Cloud Suction in the Name of Science

KNF diaphragm gas pumps high above the rainforest

The Amazon rainforest around Manaus is one of the rare pockets of nature that are still largely untouched. The atmosphere there exhibits particular properties which provide researchers with groundbreaking insights, thus allowing for improved climate models. With pumps manufactured by KNF, measuring instruments can take air samples at dizzying heights.

Located 150 kilometers north of Manaus, the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) is 325 meters high and quite literally towers over the dense canopy of the Amazon rainforest, visible even from great distances. Its launch in 2015 represented a milestone in the development of environmental protection regulations and global climate goals. Thanks to ATTO, the very first climate monitoring has been possible at different heights within this still largely untouched area of the atmosphere.


At the heart of the steel research facility is a measuring station with a KNF diaphragm gas pump. An aethalometer manufactured by the Slovenian company Aerosol d.o.o. measures carbon fluxes and aerosols, providing insights into chemical and physical processes occurring above the Amazon region which have an impact on the climate. The instrument, sold under the brand name Magee Scientific, is fitted with a diaphragm gas pump from KNF’s N 86 series. The pump is used to transfer a pre-defined volume of ambient air to the instrument’s analytics unit. Valuable data have been collected at these lofty heights thanks to the KNF pump and have already been used in a number of scientific studies.


KNF drew on the flexibility of its modular system and production engineering to ensure its pump was suitable for the measuring instrument. All relevant parameters were tailored to meet the customer’s needs, and installing the pump in the measuring instruments was made quick and easy thanks to specially adapted plugs and sockets. Because the location is so difficult to access, the researchers on-site — from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and from the Federal University of Minas Gerais — rely on the stamina and long-lasting, maintenance-free performance of the N 86. The measurements collected on ATTO provide a seamless flow of data on the greenhouse gas balance and the complex interactions between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere.

KNF diaphragm gas pumps provide reliable service for the benefit of science.
KNF diaphragm gas pumps provide reliable service for the benefit of science.