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A european aerosol research lidar network to establish an aerosol climatology

Objective

Problems to be solved
Aerosols affect life on earth in several ways. They play an important role in the climate system; the effect of aerosols on the global climate system is one of the major uncertainties of present climate predictions. They play a major role in atmospheric chemistry and hence affect the concentrations of other potentially harmful atmospheric constituents, e.g. ozone. They are an important controlling factor for the radiation budget, in particular in the UV-B part of the spectrum. At ground level, they can be harmful, even toxic, to man, animals, and plants. Because of these adverse effects that aerosols can have on human life, it is necessary to achieve an advanced understanding of the processes that generate, redistribute, and remove aerosols in the atmosphere. A quantitative dataset describing the aerosol vertical, horizontal, and temporal distribution, including its variability on a continental scale, is necessary. Such a dataset could be used to validate and improve models that predict the future state of the atmosphere and its dependence on different scenarios describing economic development, including those actions taken to preserve the quality of the environment. No suitable data set for this purpose presently exists.
Scientific objectives and approach
EARLINET will establish a quantitative comprehensive statistical database of the horizontal, vertical, and temporal distribution of aerosols on a continental scale. The goal is to provide aerosol data with unbiased sampling, for important selected processes, and air-mass history, together with comprehensive analyses of these data. The objectives will be reached by implementing a network of 21 stations distributed over most of Europe, using advanced quantitative laser remote sensing to directly measure the vertical distribution of aerosols, supported by a suite of more conventional observations. Special care will be taken to assure data quality, including intercomparisons at instrument and evaluation levels. A major part of the measurements will be performed according to a fixed schedule to provide an unbiased statistically significant data set. Additional measurements will be performed to specifically address important processes that are localised either in space or time. Back-trajectories derived from operational weather prediction models will be used to characterise the history of the observed air parcels, accounting explicitly for the vertical distribution.
Expected impacts
EARLINET will make a major contribution to the quantification of anthropogenic and biogenic emissions and concentrations of aerosol, quantification of their budgets, radiative properties and prediction of future trends. It will also further the understanding of physical and chemical processes related to these species, their long-range transport and deposition, and the interaction of aerosols with clouds. The project will also make an important contribution to the improved model treatment of physical and biospheric processes, in particular clouds and aerosols. The data to be collected will be used to improve the quality of a number of satellite retrieval systems that are affected by the presence of aerosols, and will provide the necessary basis for future satellite missions that employ laser remote sensing. EARLINET will provide information about transboundary transport of aerosols that can also be used as a tracer for other substances in the planning of pollution abatements strategies. Co-operation within the network will lead to a very efficient transfer of know-how in two important areas: advanced remote sensing using high-tech instruments, and the application of these techniques to address complex environmental problems. It will be a very effective training area for young scientists, both from well-developed and less-developed countries, providing equal opportunities to use the common data.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

MAX-PLANCK-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTEN E.V.
Address
Bundesstra¯e 55
20146 Hamburg
Germany

Participants (18)

ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY OF THESSALONIKI
Greece
Address
Aristotle University Of Thessaloniki
54006 Thessalonki
B.I. STEPANOV INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS - NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF BELARUS
Belarus
Address
Scarina Av. 68
220072 Minsk
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
Address
Ecole Polytechnique
91128 Palaiseau
ECOLE NORMALE SUPERIEURE
France
Address
Rue Lhomond 24
75231 Paris
INSTITUT FUER ATMOSPHAERENPHYSIK AN DER UNIVERSITAET ROSTOCK
Germany
Address
Schloß-strasse 4-6
18225 Koehlungsborn
INSTITUTE FOR TROPOSPHERIC RESEARCH
Germany
Address
Permoserstrasse 15
04303 Leipzig
INSTITUTE OF ELECTRONICS - BULGARIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Bulgaria
Address
Boulevard Tsarigradsko Shosse 72
1784 Sofia
INSTITUTE OF GEOPHYSICS - POLISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Poland
Address
Os. Pan
05-622 Belsk Duzy
INSTITUTO SUPERIOR TECNICO
Portugal
Address
1,Avenida Rovisco Pais 1
1049-001 Lisboa
ITALIAN INSTITUTE FOR THE PHYSICS OF MATTER
Italy
Address
Corso Perrone 24
16152 Genova
NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS
Greece
Address
9,Heroon Polytechniou 9
15780 Athens
NOVA GORICA POLYTECHNIC
Slovenia
Address
Vipavska, 13
5001 Nova Gorica
OBSERVATOIRE CANTONAL DE NEUCHATEL
Switzerland
Address
58,Rue De L'observatoire 58
2000 Neuchatel
SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY LAUSANNE
Switzerland
Address
Enac-lpas
1015 Lausanne
UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE CATALUNYA
Spain
Address
Jordi Girona 31
Barcelona
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF WALES ABERYSTWYTH
United Kingdom
Address
Penglais Campus, Cerediglon
SY23 3BZ Aberystwyth
UNIVERSITY OF POTSDAM
Germany
Address
Am Neuen Palais 10
14415 Potsdam
UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI - L'AQUILA
Italy
Address
Via Vetoio 10, Coppito
67010 Assergi