Our Mission & Scientific Background
Clouds influence the Earth’s radiation balance due to their albedo and greenhouse effect. Both effects strongly depend on the cloud properties like phase, height, particle size and number. So far, clouds have a net cooling effect on the Earth’s climate on average. However, the anthropogenic influence changes cloud properties e.g. ice particle size and number, and therewith the clouds radiation budgets. Unfortunately, the impact is still not fully described.
Climate models work with three feedback components to predict the cloud feedback:
cloud amount: spatial and temporal coverage
cloud altitude: e.g. high-level clouds
cloud opacity: cloud water and ice content, cloud phase, cloud particle number and size
The first two components are observed by remote sensing techniques like satellite observations, whereas the latter one would be observed by in-situ measurement techniques.
The mission of the topical center “Cloud in-situ” measurements is to in-situ characterize clouds to improve the knowledge about their feedback on the Earth’s climate.
Our Units & Teams
The Topical Center for Cloud in situ measurements is organized in 3 units each spezialized to a method for in-situ cloud characterization.