The “Karlsruhe Integrated Atmospheric Observation System” (KIAOS)

The “Karlsruhe Integrated Atmospheric Observation System” (KIAOS) is planned as a modular integrated atmospheric observation facility. The infrastructure includes laboratory settings as well as mobile in-situ and remote sensing components and is characterized by unprecedented spatial, temporal, and process resolutions, enabling the "Whole Atmosphere" approach of Topic 1 in the Helmholtz program "The Changing Earth - Sustaining our Future". This allows, for example, the observation of turbulence-driven mass transport or the highly non-linear interactions of trace substances, aerosols, clouds and radiation, to mention just a few important processes. Such fundamental processes relate directly to the genesis of extreme weather, lifecycles of thunderstorms, and extreme air pollution events (amongst others). On longer timescales, the central question of climate sensitivity – how much global warming do we get for a fixed increase in GHGs – can be addressed by measuring a multitude of process- based feedbacks in unprecedented detail with KIAOS.

This integrative observational approach will enable large national and international atmospheric research campaigns with complex scientific objectives. Such campaigns are urgently needed to improve and validate numerical atmospheric and climate impact models. Conversely, the planned close integration of modelling and observation will support campaign planning and development of the observation strategy to obtain optimal data sets. Of particular scientific importance is a coherent description of the exchange processes of energy, momentum and matter at the surface and at cloud boundaries.

KIAOS will mainly be built from the following unique world-class experimental components, which are the precursor infrastructures of the new integrated system: AIDA, KITcube, IAGOS/CARIBIC and TERENO. The main goal of this merging is to create a flexible, easy to maintain, and extendable “system of systems” that can be tailored for future observational needs, and that allows to collaborate scientifically in both long- and short-term settings.