Stratosphere and troposphere
For millions of years our atmosphere has changed persistently and is continuously changing today. Most of the changes are triggered by natural processes and not influenced by human beings. But some changes primarily observed during the last century, such as the emissions of CFCs, are obviously due to human activities.
In order to understand these changes and investigate their causes it is important to gain knowledge of physical and chemical processes in the atmosphere, knowledge of the interaction between different systems like the surface of the earth, the biosphere, the oceans, the cryosphere and the atmosphere as well as knowledge of the interaction between the different layers of the atmosphere itself.
The stratospheric research section, IEK-7 studies chemical, microphysical and dynamic processes in the atmosphere and the role they play in climate change. The institute focuses on the tropopause region (5 to 15 km), because this is where changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols and clouds have a particularly strong effect on the radiative forcing of the atmosphere.
Anthropogenic activities, in particular increasing energy use and production, and natural processes release large quantities of trace substances into the atmosphere influencing living conditions on Earth. The tropospheric research section, IEK-8 investigates the physical and chemical processes in the troposphere which have a major impact on the chemical composition of the atmosphere.