past.

Most recently his research group participated in aircraft-borne UV/Limb measurement from aboard the German research aircraft HALO, the high altitude aircraft Geophysica and since recently from the NASA's UAV Global Hawk. The research of the group published 122 peer-reviewed publications and contributions to international assessment reports, for exmple for the UNEP/WMO assessment reports on stratospheric ozone published in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014.

  • DOAS           
  • RT Modelling
  • Inversion
  • x-gas scaling

  • Airplanes
  • Ground-based


Trend of stratospheric bromine as of February 2017

Trend in stratospheric bromine as of Feb. 2017

Current research topics:

Broadly speaking the topics of the research group are:
  • The budget, trend and photochemistry of stratospheric bromine and iodine
  • The sources and atmospheric transport of so–called short–lived organic halogen compounds as well as the photochemistry of their inorganic decomposition products
  • The amount of bromine and iodine and their photochemistry in the troposphere
  • The oxidation capacity of the atmosphere
  • The characteristics of atmospheric aerosols and clouds in radiative transfer
  • Validation of satellite measurements
  • Forward modelling of PV power and inversion to atmospheric conditions

Current and previous research projects:

  1. Project Leader: Messungen mit mini-DOAS Instrument während der HALO Phase II Missionen WISE, CAFE, EmerGe, and CoMet und Auswertung, Interpretation und Publikation der während früheren HALO Missionen gewonnenen Meßdaten, DFG PF 384/17-1
  2. DFG consortium: PGS: POLSTRACC / GWLCYCLE and SALSA: Teilnahme der universitären Partner an einer koordinierten Arktis Mission mit HALO, DFG PF 384/16-1
  3. Project Leader: DOAS measurement from the Global Hawk during the NASA-ATTREX project, DFG Pf 384 12-1
  4. Project Leader: DFG HALO: Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) Observations from HALO, DFG Pf 384 7 - 1/2 (2007 - 2017)
  5. Project leader: DOAS measurement from the Global Hawk during the NASA-ATTREX project, DFG PF 384 12-1, 2013 - 2017
  6. Partner: NASA-ATTREX (Airborne tropical Tropopause Experiment), 2011 - 2015  »website«
  7. Partner: Stratospheric Change and its Role for Climate Prediction (SHARP - OFC), DFG Forschergruppe, PF384/9–1, 2009 - 2017. »website«
  8. Coordinator: SHIVA: Stratospheric ozone: Halogen Impacts in a Varying Atmosphere, EU- SHIVA, Grant agreement No.: 226224 (K. Pfeilsticker, IUP Heidelberg and 12 partners), 2009 -  2012. »website«
  9. Partner: RECONCILE: Reconciliation of essential process parameters for an enhanced predictability of arctic stratospheric ozone loss and its climate interactions, EU–RECONCLE, Grant agreement no.: 226365 (FZ Jülich and 17 partners), 2009 – 2012. »website«
  10. Partner: lifetime validation of SCIAMACHY and MIPAS on board ENVISAT (ENVIVAL–LIFE), BMWi– DLR (IUP–Bremen and 4 partners), 2008 – 2012. »website«


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