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GLORIA: Unique climate research experiment worldwide
Date:12/6/2011

This press release is available in German.

GLORIA is the acronym of "Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere". This complicated name refers to a novel type of infrared camera. It decomposes thermal radiation emitted by atmospheric gases into its spectral colors. This allows for a very precise mapping of the gases and their large-area movements. GLORIA was developed by Forschungszentrum Jlich and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology within the framework of an extended investment project of the Helmholtz Association. Worldwide, it is the first of a new generation of measurement instruments to be used on satellites for weather observation in the future.

At 10 to 20 km height, GLORIA measures a number of climate-relevant trace gases that are mixed vertically and horizontally by atmospheric exchange processes. Among them are carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and water vapor as well as many nitrogen and chlorine compounds. For the first time, this new instrument will measure these processes with a very high spatial resolution. "In this way, we will be enabled to test current climate models and to improve them," says Dr. Martin Kaufmann, physicist at Forschungszentrum Jlich. "Moreover, the height range observed by GLORIA is of enormous importance to the climate: Here, the atmosphere emits the highest amount of heat into space. Greenhouse gases and clouds in this area most significantly affect the energy budget of the earth," he adds.

The new spectrometer is unique worldwide. It works with a slewable and precisely stabilized infrared camera. It maps air layers below and on both sides of the aircraft. During later data analysis, these images are decomposed into a number of colors. By their "spectral fingerprint", the different trace gases can be distinguished and their concentrations can be determined very precisely.

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Contact: Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-47414
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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