The main scientific objective studied at the IAP is the middle atmosphere in the altitude range 10-100km with particular emphasis on the dynamical coupling between the lower and middle atmosphere. The upper part of the middle atmosphere, say between 70 and 100 km, is one of the least understood region of our atmosphere. The scientific interest in this region has steadily increased in the last years since there is more and more evidence that this region could be specially sensitive to global change. Modern active remote sensing techniques, in particular radars and lidars, are now capable of revealing new and unprecedented experimental information about the physical processes in the middle atmosphere and their long term trend.
The main scientific objectives studied at the IAP are as follows (the labels Exp and Mod indicate that this particular field is studied by experimental and model techniques, respectively)
- The polar middle atmosphere including noctilucent clouds, NLC, and polar mesosphere summer echoes, PMSE (Exp, Mod)
- The atmosphere at the mesopause (Exp, Mod)
- Metal atom layers at altitudes from 80 to 110 km (Exp, Mod)
- Tides and gravity waves in the middle atmosphere (Exp, Mod)
- Low frequency variability of the dynamical coupling between the troposphere and stratosphere (Mod)
- Physics of the meridional circulation (Mod)
- Processes at the tropopause, mixing of trace gases (Exp, Mod)
- Trends in the middle atmosphere (Exp, Mod)
Furthermore, some scientists at the IAP are working in specific areas not listed above, for example the technological improvement of the experimental techniques. Every 2 years the scientific results are published in a report the latest version of which can be found under annual report.
The institute consists of 3 departments: