Last change of this page: 01 Jun 2018  

Deployment base.. Time period.. Description.. Principal investigators.. Partners.. Instruments.. Flights.. More information.. Press, media, photo gallery .. FX contact point ..

Mission acronym, title and status


"Carbon Dioxide and Methane Mission"


Mission status:     Campaign is ongoing.  


HALO deployment base

  • Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
    (Airport ICAO code: EDMO)


Time period

April 17 - June 18, 2018


Different campaign phases:

Mission phase Dates HALO in ..
Preparation, payload integration, EMI testing 17.04.2018-09.05.2018 Oberpfaffenhofen
Mission 14.05.2018-12.06.2018 Oberpfaffenhofen
Dismounting of payload 13.06.2018-18.06.2018 Oberpfaffenhofen


Project description

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) have been recognized by the International Panel of Climate Change as the most important of the Earth's greenhouse gases whose concentration has been directly modified by human activities.

Methane has an estimated global warming potential per molecule 28 times greater than CO2 over a 100 year horizon and 84 times greater over a 20 years horizon and, despite its much lower abundance, thus is the second most significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas. The main anthropogenic emissions of methane originate from livestock breeding, the energy sector, rice agriculture, landfills/waste disposal, and biomass burning. The predominant natural sources are wetlands, geological sources, termites, wild animals, hydrates from the oceans and wildfires.

The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is mainly determined by the emissions from combustion of fossil fuels and by CO2 uptake and release by the Earth's oceans and terrestrial biosphere. Currently 91% of the total emissions are caused by fossil fuel combustion and cement production and 9% by land use change.

Large uncertainties in their budget, however, and feedback mechanisms which are, if at all, only partly understood, limit the accuracy of climate change projections. In order to reliably predict the climate of our planet, and to help constrain political conventions on greenhouse gas avoidance, adequate knowledge of the sources and sinks of these greenhouse gases and their feedbacks is mandatory. In spite of the recognized importance of this issue, our current understanding about sources and sinks of the gases CO2 and CH4 is still inadequate.

The overarching objective of CoMet is to improve our understanding and to better quantify the carbon dioxide and methane cycles. Through analyzing the CoMet data, scientists will accumulate new knowledge on the global distribution and temporal variation of the greenhouse gases. These findings will help to better understand the global carbon cycle and its influence on climate. These new findings will be utilized for predicting future climate change and assessing its impact.

The measurement strategies will be chosen to provide the best possible synergy of the instruments. In general, the remote sensors will measure the GHG columns between the ground and flight level. The flight paths will be chosen to fly along projected gradients of the greenhouse gas columns.

On smaller scales such gradients will occur in the vicinity of well-known emission sources such as coal mines, coal-burning power plants, landfills, volcanoes (e.g. Mt. Etna) etc. The flight pattern will be chosen to fly downwind of these emission sources.

On larger scales the hemispheric gradient should be perceivable for example on flights from central Europe towards the sub-tropics. This is the region on Earth where the gradients are largest.


Principal investigators

Principal investigator

  • Andreas Fix, DLR, Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen



  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre (DLR-IPA)
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie, Jena
  • Institut für Umweltphysik, Universität Bremen
  • Institut für Umweltphysik, Universität Heidelberg
  • Menlo Systems GmbH
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Einrichtung für Flugexperimente (FX)


Scientific instruments and payload configuration

List of scientific instruments for the mission:

Scientific instrument acronym Description Principal investigator Institution Remarks
CHARM-F Active remote sensing (lidar technique) for CH4, CO2 Axel Amediek DLR Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen  
HALO_JIG Cavity-ring-down spectroscopy Christoph Gerbig MPI-Biogeochemie Jena  
HALO_JAS Collection of Atmospheric Samples Christoph Gerbig MPI-Biogeochemie Jena  
FOKAL SmartComb: Compact optical frequency comb Andreas Fix DLR Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen provided by Menlo Systems GmbH
miniDOAS Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy Klaus Pfeilsticker Univ. Heidelberg  
BAHAMAS incl. SHARC HALO basic data acquisition system incl. humidity measurement Andreas Giez DLR Flugexperimente, Oberpfaffenhofen  


Cabin and exterior configuration of HALO for the mission

HALO cabin layout for CoMet


HALO exterior configuration for CoMet


HALO flights for this mission

Flight list below is not yet complete. The mission is still ongoing.

Date Takeoff time (UT) Landing time (UT) Total flight time
FromToTypeMission flight #Comment
D-ADLR15.05.201807:50:0014:23:006.55EDMOEDMOMission flight1CoMet
D-ADLR19.05.201809:30:0016:28:006.97EDMOEDMOMission flight2CoMet
D-ADLR23.05.201806:29:0011:33:005.07EDMOEDMOMission flight3CoMet
D-ADLR24.05.201806:26:0014:07:007.68EDMOEDMOMission flight4CoMet
D-ADLR28.05.201805:11:0013:54:008.72EDMOEDMOMission flight5CoMet
D-ADLR29.05.201806:50:0013:35:006.75EDMOEDMOMission flight6CoMet


More information

Scientific background and links to more information


Press releases, media etc.

DLR news, 1-June-2018
European-wide research flights focus on greenhouse gas methane:   Effective monitoring of greenhouse gases is required to achieve ambitious targets for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases must be understood as precisely as possible to produce reliable climate forecasts. From mid-May to mid-June 2018, a flight test campaign led by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is contributing to this international effort. The High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO) is concentrating on the two most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Weiterlesen.. (auf deutsch) | Read more.. (in english)

DLR news, 2-Dec-2016
Dem Treibhausgas Methan auf der Spur: Flugversuchsmission wird geplant.   Die internationale Politik hat sich in der Klimavereinbarung von Paris ehrgeizige Ziele zur Begrenzung der Treibhausgasemissionen gesteckt. Eine entscheidende Rolle wird dabei das Monitoring der Emissionen spielen. Zudem müssen für zuverlässige Klimaprognosen die Quellen und Senken der Treibhausgase möglichst genau erforscht werden. Den internationalen Bemühungen in diesem Bereich wird im Frühjahr 2017 eine deutsche Flugversuchsmission unter Leitung des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) einen wichtigen Baustein hinzufügen. Das Forschungsflugzeug HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft) soll die zwei wichtigsten Klimagase CO2 und Methan ins Visier seiner neuartigen Instrumente nehmen und dabei Daten von Europa bis Nordafrika liefern, an denen derzeit noch ein eklatanter Mangel herrscht. Weiterlesen.. (auf deutsch) | Read more.. (in english)


Contact point at FX for this mission

HALO Project Management: Andreas Minikin, Armin Kurz

Postal address:
DLR Oberpfaffenhofen
Flugexperimente (FX)
Münchener Str. 20
82234 Weßling

Office phone:
+49 (0)8153 28-2538