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Aerosols, Clouds, and Atmospheric Chemistry

Welcome to the division "Atmospheric Aerosol Research" of the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Our research focuses on the role of aerosols in the climate system, the hydrological cycle, and the environment.

  • operates the internationally renowned AIDA aerosol and cloud simulation chamber
  • runs laboratories for aerosol and cloud research
  • participates in field campaigns
  • performs numerical modelling of atmospheric aerosol processes

The head of the division, Thomas Leisner, is professor at the Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg.



Cloud experiments in Japan

For the first time, cloud researchers from the KIT AIDA team participated in laboratory cloud simulation experiments at the Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) in Tsukuba, Japan. From October 1- 11, 2013, they closely collaborated with Dr. Masataka Murakami and his team for ice nucleation studies at the MRI dymanic cloud chamber. These experiments nicely extend and complement ice nucleation studies which are performed within the DFG funded Research Unit INUIT (FOR 1525).

contour plot
Aerosol Simulation Web Site Released by IMK-AAF A web based version of the extensively validated detailed numerical aerosol process model COSIMA-F has been made freely available to the public. This code describes the structural properties and dynamical evolution of  ramified aggregates, e.g. freshly emitted soot, based on fractal scaling laws. However, it can also be operated like a conventional aerosol behaviour code when dealing with compact aerosol particles. Several entirely editable default scenarios are available. For more information or conducting your own simulations please visit the COSIMA homepage
International intercomparison of atmospheric hygrometers (AquaVIT2).

In April 2013 50 scientists from 6 different countries participated with 36 different hygrometers in a blind refereed intercomparison including traceable references. The intercomparison covered conditions simulating the UT/LS (186-233 K, 0.2-1300 ppmv) with static periods and dynamic changes including ice clouds. AquaVIT-2 will help reducing instrument uncertainties in order to better quantify the important role of atmospheric water vapor in weather and climate systems.

The Teramobile laser container being installed outside the AIDA experimental hall
Laser plasma – Ice cloud Interaction: Publication in PNAS

Together with the Teramobile Collaboration the interaction of fs- laser filaments with clouds was investigated. As detailed in a recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1222190110, the laser induced plasma channels did not influence ice nucleation in mixed phase clouds but had a remarkably strong effect on ice clouds at temperatures below the limit of homogeneous freezing. Read more: http://www.kit.edu/visit/pi_2013_13037.php