EGU21-6470, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

High-resolution air-quality observations onboard commercial Zeppelin flights in Germany 

Ralf Tillmann1, Franz Rohrer1, Georgios I. Gkatzelis1, Benjamin Winter1, Christian Wesolek1, Tobias Schuldt1, Morten Hundt2, Oleg Aseev2, and Astrid Kiendler-Scharr1
Ralf Tillmann et al.
  • 1Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-8: Troposphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich, Germany
  • 2MIRO Analytical AG, Wallisellen, 8304, Switzerland

A Zeppelin NT airship has been used as a platform for in-situ measurement of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in the planetary boundary layer (PBL). The Zeppelin especially with its long flight endurance, low air speed and potential high payload fills a gap between stationary ground based and remote sensing measurements, payload limited UAV based air monitoring, long range-high-altitude aircraft, and satellite observations. Its flight properties render unique applications for the observation of PBL dynamics and air quality monitoring. Highly resolved spatial and temporal trace gas measurements provide input required for modelling of air pollution and validation of emission inventories.

The core instrument deployed was a novel Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) based multi-compound gas analyzer (MIRO Analytical AG) to measure in-situ concentrations of 10 greenhouse gases and air pollutants simultaneously. The analyzer measured CO2, N2O, H2O and CH4, and the pollutants CO, NO, NO2, O3, SO2 and NH3 with high precision and a measurement rate of 1 Hz. The instrument was operated remotely without the need of on-site personnel. The instrument package was complemented by electrochemical sensors for NO, NO2, Ox and CO (alphasense), an optical particle counter (alphasense), temperature, humidity, altitude and position monitoring. Three campaigns of two weeks each were conducted in 2020 comprising unattended operation during commercial passenger flights.

The acquired data set will be discussed in regard to (1) diurnal height profiles of trace gases such as NO2, (2) a detailed source attribution by fingerprinting, and (3) a comparison to observations from ground-based monitoring stations. The results demonstrate the QCL spectrometer as an all-in-one solution for air-borne trace gas monitoring. By measuring 10 compounds at once it helps to greatly reduce payload, space requirements and power consumption.

How to cite: Tillmann, R., Rohrer, F., Gkatzelis, G. I., Winter, B., Wesolek, C., Schuldt, T., Hundt, M., Aseev, O., and Kiendler-Scharr, A.: High-resolution air-quality observations onboard commercial Zeppelin flights in Germany , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6470,, 2021.

Corresponding presentation materials formerly uploaded have been withdrawn.