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The German Aerospace Center (DLR) Bi-spectral Infrared Detection (BIRD) small satellite is a technology demonstrator of new infrared push-broom sensors dedicated to recognition and quantitative characterisation of thermal processes on the Earth surface. BIRD was successfully piggy-back launched on October 22, 2001 with an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C3) into a circular sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 572 km and a North - South local equator crossing time at 10:30 h. Besides cameras working in the visible and near infrared spectral range there are two cameras working in the middle infrared (MIR, 3.4 – 4.2 µm) and in the thermal spectral range (TIR, 8.5 – 9.3 µm) respectively. The objective is to validate these two cameras in cooperation with the Koldewey-Station in Ny-Ålesund. Therefore meteorological and aerological data as well as radiation measuring data will be used.
The subject is to determine the horizontal distribution of aerosol and trace gases by airborne measurements with the Gulfstream III (transarctic flight), ground based measurements in Ny Ålesund (Koldewey Station, Rabben) and satellite measurements with SAGE II / SAGE III. Objective is to get vertical and horizontal aerosol profiles, to research the trace gase variations in the Arctic and to compare remote sensing und in situ measurements.
By launching several hundred ozonesondes and by ozone lidar measurements at many Arctic and sub-Arctic stations, one of them Ny-Ålesund, the stratospheric chemical ozone loss will be determined. The launches of all stations will be coordinated by analysis of trajectory calculations based on analysis and forecast wind fields. The aim is to get as many ozone sounding pairs as possible, each of them linked by trajectories in space and time. A statistical description of the ozone differencies given by the first and the second measurement of individual sonde pairs will yield the chemical ozone loss with spatial and time resolution. Four similar campaigns took place in the Arctic and in the mid-latitudes covering the time period of Januar to March in each of the last four winters. In the first three winters high ozone depletion rates (20 - 50 ppbv per day) were determined in some height levels within the polar vortex. In the height level of the ozone maximum an integrated ozone loss (during the winter) in the order of 60 % have been found. These are record ozone losses for the Arctic polar region. In the last winter the ozone depletion rates had been much lower due to moderate temperatures in the stratosphere.
The active layer, the annually freezing and thawing upper ground in permafrost areas, is of pivotal importance. The moisture and heat transfer characteristics of this layer also determine the boundary layer interactions of the underlying permafrost and the atmosphere and are therefore important parameters input for geothermal or climate modeling. Finally, changes in the characteristics of the permafrost and permafrost related processes may be used as indicators of global ecological change provided the system permafrost-active layer-atmosphere is understood sufficiently well. The dynamics of permafrost soils is measured with high accuracy and high temporal resolution at our two sites close to Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Using these continuous data we quantify energy balance components and deduce heat transfer processes such as conductive heat flux, generation of heat from phase transitions, and migration of water vapor.