The science topics of IAP and their involvement in the national and international community are described in the science framework program. The main scientific objectives studied at the IAP is the middle atmosphere in the altitude range 10-120km with particular emphasis on the dynamical coupling between the lower and middle atmosphere. The upper part of the middle atmosphere, is one of the least understood regions 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:
- exploration of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere
- general aspects regarding energy and momentum budget
- thermal and dynamical structure
- layers, such as noctilucent clouds (NLC), polar mesosphere summer and winter echoes (PMSE, PMWE)
- coupling between atmospheric layers
- dynamical coupling of the tropo-, strato-, and mesosphere, for example by waves
- transport of trace constituents etc.
- long-term changes in the middle atmosphere
- trends and solar influence
These areas are investigated in the three departments both by experimental and theoretical methods. Furthermore, some scientists at the IAP work on specific topics not listed above, for example on metal atom layers in the mesopause region, or on the technological improvement of experimental techniques (lidars, radars). Every two years the scientific results are published in a report, the latest version of which can be found under annual report.