The atmosphere is of central importance to life on earth and mankind. It contains the carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and the oxygen for breathing. Despite its tiny share in the mass of the earth system it is the most important factor in the natural greenhouse effect, distributes energy and fresh water, and absorbs the short-wave ultraviolet fraction of solar radiation as well as cosmic radiation. Its physico-chemical power of self-purification prevents life from being poisoned by gaseous pollutants.
As a consequence, the “Atmosphere and Climate” topic faces these scientific challenges:
(1) Monitoring and documenting the changes in composition of the atmosphere on various time and space scales.
(2) Intensifying quantitative knowledge of those atmospheric processes which underlie climatic processes and the hydrogen cycle in the atmosphere.
(3) Converting these findings into improved, regionally adapted forecasts for the benefit of decisionmakers and stakeholders. The forecasting horizon extends between a few hours (disaster warning) and decades (climate predictions).
Installing KITcube near Masada/Israel (Photo: A. Wieser, KIT).