Absorbing aerosol layers in a changing climate: aging, lifetime and dynamics (A-LIFE)

A-LIFE is an ERC project at the University of Vienna with PI Bernadett Weinzierl.

Project start: 1 October 2015
Project duration: 5 years

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 640458 (A-LIFE). In addition, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) provides funding for a significant amount of flight hours and aircraft allocation days for the A-LIFE aircraft field experiment, and two EUFAR projects (16 flight hours) are clustered with A-LIFE.

In this photo blog, we report about the preparations for A-LIFE and our measurements in spring 2017. Details about the project including a detailed project description, partners and mission calendar can be found on the A-LIFE project homepage.

Contact: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bernadett Weinzierl



18 April 2017: Science team meeting

After a series of flights last week, we had the A-LIFE midterm meeting today at Paphos. Every group presented data, and we discussed highlights and most interesting findings. So far we had 11 flights including the two test flights and the two transfer flights. We have collected very exciting data including measurements of „polluted dust“/dust – black carbon mixtures, pure pollution, and as one of the highlights: Arabian/Middle East dust over Cyprus. In the remaining two weeks, we will have another 8-9 local flights.

Group photograph taken after the science meeting on 18 April 2017.

28 March 2017: Chasing dust over Germany and France

Today, we had the first A-LIFE test flight. The DLR Falcon research aircraft took off at 11:00 (09 UTC). We flew to France, where we made a low approach at Dijon airport. Later we shuttled in East-West direction at different altitudes along the Alps. We found dust layers below 5 km and filaments of dust layers up to 7-8 km, sampled pollution in the boundary layer in the Munich area and over Dijon, and saw gravity waves in the lidar measurements north of the Alps. It was a great opportunity to test our dust payload.

17 – 25 March 2017: From the ground to the skies

In the past week, we proceeded with preparations for our big joint A-LIFE/CyCARE/PRE-TECT mission. In Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany), preparations of the airborne measurements were ongoing. In Paphos (Cyprus), the ground-based measurement containers including two TROPOS containers, an office container and the UNIVIE garden house were set-up. Results from worldwide observations with the portable Raman lidar systems POLLY including measurements in the Eastern Mediterranean are already available online.

Thursday, 16 March 2017: Getting ready for the A-LIFE mission

Today, we spent all day with testing and calibrating instruments. In addition, we finalized the packing of the airfreight which will leave for Paphos (Cyprus) on 17 March 2017.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017: A big step forward

Before we are ready to fly, our instruments have to pass the so-called ground test report (GTR) and the electromagnetic interference (EMI) test. Today, all instruments passed the GTR and the EMI test. A big milestone towards a successful A-LIFE mission!

Monday, 13 March 2017: instrument upload completed

  • Lidar transceiver successfully integrated
  • Tubing completed

Friday, 10 March 2017: Instrument upload almost done

After an intense week of instrument upload, all measurement racks including the brandnew aerosol measurement system A‐HEAD (Airborne High‐resolution Extinction, Absorption and scattering Detection system) of the University of Vienna are now installed in the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Falcon research aircraft. The last component to be integrated is the lidar transceiver which will follow on Monday.

Impressions of the instrument upload between 6 an 10 March 2017, Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany).

Thursday, 9 March 2017: Bits and pieces

  • Installation of cables and sampling tubes for aerosol in-situ racks

Wednesday, 8 March 2017: Upload of the wind lidar system

  •     Lidar ground testing completed successfully
  •     Lidar racks installed

Tuesday, 7 March 2017: Upload of aerosol in-situ instruments

  •     CCNC rack installed
  •     SP2-OPC rack installed
  •     Instrument bench/lab checks ongoing for A-HEAD and lidar

Monday, 6 March 2017: Begin of instrument upload

Today, instrument upload for the A-LIFE mission started. We have now one week of time to get everything installed in the DLR Falcon research aircraft.

Sunday, 26 February 2017: Sea survival training

Every crew member flying on the Falcon research aircraft is required to participate in a safety training. Today, we went to Wiener Neustadt for the sea survival training. Besides theoretical lectures, we did exercises with a life raft in a swimming pool, and practiced with signal flares and fire extinguishers.