Satellite-based observation and early detection

Key Scientific Activity at UFS

Early identification of climate signals and understanding of atmospheric processes

The mesosphere is considered as the most sensitive region of the atmosphere with regard to climate change. For the routine detection of the temperature in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere region (80-100 km), the infrared spectrometer GRIPS (Ground-based Infrared Spectrometer P-branch) is used. The observations are firmly integrated in the worldwide international Network for the Detection of Mesopause Change (NDMC; which is coordinated by DLR in cooperation with UFS.

The focus of scientific research is directed towards the verification and quantification of temperature trends and the study of atmospheric variability at different scales (e.g., planetary waves, tides, gravity waves).

Early detection of natural hazards

Worldwide efforts are underway to reliably identify early warning signals for imminent danger and subsequent damage, caused by geo-hazards such as tsunamis, volcanic activities or severe storms. Such hazardous events generate infrasound which propagates from the surface to the middle and upper atmosphere causing pressure and temperature perturbations. The GRIPS instrument is in principle suited for the detection and characterization of these infrasound signals. The GRIPS technology will be further refined with the goal to establish a world-wide network of such sensors and to incorporate them as an additional and independent observation in a „Multi-Hazard Early Warning System“ which is currently designed by the United Nations.

Validation of satellite based data and information products

From 2008 to 2025, about 100 satellite-based instruments will monitor the Earth's atmosphere. Of particular importance is the validation of quality related data derived from satellite-based measurements. It is generally accepted that these sensors must be “ground-truthed” as an independent quality check using standardized methodologies. In addition these efforts must extend over the lifetime of the sensor and must ensure the integrity of satellite derived time series for the observational parameters as offered by ground-based measurements. New validation approaches are developed that allow the estimation of the miss-time, miss-distance and miss-intergration error.


Global monitoring of the upper atmosphere - Network for the Detection of Mesopause Change (NDMC)
participating Institutes: German Aerospace Center

Measurements of the mesopause temperature using the IR-spectrometer GRIPS
participating Institutes: German Aerospace Center

CESAR - A new way for estimating the destructive potential of a cyclone following a Vb-track
participating Institutes: German Aerospace Center

Gravity wave project „BHEA“ - Importance of high mountain ranges for the atmospheric energy transport
participating Institutes: German Aerospace Center

Mesospheric water vapor: Variability at different timescales observed by ground-based microwave spectroscopy
participating Institutes: Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research

SatVal-A - Establishment of a national point of contact for the coordination of validation activities for satellite-based measurements in the atmosphere
participating Institutes: German Aerospace Center, Karlsruher Institute for Technology

Prof. Dr. Michael Bittner
Uni Augsburg-AFE
Tel. +49 8153 28-1379
Fax +49 8153 28-1363