In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System

In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) is a European Research Infrastructure for global observations of atmospheric composition from commercial aircraft. IAGOS combines the expertise of scientific institutions with the infrastructure of civil aviation in order to provide essential data on climate change and air quality at a global scale. In order to provide optimal information, two complementary systems have been implemented, (i) IAGOS-CORE providing global coverage on a day-to-day basis of key observables and (ii) IAGOS-CARIBIC providing a more in-depth and complex set of observations with lesser geographical and temporal coverage.

Why? – The science

Global climate change represents arguably the most serious environmental issue facing mankind today, with implications for global political stability and the global economy. Reliable predictions of the future climate using climate models are central and fundamental requirements for determining future mitigation strategies. The use of commercial aircraft allows the collection of highly relevant observations on a scale and in numbers impossible to achieve using research aircraft, and where other measurement methods (e.g., satellites) have technical limitations.

For whom? – The users

IAGOS provides a data base for users in science and policy, including near realtime data provision for weather prediction and air quality forecasting. IAGOS data are being used by researchers world-wide for process studies, trend analysis, validation of climate and air quality models, and the validation of space borne data retrievals.

Who? – The consortium

IAGOS is organized as an International not for profit Association (IAGOS-AISBL) with its seat in Brussels. Members of the Association are leading research organizations, universities and weather services from Germany, France and the U.K.

IAGOS builds on the scientific and technological experience gained within the research projects MOZAIC (Measurement of Ozone and Water Vapour on Airbus in-service Aircraft), which was funded by the EC between 1993 and 2004 under FP 4 and FP 5, and CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the Atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container).