Selecting Lufthansa Airlines for your next flight should give your eco-conciousness a boost with the news that the carrier is quietly contributing to the scientific study of climate change by collecting atmospheric trace substances miles up in the air during its commercial flights.

If you’re flying long-haul on their specially adapted Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 ‘Viersen’ aircraft, you are inadvertently part of the project as data is collected and collated for climate research and numerical weather forecasting. The samples are immediately analysed after each landing.

And why use commercial flights and not send dedicated scientific aircraft to undertake these studies?  Apparently the study needs continuity ”“ and what could be more regular than airline schedules. It’s also about height.  The atmosphere has six layers, with most commercial flights remaining between the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere – the tropopause layer in between is of most significant scientific interest.

The carrier also credits their global network for their ability to provide climate researchers with ‘an ideal test platform’.

Given the havoc climate change is cited as responsible for this year: a heatwave in the States and the ’European monsoon’, anything that helps make sense of it all deserves some recognition.

Lufthansa are no strangers to approaching their business with an eco-friendly attitude. For six months in 2011 daily flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt on the A321 were run on bio-fuel made of 50 percent hydrotreated vegetable oil. Etihad Airways similarly flew from Seattle to Abu Dhabi on the same blend of fuel and KLM operated 200 biofuel flights last year. Cathay Pacific also recently announced their intent to research alternative biofuels in the immediate future.

The German carrier however appears to be leading the eco-airline way, winning the inaugural 2012 Air Transport World’s Eco-Aviation Awards. Key to reducing an airline’s carbon footprint appears to lay across the operational board with the airline stating that its investment in fleet modernisation is the answer to the world’s growing pollution issues.

When next you’re searching Wego and considering Lufthansa as your carrier, perhaps you might want to keep an eye out for the Airbus A340-300 ‘Viersen’ and give science and mother nature a little helping hand.