Zeppelin as a data collector

Airship explores the "washing power of the atmosphere"

Zeppelin NT FZ J lich
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The lowest layer of the atmosphere is the most chemically active region of our air envelope. But what exactly happens there is so far only partially known. Now, scientists want to remedy this with the help of an unusual research tool: a Zeppelin.

Equipped with various measuring instruments, the airship will be analyzing the air over southern Germany for ten days from 16 July onwards. The scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich concentrate on the degradation and transport of pollutants and trace gases in the lowest layer of the atmosphere. "The air layer up to a height of 1, 000 meters plays a decisive role for the air quality and the climate because it is highly active in terms of chemicals. Pollutants are emitted into this layer, converted into other substances and further disseminated, " explains Professor Andreas Wahner from Forschungszentrum Jülich. "With the Zeppelin NT, we can now gather comprehensive data in this region for the first time."

This is made possible by the special flying characteristics of the Zeppelin NT from Friedrichshafen: it can float slowly at low altitudes, stop in the air, climb up and down vertically, fly up to 24 hours and carry a heavy gauge with it. About half a ton of research equipment has loaded the airship during the measurement flights in the passenger gondola. An additional 350 kilograms will be transported outdoors on an extra platform on top of the Zeppelin. Among other things, the scientists use these instruments to measure the amount of so-called hydroxyl radicals, the "detergent of the atmosphere". It initiates the breakdown of most pollutants and is thus a measure of the cleaning power of the atmosphere.

In various flight missions, researchers will investigate the spread and conversion of trace and noxious gases. In doing so, they measure the chemical changes of the gases during transport by strong windstorms and in an exhaust air plume from urban agglomerations. "We are very proud to be part of this project, " says Thomas Brandt, Managing Director of ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik. "For us, this project is a great challenge and opportunity, especially since it opens a new chapter in the field of special missions for the Zeppelin NT."

(Forschungszentrum Jülich, 13.07.2007 - NPO) advertisement