Although the MPI-M is principally a modeling center, progress toward our vision requires that we better integrate observational data into our model development and evaluation. The point of reference will be the global record, of which the institute maintains an extensive suite of records.  However to be at the cutting edge of the use of such data streams the institute maintains working groups focused on observations and observational techniques, particularly space-based remote sensing.   In situ measurements are facilitated by long-term measurements at strategically developed observatories, such as Barbados, and local observations developed using the MPI-M mobile measurement toolkit (M4T). M4T includes the MPI-M’s share of HALO, the new High-Altitude, LOng-range research aircraft; the Hamburg Microwave Package of radar and radiometers that can be deployed both on HALO and on the surface; but also existing instrumentation such as lidars and in situ sensors.


Since 2010 the MPI-M has maintained a continuously operating cloud observatory on the windward side of Barbados.  The observatory is designed to help answers related to the distribution and variability of clouds in the tradewinds, but also provides opportunities to study aerosol-radiation interactions, and aerosol-cloud interactions; continuous measurements of mineral dust transported across the Atlantic, from Africa, have been made at the site of the Cloud Observatory since the 1960s.  At the observatory the MPI maintains an scanning cloud radar, advanced DIAL and RAMAN lidars, a rain radar, ceilometer, a cloud camera, and in cooperation with other institutes passive microwave radiometers and radiation measurements augment the permanent instrumentation.  More information about the Barbados Cloud Observatory is available on the BCO home page, and on the Barbados Blog.

Ocean Carbon Cycle

The Observations, Analysis and Synthesis (OAS) group led by Peter Landschützer combines, extrapolates and interprets various observations of the Earth System from satellite data through shipboard data and data from autonomous sampling devices. The aim is to improve our understanding of the physical and biogeochemical processes driving the uptake of carbon and heat in the global ocean and their impact on climate-relevant timescales. The group uses a wide variety of tools from classical statistical analysis through data mining and artificial neural networks to synergize all available in-situ information and provide new constraints to evaluate Earth System Models and improve future projections and short-term predictions. While one focus is on the global ocean, the group further sets focus on ocean regions, such as the Southern Ocean, the Arctic Ocean and the coastal ocean, where data are sparse and novel techniques are required to meaningfully interpret the available observations. Besides the statistical analysis of existing observations, the group is further active in laboratory experiments and field measurements. Likewise, the group actively uses model output as a self-consistent testbed to improve the methods used and provide valuable information where future measurement campaigns are needed.

Data sets

Several datasets are available at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. These datasets comprise both observed and model generated data. Many observational data can be found on the ICDC page and locally in in the directory /pool/SEP.

Further datasets are also available at:


Atmosphere in the Earth System - Field Studies