In all the recent discussion about global warmth where politicians and media tell us about "new facts" one interesting point is mostly missing: a world wide network of meteorological stations
is monitoring essential atmospheric parameters since 1989 combining different projects that go back as far as the 1950s.
We all know that scientists around the world are trying to interpret the trends and consequences of man made air pollution. Ozone, acid rain, CFC, greenhouse gases and CO2 are a few of the topics that we all know for years.
The usefulness of the forecasts and the development of better technologies that help to reduce our impact on the atmosphere depends on the quality of the long term monitoring of chemicals and other particles in the air.
One of those stations that help to collect the data is shown in my panorama.
This place looks brand new but is actually the oldest mountain based meteorological station
in the world. The continuous meteorological observation started 226 years ago in the nearby cloister.
All of the high tech gear around like the weather radar on top of the tower is mostly used for research and only rarely adds to day by day weather forecasts of Germany's meteorological organisation DWD
who runs this institute.
Part of today's mission is long term surveillance of the atmosphere. As one of about 20 stations this is part of GAW - Global Atmosphere Watch
, a global network run by UN's agency World Meteorological Organization
. My visit coincided by chance with the WMD
- in this case an acronym for World Meteorological Day
, definitely no reason for invasion.
This nicely situated terrace is on the rooftop of the station's laboratory - an important chain in the network. A sign at the door asks visitors not to smoke at the outside for the detectors spread all over the terrace might be irritated by that kind of local air pollution.
The atmospheric chemistry labs are located directly on the floor below. That allows for short distances between the outside air and the detectors of several highly specialized devices automatically analysing different gases and particles around the clock. For additional panoramas
please follow the link at the bottom of this page.
A different laboratory looks just like a server room since it also contains data acquisition systems to save all the information coming in from detectors and analyzing devices. All information is directly made available for the global network. Needless to say that I have never seen another "server room" like this with such a nice view!
I want to thank the director of the GAW station Hoher Peißenberg
Dr. Wolfgang Fricke and his team for the friendly permission to take my photos and also for showing me around and explaining everything.
- Additional panoramas of the institute's laboratories on Carl von Einem's website