The Leipzig Aerosol Cloud Interaction Simulator facility hosts a “cloud simulator”, a huge tower with all the instruments to generate and analyse the clouds it creates.
Computer software used for weather forecasting or climate investigation do not reproduce accurately the behaviour of clouds. The clouds simulator has thus been designed to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms controlling aerosol and cloud interactions.
Thermodynamic parameters such as temperature, pressure, relative humidity, critical super-saturation, composition and concentrations of particles/droplets and of chemical composition of the carrier gas can be varied in ranges similar to the atmosphere.
“It’s only inside this laboratory that we can generate the same cloud as often as we need and simulate it with or without human intervention. It’s the only place where we can separate the physics influences from the chemical ones or from any other influence,” explained Jost Heintzenberg, at the Institute for Tropospheric Research.