Aerosol and Cloud Physics

The scientific activities of the Research Group are dedicated to fundamental physical and chemical processes concerning atmospheric aerosols, clouds, and large hydrometeors. The expe rimental research is centered on aircraft-borne field measurements, and detailed laboratory studies. The head of the Aerosol and Cloud Physics Research Group, Prof. Dr. Stephan Borrmann, is full professor at the JGU Institute for Physics of the Atmosphere, and holds a formal part time position as one of the directors (at the Particle Chemistry Department) at the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry.

The Aerosol and Cloud Physics Research Group uses the large facilities of the worldwide unique Mainz vertical wind tunnel. Main research areas for the wind tunnel are the characterization of microphysical processes of cloud and precipitation particles (large hydrometeors), including condensational and collision growth, investigation of droplet freezing, riming, as well as melting of hail and snow. Also, investigation of chemical processes, like scavenging of aerosols and trace gases by raindrops, and retention of species during riming are core of the scientific activities at the wind tunnel. Besides fundamental atmospheric research there have been industry and application related projects which were focused on aircraft exhausts, and the prevention of riming and ice-accretion on wind energy turbine blades, and applied droplet physics.

For field research ten  in situ instruments for aircraft borne experiments on cloud and aerosol microphysics in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere are available. Several of the instruments have been and currently are developed in-house like the high altitude condensation particle counter COPAS, the Airborne Laser ABlation Aerosol MAss spectrometer (ALABAMA), as well as the ERC Instrument for Chemical composition of Aerosols (ERICA). These instruments are certified for implementation – and have been operated – on different European research aircraft , including IAGOS-CARIBIC, the Russian high altitude aircraft M-55 “Geophysica”, the research aircraft DLR HALO, the AWI Polar P6, DLR Falcon, the French ATR, the British BAe 146 FAAM, as well as the NASA DC-8, and UCAR HIPAER from the US.

Ground based measurements are carried out by the mobile aerosol research laboratory MoLa which was developed and constructed for flexible mobile and stationary analysis of the atmospheric aerosol in our MPIC research group. MoLa provides a completely independent platform for efficient measurements of physical and chemical aerosol properties, of trace gases, and of various meteorological variables.