last update: 10.January 2020


Confronting Climate Change is one of the paramount societal challenges of our time. The main cause for global warming is the increase of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Earth’s atmosphere (see Figure). Together, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), being the two most important, human-influenced GHGs, globally contribute to about 81% of the anthropogenic radiative forcing (IPCC, 2013).

Increase of CO2 and CH4 for the last 600000 years

The figure shows the
atmospheric concentration of CO2 (in ppm) and CH4 (in ppb) over the past 750.000 years as reconstructed from ice core data and their trend over the past 30 years from in-situ measurements (source: NOAA).

However, there are still significant deficits in the knowledge about the budgets of these two major greenhouse gases such that the ability to accurately predict our future climate remains substantially compromised. In order to accurately predict future climate of our planet and support observing emission targets in the framework of international agreements (e.g. Paris Agreement), the investigation of sources and sinks of the greenhouse gases and their feedback mechanisms is indispensable.

Airborne remote sensing techniques show great potential to overcome part of these deficits. In the frame of the AIRSPACE project, an airborne scientific payload consisting of the most sophisticated remote sensing instruments will be developed and tested, with support of highly accurate in-situ instruments, ground based remote sensing techniques, as well as modelling activities. Data from an airborne measurement campaign will be exploited.

AIRSPACE is a collaborative project in the thematic area „Climate Change" coordinated by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR-IPA), with participation of the Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen (IUP-UB), and of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) in Jena.

AIRSPACE is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under grant no. FKZ01LK1701A, FKZ01LK1701B, and FKZ01LK1701C.














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