The development of CARIBIC was funded by the European Commission and the German Ministry of Science.
CARIBIC has become part of IAGOS (www.IAGOS.org) which is the European Infrastructure for using passenger aircrafts for global atmospheric observations.
IAGOS is finacially supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research.
What is IAGOS CARIBIC ?
CARIBIC is aircraft based scientific project. The project name is an acronym for 'Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the Atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container'.
Before take-off a modified air freight container filled with scientific equipment is loaded into the cargo compartment of a passenger aircraft. The container is connected to the outside air through a system of tubes, ending with an air and particle (aerosol) inlet underneath the aircraft. Instead of suitcases the CARIBIC container is equiped with 19 state of the art scientific instruments (Status: July 2017). While passengers enjoy their flight, all the equipment automatically and quietly carries out thousands of measurements.
The idea to use passenger aircraft for making atmospheric observations is very attractive, and it works!
Why using a passenger aircraft ?
Special scientific research aircrafts are very expensive! For each flight-hour it is up to 10 times more expensive than in IAGOS CARIBIC. An other way for the investigation of the atmosphere is to use satellites. But, measurements from a satellite in space cannot be sufficiently detailed and accurate. Satellite data give us the broad picture, but lack detail. However there are important roles for research aircraft and satellites, too.
Passenger aircrafts do fly regularly, almost all over the world and partly large distances. So, why not doing measurements at the same time? Indeed, the logic of using passenger aircrafts is compelling.
What do we measure with IAGOS CARIBIC ?
The CARIBIC container includes equipment for in situ measurements of ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, methane, water vapour, water isotopes, aceton and acetonitril, mercury, bio aerosols, dust particles and many more..
The CARIBIC container includes a system for collecting more than 100 air samples. These air samples are analyzed in the laboratory after every flight series. For each sample we measure more than 40 gases. Including the ozone killers (CFC's), and all greenhouse gases.