Impacts of Aerosol layers on atmosphere and climate

Characterized by Aircraft, satellites and Radiative transfer modEls

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The AerCARE Project
The AerCARE Team

Welcome to the Helmholtz-University Young Investigators Group AerCARE!


Airborne aerosol and black carbon measurements in the framework of the joint DLR-NASA project ACCESS-II

Between 1 May and 21 May 2014, we were involved in the NASA-led mission on Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS-II) involving four research aircraft including NASA's DC-8 and HU-25C Guardian, DLR's Falcon 20-E5, and NRC's CT-133 research aircraft. The aim of ACCESS-II is to characterize the emissions from and biofuels compared to regular jet fuels in aviation and to investigate the impact of different fuel types on the properties of aircraft contrails. The data collected during ACCESS-II may aid to develop more environment-friendly aircraft fuels. For ACCESS-II, the Falcon research aircraft was based at the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California.

Left: the DLR Falcon 20-E5 research aircraft. Right: NASA's DC8 research aircraft.

Left: the Canadian T33 and the HU-25C Guardian probing the DC8's exhaust. Right: view out of the Falcon during the research flight on 10 May 2014 over California (USA).

More detail on ACCESS-2 including videos showing the different aircraft chasing the DC8 are given at the NASA and DLR websites.


Aerosol particles play a key role in shaping conditions on the Earth’s surface and in the lower atmosphere. Aerosol particles are frequently lifted into the free troposphere and transported as elevated aerosol layers over long distances, even between continents. However, the impacts of these aerosol layers on atmosphere and climate are not yet known.

The main goal of AerCARE is the systematic investigation and assessment of the climate impacts of elevated aerosol layers arising from anthropogenic, including air traffic, and natural sources.



Safe the date: 3rd SALTRACE data analysis workshop at LMU in Munich on 24/25 February 2015. Details on SALTRACE are given on the SALTRACE project homepage.

November 2014: Awarded with an ERC Starting Grant to investigate Absorbing aerosol layers in a changing climate: aging, lifetime and dynamics (A-LIFE). A-LIFE will start on 1 October 2015 and continue until September 2020.

May 2014: On 27/28 May 2014, the 2nd SALTRACE data analysis workshop was held in Leipzig.

Map showing the SALTRACE Falcon flight tracks (red line) and the ground-based measurement sites. The main SALTRACE site was on Barbados.

December 2013: We received the DLR Science Award 2013 for our study "On the visibility of airborne volcanic ash and mineral dust from the pilot’s perspective in flight" (see also here, starting from minute 0:33h).

July 2013: Our propsal on "A novel method to derive microphysical aerosol properties from future satellite measurements" is selected for funding by LMUexcellent.



Helmholtz-University Young Investigators Groups are intended to improve an existing link between a Helmholtz Center and a University by enhancing collaboration activities and knowledge exchange. AerCARE is a cooperation between DLR Oberpfaffenhofen and the University of Munich.

The AerCARE Group collaborates with national  and international partners (e.g. IfT, KIT, PSI, ESA, KNMI, NILU, NOAA, DMT).


The AerCARE Group is funded by the Helmholtz-Association through the President’s Initiative and Networking Fund, and by DLR.

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Last update: 02. Juli 2014.