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Project A1


Modern and past climate: Investigation of atmospheric water supply to the Atacama desert (Chile) from combined in-situ, ground-based and satellite remote sensing observations

Research areas: Atmospheric Science and Oceanography

Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Susanne Crewell, Dr. Ulrich Löhnert


Project Info

The extremely dry regions of northern Chile pose a challenging environment for vegetation and fauna in respect to moisture supply. The meteorological situation is complex due to ocean-atmosphere-land coupling under the strong influence of orography and (anthropogenic) aerosol.

Few operational measurements are performed in the region and the rare satellite studies have been limited by resolution aspects due to the structured relief. We aim to characterise present day climate based on a combination of in-situ meteorological stations to be deployed along three transects, various satellite observations as well as ground-based remote sensing observations. The long-term objective is to link the local availability of atmospheric water (i.e. water vapour and fog) to larger scale proxies (i.e. synoptic weather pattern, multi-decadal forcing) in order to establish downscaling rules for past and future climate. For an enhanced process understanding we will carry out a measurement campaign employing (amongst others) a novel type of highly sensitive cloud radar at the fog research site Alto Patache and analyse in-situ measurements by meteorological stations operated at locations not assessed before. By combination with long-term satellite and atmospheric reanalysis data, an unprecedented characterization of the local and large-scale processes leading to low-cloud and fog occurring over the transition region between Eastern Pacific and the Chilean high altitude desert region will be possible. Atmospheric reanalysis and long-term satellite data stream will also enable to describe the spatiotemporal availability of water vapour for different types of climatic variability, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

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Prof. Dr. Tibor J. Dunai
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne
Zülpicher Str. 49b | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-3229 | tdunai@uni-koeln.de
  Managing Director:
Christian Tiede
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne

Zülpicher Str. 49b | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-89833 | christian.tiede@uni-koeln.de
  Deputy Speaker:
Prof. Dr. Martin Melles
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne

Zülpicher Str. 49a | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-2262 | mmelles@uni-koeln.de
Tim Schlüter
Institute of Geography | University of Cologne

Otto-Fischer-Str. 4 | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-3735 | webmaster@sfb1211.de
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