Last changed: 08/12/2009
The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Programme of the World Meteorological Organisation, UNO/WMO is a system of global monitoring of the atmosphere. It consists of a worldwide measuring network of observation stations and scientific infrastructure. The aim of GAW is to take high-quality measurements of the chemical composition of the atmosphere, aerosols, and physical parameters. The collected data are widely available to the scientific community and are used to research atmospheric trends, to improve forecast models, for the near surface calibration of satellite measurements and for consulation purposes and evaluation of climate policy measures (e.g, Montreal Protocol or Kyoto Protocol).
Horst KÃ¶hler, former Federal President and the Bavarian Prime Minister
Horst Seehofer visited the GAW station Zugspitze on 14.4.09 (Photo: UBA/Sohmer)
The map shows the location of the 22 GAW Global stations. Global stations are situated in more remote regions with low background levels of air pollutants, they are representative for a larger surrounding and measure a broad range of atmospheric pollutants over decades. In addition, there are more than 300 GAW Regional stations (some 400 regional stations) with measurement programmes that usually depend on regional needs. Regional stations are representative for a smaller region and provide data applied for local or regional issues. The GAWSIS Information System provides an overview of the global measurement network of GAW stations.
Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (2650 m a.s.l.) at Zugspitze.
Meteorological Observatory Hohenpeissenberg
The Global station Zugspitze/Hohenpeissenberg consists of the two platforms Zugspitze and Hohenpeissenberg and is operated by the Federal Environment Agency Germany and the German Weather Service. At platform Zugspitze the Federal Environment Agency measures at the Research Station Schneefernerhaus greenhouse gases and chemically reactive atmospheric trace substances. The German Weather Service measures synoptic data, radiation and radioactivity at the Zugspitze summit (2960 m a.s.l.) and at Schneefernerhaus. The measurement program of platform Hohenpeissenberg operated by the German Weather Service includes e.g. reactive atmospheric trace substances, aerosols, ozone profiles, radiation parameters and precipitation. For details on the measurement programs please refer to the respective websites.
The station Zugspitze/Hohenpeissenberg provides the data for central Europe. The next GAW Global Stations are situated in the northwest at the west coast of Ireland, in the north in Finland at the polar circle, in the east at Mount Waliguan in China and in the south in Tamanrasset/Sahara and in Izana on Tenerife/Canary Islands, and in the west on the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland.
The stations on the Hohen Sonnblick in Austria (3100 m a.s.l.), on the Jungfraujoch (3580 m a.s.l.) in Switzerland, and on Hohenpeissenberg and Zugspitze in Germany, cooperate through the DACH German-Austrian-Swiss Meteorological Conference Programmes for the joint evaluation of regionally and globally relevant time series.
The measurement programme of the Federal Environment Agency includes greenhouse gases and chemically reactive atmospheric trace substances. An overview of the measured components is given in the table below.
|Greenhouse Gases||Reactive Trace Gases|
|Carbon dioxide (CO2)||Ozone (O3)|
|Methane (CH4)||Nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2, NOX, NOy)|
|Nitrous oxide (N2O)||Peroxy Acetic Nitric Anhydride (PAN)|
|Sulfur hexa fluoride (SF6)||Carbon monoxide (CO)|
|Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)*||Volatile organic carbons ( < C5) and (>= C5)*|
Fine and ultrafine particles, size ranges of fraction concentrations from 10 to 800nm, PM10 Beta Absorption, PM10 Mass
pH, conductivity, sulfate, nitrate, chloride, ammonium, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, heavy metals
(* in preparation)
Platform Zugspitze is situated 300m below Zugspitze summit in the environmental research station Schneefernerhaus.
The GAW regional station of Schauinsland is located on a mountain by the same name in the southern Black Forest, about 10 kilometres southeast of Freiburg. Due to its elevation of 1205 metres at the eastern rim of the Upper Rhine Rift, it often lies above the ground-level mixing layer which allows for detection of both long-range transported, and locally influenced, air masses. The station acts as a regional station in the GAW network. Its mainly monitors the greenhouse gases CO, CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, and the chemically reactive gases ozone, NOx , NO, NO2, PAN, VOC and aerosols, PM10, PM2,5, size ranges of fraction concentrations from 10 to 800 nm.
The GAW regional station Neuglobsow is located in northern Brandenburg, at the southeastern edge of the Brandenburg-Mecklenburg Lake District, right on the southeastern shore of the Stechlinsee lake. The air masses monitored are typical for the eastern region of northern Germany. One of the stationâ€™s uses is to serve as a regional station for GAW and monitor the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4, and the reactive gases ozone, NO, NO2.
Measurement data for scientific research that provides a foundation for policy decision-making must be accurate and of recognised, standardised and high quality. A (Quality Assurance (QA) System) was set up in the GAW programme to ensure this.
Scientific Advisory Groups (SAGs) define data quality objectives (DQOs) and develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which incorporate the guidelines and recommendations that govern all issues in the area of quality assurance. These recommendations are published in GAW Reports. Quality Assurance / Science Activity Centres (QA/SACs), which are responsible for compliance with guidelines at the stations, are at the core of the QA system. The QA/SACs carry global responsibility for the components they select. To date, QA/SACs have been set up in the United States of America, Japan, Switzerland, as well as China and Germany.
The QA/SAC Germany was established in 2000 by the Federal Environment Agency. It assumes worldwide responsibility for the quality assurance of the physical properties of aerosols, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrous oxide (N2O).
World Calibration Centres (WCC) have been established for each of the compounds indicated above. They are funded by QA/SAC Germany (UBA):
Participants of the extended QA/SAC Workshop on 16.06.2009 were (from l to r):
Dr. S. Gilge (DWD), Dr. R. Steinbrecher (FZK, IMK/IFU), Dr. L. Ries (SGL GAW), T. Rehm (UFS), Dr. W. Fricke (DWD), Dr. W. Birmili (IFT), Dr. H.-E. Scheel (FZK, IMK/IFU), Dr. K. Wirtz and Dr. H. Gerwig (UBA, II4.4)
It was agreed to hold a meeting for all the GAW Germany network in March 2010.
The main tasks of QA/SAC Germany are to
An integral part of QA/SAC Germany is the GAW Training and Education Centre (GAWTEC), run at the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (UFS). It has been co-funded by UBA and the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health since 2001. From 2001 until mid-2007 13 training sessions were held with approximately 140 trainees from five continents.
Further national QA activities within GAW include the World Calibration Centre for ozone sondes run by the Research Centre JÃ¼lich and the Regional Dobson Calibration Centre run by the German Weather Service in co-operation with the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute.
The Federal Environment Agency operates the German Quality Assurance/Science Activity Centre (QA/SAC Germany) as well as a global station and two regional stations. It also funds three World Calibration Centres for nitrous oxide, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and physical aerosols.
In keeping with the specific data quality requirements, all data processing steps starting from the acquisition of raw data in the time range of seconds to the production of quality-assured half hour mean values have to be performed at the station. A special software system for data collection and quality assurance at GAW stations was developed in a project commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency under the Environmental Research Plan of the German Environment Ministry. In order to facilitate international standardisation of data processing at GAW stations, developed software components are available to GAW stations free of charge.
Transport of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and ozone to the Alpine Global Atmosphere Watch stations Jungfraujoch (Switzerland), Zugspitze and Hohenpeissenberg (Germany), Sonnblick (Austria) and Mt. Krvavec (Slovenia)August Kaiser, Helfried Scheifinger, Wolfgang Spangl, Andrea Weiss, Stefan
Gilge, Wolfgang Fricke, Ludwig Ries, Danijel Cemas, Brigita Jesenovec Atmospheric Environment 41 (2007) 9273â€“9287
How to Keep the Quality Chain, Work Flow-Oriented Data Processing for Global Atmosphere Watch Measurement Stations.
L.Ries, pp. 109-112,
In: Environmental Informatics and Systems Research. Vol. 2 Workshop and application papers. Eds. Olgierd Hryniewicz, Jan Studzinski, Anna Szediw. Shaker Verlag, 2007, Aachen, 292 p.
Final Report on CarboEurope â€šCucumberâ€˜ Intercomparison Programme
Manning A.C., Jordan A., Levin I., et. Al., 2008
Atmospheric aerosol measurements in the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN) Part 1: Soot and particle number size distributions
W. Birmili, K. Weinhold, S. Nordmann, A. Wiedensohler, G. Spindler, K. MÃ¼ller, H. Herrmann, T. Gnauk, M. Pitz, J. Cyrys, H. Flentje, C. Nickel, T. A. J. Kuhlbusch, G. LÃ¶schau, D. Haase, F. Meinhardt, A. Schwerin, L. Ries, K. Wirtz, Gefahrstoffe â€“ Reinhaltung Luft, 69(4), 2009, S. 137-145.
Observation and origin of organochlorine compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the free troposphere over central Europe.
Gerhard Lammel, Jana KlÃ¡novÃ¡, JiÅ™Ã Kohoutek, Roman ProkeÅ¡, Ludwig Ries and Andreas Stohl, Environmental Pollution, Article in Press, 2009
Feine und ultrafeine Aerosolpartikeln an der GAW-Station Schneefernerhaus/Zugspitze
Birmili, W.; Ries, L.; Sohmer, R.; Anastou, A.; Sonntag, A.; KÃ¶nig, K.; Levin, I. , Gefahrstoffe- Reinhaltung der Luft 1-2/2009, Seite 31-35
Current WDCGG newsletter on development greenhouse gases.
Dr. Ludwig Ries ( ), German Federal Environment Agency
(GAW measurements at platform Zugspitze, QA/SAC Germany)
Dr. Holger Gerwig ( ), German Federal Environment Agency
Dr. Wolfgang Fricke ( ), German Weather Service
(GAW measurements at platform Hohenpeissenberg, GAW contact person Germany)
Karin Woudsma ( ), Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (GAW Training and Education Centre)
Research Centre JÃ¼lich:
World Calibration Centre for ozone sondes
Global Station Neumayer/Antarktis
Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (IfT):
World Calibration Centre for Aerosol Physics
Research Centre Karlsruhe, IMK-IFU
World Calibration Centre for volatile organic compounds
Wold Calibration Centre for nitrous oxide