Project Group Climate, Aerosols and Health

Research for Humans and the Environment

Biogenic and anthropogenic emissions in the form of particles (pollen, carbon black, dust and smoke, organic substances on particles) impact health negatively (allergies, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases) and at the same time substantially influence the global and regional climate. The regional climate, anthropogenic and biogenic emissions as well as land use determine the formation, exposition and spread of particles. The estimation of effects of those changes on the formation of particles is of central importance in different political fields of action (climate protection, energy policy, health policy).

Current developments in Germany and Bavaria (e.g. the energy turnaround with the advancement of electromobility, the building of new gas power stations, the change of primary energy sources, the changes in land use for regenerative production of energy, the establishment of low-emission zones) are going to influence the formation and spread of particles strongly. It must also be assumed that by cultivating certain biomass products the composition of biogenic emissions will change, which in turn will influence the formation of aerosols and ozone. At the same time the topographic and geographic conditions of the climate-sensitive region of the Alpine foothills show regional characteristics such as orographic lift effect, chinook wind, Alpine pumping, and thus many effects of the developed particles affect this region.

Significant questions of the formation (exchange biosphere – atmosphere – reciprocity with weather and climate), development and spread (processes of formation, speed of growth, speed of transportation, mixing) and of the effect of particles on health (health effects of multiple, simultaneous expositions) can be responded in interdisciplinary cooperation. Thus, it should be possible to examine scenarios and predict future developments of particle exposure and their effects.

The project group unifies scientific infrastructures of the Zugspitze (Umweltforschungsstation Schneefernerhaus) with Garmisch-Partenkirchen (KIT/IMK-IFU), Hohenpeißenberg (DWD), Munich (TUM, LMU, HMG) to Augsburg (University, LfU). Thus it is possible to collect high-quality data from different high altitudes from the highlands, over medium topographic elevations to the lowlands and to use 3-D simulations about air quality to examine scenarios of the regions. Thus, this examination from A (Augsburg) to Z (as in Zugspitze) show the international uniqueness of this project group. Central questions can be answered by developing a holistic method.

Our project group brings together experts from different disciplines for regional climate and particle research and is internationally leading through cooperation with the prestigious institutions above mentioned. Networking in particular enables the estimation of technical and societal developments on health and climate in the examined region.


With its fundamental research of the causes, spatial and temporal distributions, and the effects of the aerosol concentrations, the project group wants to provide a reliable basis of decisionmaking for the fields of climate, energy policy and public health, but also for the planning of cities and the usage of land. Partial goals refer to the solution of central questions in individual fields of emission and particle research, i.e.,

  • Identification and characterization of essential sources (traffic, industry and trade, domestic fuel, agriculture, natural sources, long-distance transport), proportion of ultra-fine particles.
  • Determination of spatial-temporal variability of particle distribution on the basis of scenarios of emission structure and by considering chemical conversions, developments of growth and depositions.
  • Reciprocity of the pollutants in the gaseous phase (e.g. ozone, nitric oxide) and of the particles (development of secondary aerosols and aging of aerosols).
  • Modeling of the influence of particles on the regional climate (radiation balance, processes of cloud formation, weather conditions).
  • Determination of relations between particle characteristics and meterology on the one hand, and exposition and effects on health on the other hand; significance of ultra-fine particles.


  • Measurement of spatial-temporal variability of particle distribution, especially by means of remote sensing, to validate model calculations on  the basis of scenarios of emission structure and by considering chemical conversions, developments of growth and depositions.
  • Advancement of models of emission, spread and land use (e.g. parametrization of biogenic emissions, chemistry of aerosols); high-resolution regional air chemical and spread calculations and validation of measured data.
  • Regional climate simulations in due consideration of primary and secondary aerosol chemistry for the region of the Alpine foothills. Statistical analysis of reciprocity between weather conditions and particle concentrations.
  • Inclusion of existing long- and short-term case studies to the influence of particle concentrations and meterology on mortality and morbidity in the region Augsburg and the whole Alpine foothills.
  • Advancement and application of innovative measurement and inversion methods to characterize optical and microphysical characteristics of the aerosol particles.

Begin of project: winter semester 2008/2009

Contributions of the participating project groups

TUM (Technical University Munich):
Measurement and determination of physical and chemical composition of the particles.

Measurement of particle-relevant pollutants (ozone, nitreous gases, hydrocarbons). High-resolution simulations on an urban and regional scale for episodes and scenarios as well as climate-relevant periods of time.

HMGU/WZU (Environmental Science Center):
Long-term monitoring of physical and chemical characteristics of particles at the measuring station in Augsburg FH (University of Applied Sciences), attribution of sources by particle size distribution, development of models for land use for ultra-fine particles, data and information from epidemiological short term and long term studies; contribution to the adaption of distribution models (and land usage models) for temporal variation.

Examination of the coherences of large-scale weather conditions, metereology oriented at specific stations and local particle concentrations.

Provision of measurements of particle characteristics from international measuring networks (EARLINET and AERONET). Spatially resolved particle characterization from remote sensing measurement methods (e.g. Lidar).

Provision of evaluation data for the model simulations in the Alpine foothills by DWD, DLR and UBA.


Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Garmisch-Partenkirchen (KIT)
Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung, Bereich Atmosphärische Umweltforschung (IMK-IFU)

Universität Augsburg (UA)
Institut für Geographie (IGUA)
Lehrstuhl für Physische Geographie und Quantitative Methoden
Wissenschaftszentrum Umwelt (WZU)
Professur für Atmosphärenfernerkundung in Kooperation mit dem Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DFD, Abteilung Atmosphäre

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU)
Lehrstuhl für Epidemiologie
Lehrstuhl für Experimentelle Meteorologie

Helmholtz-Zentrum München (HMGU)
Institut für Epidemiologie II
Kooperationsgruppe Comprehensive Molecular Analytics

Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)
Meteorologisches Observatorium Hohenpeißenberg

Umweltbundesamt (UBA)
Messstation Zugspitze

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
Standort Oberpfaffenhofen

Bayerisches Landesamt für Umwelt


Dr. Jens Soentgen
Wissenschaftszentrum Umwelt
Universität Augsburg
Universitätsstraße 1a
D-86159 Augsburg