Virtual Alpine Observatory

The Virtual Alpine Observatory (VAO) is a consolidation of the Environmental Research Station Schneefernerhaus (UFS) and three other alpine high altitude research observatories (Switzerland: Jungfraujoch, Austria: Sonnlick, Italy: Bozen) for an enhanced climate and environmental monitoring in Europe. The Bavarian state government funded the required infrastructure of the UFS (VAO I) and additionally several research projects (VAO II).

VAO I: Pollen flight in the Alps

Pollen traps are installed to register the atmospheric pollen load at the three sites UFS, DWD Zugspitze and KIT Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The project focuses on the analyses of long-range transport and meteorological conditions which imply medically relevant pollen concentrations. Personal pollen samples are used to measure the amount of pollen along an altitudinal gradient.

VAO II: Atmospheric variability and trends

Within the main topic „Atmospheric variability and trends“ changes in seasonal cycles and extremes in atmosphere and biosphere are analysed. The research inter alia includes the examination of CO2 and H2O isotope signatures and remote sensing data.

To observe – to understand – to predict

Germany’s highest mountain is most appropriate for studying the interactions between atmosphere and biosphere in the free troposphere. The cross-linkage of information technologies aims to exchange data and information more efficiently and to bring expert knowledge together. In keeping with the motto: The whole is more than the sum of its parts.


Contact persons:

Christian Schunk
Dr. Susanne Jochner
Homa Ghasemifard
Gourav Misra
Prof. Dr. Annette Menzel


2013 - 2016