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Research Facilities - Infrastructure

aerial view of IMK-IFU
Zugspitze summit
Observation Site Mt. Zugspitze
ultralight research aircraft
Microlight Aircraft
Lysimeter Robot
Lysimeter Robot
measuring tower at Höglwald
EC measuring station
Center of Stable Isotopes - Laboratory
Center of Stable Isotope Analysis



IMK-IFU operates diverse research facilities, such as:

  • A research aircraft: a versatile weight-shift microlight (ULS Enduro) and mid-sized aircraft (Do 128);


  • Ground-based observation sites at Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Mt. Zugspitze (FTIR spectrometers with automatic sun-trackers, MW radiometers, LIDARs, GPS, …), within the NDACC and TCCON networks;
  • The Terrestrial Environmental Observatories (TERENO) platform, a unique network of integrated long-term ecosystem-atmosphere observation facilities in Germany, including eddy-covariance stations for heat, water vapor and greenhouse gas flux measurements, hydrological, hydro-meteorological, boundary layer and soil sensors;
  • The Center for Stable Isotope Analysis (CSI) for the mass-spectrometric determination of stable isotopologue ratios of C-, O-, and N-compounds to derive process pathways in soil-plant-atmosphere exchanges, or the thermal origin of precipitation samples;
  • SoilCan lysimeter and bio-geo-chemical cycling array: seven arrays of six lysimeters (each containing a 1 m2 x 1.5 m vegetated soil monolith; ca. 3.5 tons) are distributed in a manipulative climate change experiment in the TERENO-prealpine region to measure the water balance, cycling of C- and N-compounds through the plant-soil-water system. Emission or uptake of biogenic greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O) is measured by an automated robotic gas-exchange enclosure system;
  • an experimental plant laboratory and greenhouse facility (200 m2) at KIT/IMK-IFU for controlled manipulation experiments of climatic stressors (e.g., heat, drought, ozone) on the physiology of plants (including VOC emission). Whole plants (including trees up to 4 m high) or SoilCan lysimeters can be deployed and controlled in four separate chambers equipped with a range of analytical instruments (including PTR-MS);
  • the Environmental Research Station UFS “Schneefernerhaus” (Mt. Zugspitze), a centre for altitudinal, climate and environment research in Bavaria, with its DIAL-H2O and Raman-H2O/thermal LIDAR facilities for tropospheric and stratospheric profiles of water vapour and temperature.
  • Several mobile facilities equipped with remote sounding systems (SODAR, LIDAR, FTIR, DOAS) are available for determining atmospheric trace constituents and the wind field. Last, but not least, an ultra-light aircraft equipped with miniaturized instruments to measure environmentally relevant parameters is employed and has proved to be an excellent instrument for air quality measurements in air layers close to the ground.

These infrastructures are open to scientists from Germany, Europe, and world-wide.