IAGOS (In-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System)

IAGOS is a European research infrastructure belonging to the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI Roadmap).
Messinstrumente in einem ausgebauten IAGOS Airbus A340-300 (Stefan Weber / Max Planck Institute for Chemistry)
Measuring instruments in an IAGOS Airbus A340-300
photo: Stefan Weber / Max Planck Institute for Chemistry

IAGOS will establish and operate a research infrastructure for sophisticated observations of the atmosphere’s composition on a global scale. The project will utilize up to 20 Airbus A330/340 long-range passenger aircraft to continuously measure the major reactive and greenhouse gases. Furthermore, a modified airfreight container equipped with instruments will be deployed to analyze a broad range trace substances.

IAGOS provides a key competence to the worldwide observation system for observing climate change and the atmosphere’s composition. The collected data on nitrogen oxides (NOx and NOy), water vapour and aerosol particles form a core component of the total IAGOS dataset. Nitrogen oxides play a key role in the global budget of both the tropospheric ozone and the OH radical, which controls the lifespan of several trace substances in the atmosphere. Atmospheric aerosol particles still cause a majority of the uncertainty in the prediction of global climate.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding IAGOS’s development in its pilot- and main phases since November 2012. This development will end in the middle of 2018 with the infrastructure’s operational maturity. IAGOS will then be able to nearly instantly transfer its globally collected data to weather services and research institutes, which will convert them into weather predictions and include them in their research activities.