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Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East – Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EMME-CARE (Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East – Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre)

Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2022-02-28

Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region have been identified as a global air pollution and climate change “hotspot”, and are facing adverse impacts ranging from extreme weather events to poor air quality. If no action is taken, harmful effects will intensify and could soon lead to intolerable environmental conditions, compromising human habitability and forcing mass migration in the region. “EMME-CARE” addresses these risks through the establishment of a regional Center of Excellence – the Climate & Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) at the Cyprus Institute (CyI) which is conducting a combination of research, innovation and education activities with a regional focus. In establishing CARE-C, the CyI joined forces with world-leading institutes: Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and the University of Helsinki, that are acting as its “Advanced Partners”. CARE-C capitalizes on the strategic location of Cyprus to link Europe and the EMME, acting as a knowledge hub for environmental and climate change research and fostering the creation of innovative solutions that can help address the challenges linked to the climate crisis.
To achieve this, the CoE’s international research teams of top scientists and technical experts initiate long-term environmental observations and computer-based modelling and predictions of the regional atmospheric environment and underlying climate change impacts. The data and knowledge created feeds into multi- and cross-disciplinary research addressing societal climate-driven challenges in the region related to public health, waning water resources, and economic sectors such as agriculture and energy. In turn, these will inform the creation of strategies and action plans specifically tailored to the needs of the EMME, thus building regional capacity, fostering sustainable development, and adapting with the speed required to minimize damaging effects of climate change, ultimately mitigating its causes and impacts.Beyond contributing to the broadening of knowledge within the academic community through research and the provision of post-graduate degree programmes, CARE-C also focuses on supporting public bodies in the definition and implementation of national action plans to mitigate air pollution and its effects on climate change. For example, through supporting the “EMME Climate Change Initiative” led by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, CARE-C cooperates with international networks of academics for coordinating actions in the region, to inform decision-making and instigate scientifically informed action at the policy level. The CoE also focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation with a view of identifying promising commercial research applications and creating environmental solutions that contribute to the sustainable economic growth of Cyprus in a highly competitive international environment.
First & Second Reporting Periods (09/2019–02/2022) accomplished associated Deliverables and Milestones. Major highlights include:
CENTER OF EXCELLENCE
- Successful recruitments of research/ technical staff and international talent (achieved year7 goal of 100 staff)
- c. 3.9M€ in competitive funds from international calls (H2020, ESA) and tenders (Copernicus, World Bank)
NATIONAL & REGIONAL DIMENSION
- Scientific/technical support to Cypriot Government for compliance to EU directives and International Agreements (e.g. UNFCCC)
- Collaborations with top regional research organizations (Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar)
- Scientific Coordination of Cyprus Climate Change Initiative, led by President of the Republic of Cyprus, with 13 Task-Forces of international experts
- Successful organization of 2nd International Conference Climate Change in the EMME on 13-14 October 2021, with EMME scientists, governments/policy-makers, international organizations and 600 participants
SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE
- >100 scientific publications since CoE establishment
- 8 Joint PhD with Advanced Partners & top European universities
- >2M€ investment in state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation for AirPollution and GHG measurements in Cyprus/EMME
- Development of competitive Atmospheric Monitoring Facilities providing merit-based TransNational Access in the framework of EU Research Infrastructure (e.g. ACTRIS)
- First ever column-integrated GHG observations in EMME, in collaboration with CEA (France), University of Bremen (Germany), and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (USA) to calibrate/validate the OCO-2 satellite that measures CO2 from space
- 2 new observation stations launched at CoE’s Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory
- Successful organization of 1st Workshop on Climate & Atmosphere R&I in the EMME (250 participants from 36 countries)
INNOVATION
- Industrial leader partnerships (France, Finland, Slovenia) on new generation of air quality/GHG sensors
- New technological developments: ultra-light/resistant UAV, UAV-balloon systems profiling entire troposphere (0-10km) for calibration/validation of ESA Aeolus Satellite and construction/validation of a reliable low-cost ‘dust’ sensor
- First-ever High spatial resolution Air Quality forecast model in Cyprus for better adaptation of EMME-regional air pollution and dust transport.
- Successful organization of 1st Workshop “Innovation in Atmospheric Sciences” with ACTRIS in May 2021
EMME-CARE Environmental Observations play a key role in international networks (WMO-GAW, NASA-AERONET, TCCON) that monitor the composition of the atmosphere and the perturbation of climate due to human activities. Our continuous atmospheric monitoring is the first-of-its-kind in the region and already provides essential information on major natural/anthropogenic sources contributing to warming regional climate and poor air quality in EMME cities. Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory performs the first continuous measurements of key climate-forcers in Cyprus (GHG, Reactive Gases, Aerosols) following Standard Operating Procedures of EU RIs (ACTRIS, ICOS). The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory is the only accredited Laboratory in Cyprus to provide high quality (ultra-trace) chemical analyses of Air Pollution in compliance with EU Air Quality directives. The Instrumentation Laboratory exploits recent advances in Nanotechnology and is building low-cost miniature sensors. The Unmanned System Research Laboratory operates a large fleet of drones used in several programs funded by ESA to calibrate/validate satellite (dust) products and support public/private customers in drone-based environmental monitoring. EMME-CARE Environmental Predictions use a new generation of Atmospheric transport models, space and ground-based observations, and atmospheric inversion models to simulate meteorological conditions, atmospheric concentrations, quantify emissions and assess multi-year trends of Air Pollutants and GHG in the EMME. These model developments have enabled EMME-CARE to continuously support the Cypriot Government and to be in capacity to support many EMME governments for monitoring/reporting/verification of national air pollutants and GHG emissions in compliance with international agreements (UNFCCC). They launched the first Air Quality Forecasting Model for Cyprus and extended it to EMME, and put EMME-CARE at the forefront of regional climate projections (MENA-CORDEX) with very high spatial resolution for better mitigation/adaptation.
EMME-CARE logo
EMME-CARE Co-organizer of 1st Innovation in Atmospheric Sciences Workshop as part of EU Green Week
Inauguration of new Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory station in Troodos
EMME-CARE Environmental Data Webpage
EMME-CARE's Growing Regional Partner Network
Images from EMME-CARE Research Infrastructure
1st Annual Workshop on Climate and Atmosphere R&I in the EMME by EMME-CARE
Keynote Speakers at the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change in the EMME
Figure from EMME-CARE Scientific publication in npj climate and atmospheric sciences