Max Planck Gesellschaft

Research Group: Airborne trace gas measurements and mesoscale modelling (ATM)

Mission Statement | Team | Projects | Publications | Collaborations | former Research Group members


The Airborne trace gas measurements and mesoscale modelling (ATM) Group aims at making atmospheric measurements of trace gases relevant for our earth's climate, and to utilize these data in combination with transport models to learn about sources/sinks of greenhouse gases and related tracers, most prominently CO2. On the experimental side this involves high accuracy measurement of trace gases from airborne platforms, but also development and optimization of such instrumentation. On the theoretical side it involves development of analysis tools such as mesoscale tracer transport models coupled to surface flux models.

In order to better quantify biosphere-atmosphere fluxes on regional scales (scales of land-use patterns, of disturbances, and of political boundaries), measurements have to be utilized that are made over continental areas, in proximity of the underlying processes.

from left to right: Uwe Schultz, Jinxuan Chen, Eldho Elias, Santiago Botia, Thomas Koch, Christoph Gerbig, Tzu-Hsin (David) Ho , Michal Galkowski, Thomas Seifert, Saqr Munassar

Due to the increasing complexity of the fluxes (higher spatial variability) and meteorology (mesoscale circulations such caused by non-ideal terrain), new modeling tools are needed to better represent the measurements of CO2. Using aircrafts to provide information on the 3-D distribution of atmospheric trace gases, we can not only constraint regional scale surface-atmosphere exchange fluxes, but also we can extensively validate the modelling frameworks.
The final goal is a model-data fusion framework that can utilize the wealth of information provided by measurements from many different experiments such as tall tower trace gas measurements, airborne tracer measurement using regular profiles, remote sensing of global trace gas distribution by satellite, ground base remote sensing using solar absorption FTIR spectroscopy, but also more flux related techniques such as eddy covariance measurements, remote sensing of vegetation activity and vegetation cover, and inventory data to constrain long temporal scales.


Phone: +49.3641.57 - extension | E-mail: e-mail - at -

Name Position E-mail Phone Room
Christoph Gerbig Group leader' cgerbig ...6373 A3.023
Santiago Botia PhD student sbotia ...6379 A3.025
Jinxuan Chen PhD student * jichen ...6708 A3.019
Eldho Elias PhD student * eelias ...6351 A3.002
Michal Galkowski PostDoc * mgalkow ...6381 A3.019
Tzu-Hsin Ho (David) PhD student * tzuho ...6305 A3.002
Thomas Koch Scientific Programmer (employed by DWD) tkoch ...6374 A3.021
Saqr Munassar PhD student smunas ...6361 A3.025
Uwe Schultz Technician uschultz ...6365 A3.017
Thomas Seifert Technician tseifert ...6366 A3.017

Group members marked with * are equally member of the Satellite-based remote sensing of greenhouse gases (SRS) group.

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Current main projects

VERIFY Observation-based system for monitoring and verification of greenhouse gases, funded by EU within H2020. Our role is the development and deployment of a pre-operational inversion system for regular reporting of biosphere-atmosphere exchange fluxes for the European domain. For this we use the CarboScope-Regional inversion system.

Group members involved: Christoph Gerbig, Saqr Munassar, Thomas Koch

Airspace Aircraft remote sensing of greenhouse gases with combined passive and active instruments, is a collaborative project funded by BMBF aimed at supporting the understanding of the global carbon cycle an relevant spatial and temporal scales by developing and testing an airborne scientific payload consisting of active and passive remote sensing in combination with in-situ instruments for deployment onboard the German research aircraft HALO. Apart from our responsibility for accurate in-situ measurements our role is the interpretation of the experimental results with modelling activities to provide estimates of GHG fluxes at regional scales.

Group members involved: Michal Galkowski, Christoph Gerbig, Julia Marshall

CoMet Carbon Dioxide and Methane Mission, is a series of scientific Campaigns using the German research aircraft HALO equipped with with a sophisticated GHG payload (active/passive remote sensing, in-situ continuous and flask sampling). CoMet 1.0 was conducted over Europe with a focus on the upper Silesian coal basin (Poland), while further CoMet missions will target the arctic and the tropics.

Group members involved: Michal Galkowski, Christoph Gerbig

CarboScope-Regional Regular inversions using the CarboScope-Regional inversion framework and ICOS atmosphere CO2 data.

Group members involved: Thomas Koch, Christoph Gerbig

RiGHGorous Research for an Integrated Greenhouse Gas monitoring system and for its Use at DWD, a project funded by to develop a data assimilation system using satellite observations of atmospheric columns, targeted at seperately quantifying fossil and biospheric fluxes of CO2.

Group members involved: David Ho, Christoph Gerbig, Julia Marshall

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Recent publications

Ramonet, M., Ciais, P., Apadula, F., Bartyzel, J., Bastos, A., Bergamaschi, P., Blanc, P. E., Brunner, D., di Torchiarolo, L. C., Calzolari, F., Chen, H., Chmura, L., Colomb, A., Conil, S., Cristofanelli, P., Cuevas, E., Curcoll, R., Delmotte, M., Sarra, A. d., Emmenegger, L., Forster, G., Frumau, A., Gerbig, C., Gheusi, F., Hammer, S., Haszpra, L., Hatakka, J., Hazan, L., Heliasz, M., Henne, S., Hensen, A., Hermansen, O., Keronen, P., Kivi, R., Komínková, K., Kubistin, D., Laurent, O., Laurila, T., Lavric, J. V., Lehner, I., Lehtinen, K. E. J., Leskinen, A., Leuenberger, M., Levin, I., Lindauer, M., Lopez, M., Myhre, C. L., Mammarella, I., Manca, G., Manning, A., Marek, M. V., Marklund, P., Martin, D., Meinhardt, F., Mihalopoulos, N., Mölder, M., Morgui, J. A., Necki, J., O’Doherty, S., O’Dowd, C., Ottosson, M., Philippon, C., Piacentino, S., Pichon, J. M., Plass-Duelmer, C., Resovsky, A., Rivier, L., Rodó, X., Sha, M. K., Scheeren, H. A., Sferlazzo, D., Spain, T. G., Stanley, K. M., Steinbacher, M., Trisolino, P., Vermeulen, A., Vítková, G., Weyrauch, D., Xueref-Remy, I., Yala, K., Kwok, C. Y. (2020). The fingerprint of the summer 2018 drought in Europe on ground-based atmospheric CO2 measurements. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 375(1810): 20190513. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0513.
Nickl, A.-L., Mertens, M., Roiger, A., Fix, A., Amediek, A., Fiehn, A., Gerbig, C., Galkowski, M., Kerkweg, A., Klausner, T., Eckl, M., Jöckel, P. (2020). Hindcasting and forecasting of regional methane from coal mine emissions in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin using the online nested global regional chemistry–climate model MECO(n) (MESSy v2.53). Geoscientific Model Development, 13(4), 1925-1943. doi:10.5194/gmd-13-1925-2020.
Fiehn, A., Kostinek, J., Eckl, M., Klausner, T., Galkowski, M., Chen, J., Gerbig, C., Röckmann, T., Maazallahi, H., Schmidt, M., Korben´, P., Neçki, J., Jagoda, P., Wildmann, N., Mallaun, C., Bun, R., Nickl, A.-L., Jöckel, P., Fix, A., Roiger, A. (2020). Estimating CH4, CO2 and CO emissions from coal mining and industrial activities in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin using an aircraft-based mass balance approach. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20(21), 12675-12695. doi:10.5194/acp-20-12675-2020.
Botía, S. B., Gerbig, C., Marshall, J., Lavric, J. V., Walter, D., Pölhker, C., Holanda, B., Fisch, G., de Araújo, A. C., Sá, M. O., Teixeira, P. R., Resende, A. F., Dias-Junior, C. Q., van Asperen, H., Oliveira, P. S., Stefanello, M., Acevedo, O. C. (2020). Understanding nighttime methane signals at the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20(11), 6583-6606. doi:10.5194/acp-20-6583-2020.

Follow link for a complete list of publications by the ATM group.


former Research Group members

Name Position
Baum, Stephan Engineer (- 2019)
Boschetti, Fabio PhD candidate (- 2017)
Kountouris, Panagiotis PhD candidate (- 2016)
Verma, Shreeya PhD candidate (- 2016)
Kaulfuß, Jürgen Master Student (- 2016)
Filges, Annette PhD candidate (- 2015)
Rähder, Matthias Technician (2013 - 2015)
Klische, Michael Master Student (2013)
Kretschmer, Roberto PhD candidate (- 2012)
Beck, Veronika PhD candidate (- 2012)
Pillai, Dhanya PhD candidate (2007 - 4/2011), PostDoc (4/2011 - 10/2011)
Steinbach, Julia PhD candidate (2005 - 2010), PostDoc (2010 - 2011)
Chen, Huilin PhD candidate (2006 - 2010)
Ahmadov, Ravan PostDoc (2005 - 2009)
Winderlich, Jan Diploma Student (- 2008)
Körner, Stefan Scientific Programmer (2001 - 2006)
Mennecke, Angelika Diploma Student (- 2006)

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