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Integration of European Simulation Chambers for Investigating Atmospheric Processes – Towards 2020 and beyond

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EUROCHAMP-2020 (Integration of European Simulation Chambers for Investigating Atmospheric Processes – Towards 2020 and beyond)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-11-30

Predicting the behavior of the atmosphere over all time scales (hours to decades) is not only a very exciting scientific challenge, it also brings great benefits to the European society and economy. Examples include short-term public warnings of hazardous air quality and the long-term evaluation of climate change and consequent policy effectiveness. Atmospheric predictions use complex models that are underpinned by observations and a sound understanding of the underlying processes and interactions between atmospheric components and the environment. Atmospheric simulation chambers are among the most advanced tools for studying and quantifying atmospheric processes and are used to provide many of the parameters incorporated in air quality and climate models.
Without chamber-derived parameters to constrain predictive models, any forecasts of the atmosphere are highly unreliable, both in the short- and long-term. EUROCHAMP-2020 is aiming to play a central role in enabling European researchers to tackle these grand challenges by providing a sustainable, integrated, distributed infrastructure of atmospheric simulation chambers to support detailed studies of the atmospheric processes that govern both air quality and climate, as well as their impacts on the environment and society.
The overall goal of EUROCHAMP-2020 is to enhance the capabilities of these infrastructures, further integrate the simulation chamber community and expand the user base to support new researchers from academia and industry. EUROCHAMP-2020 aims at significantly enhancing the capacity of exploring atmospheric processes and ensuring that Europe retains its place as the world leader in atmospheric simulation chamber research activities.
To achieve a higher level of integration, a better characterization of the chambers has continuously been performed, following common protocols and is leading the way toward the interoperability of the various platforms. Information such as auxiliary mechanisms, irradiation spectra, etc, is now available for most of the chambers. Since the beginning of the project improvements were made to bring all the partners to the best level of traceability of their chamber characterization; an important prerequisite for the wider use their data.
Chamber capabilities have been considerably expanded: many were improved and several partners developed techniques to enhance the analytical capabilities of chambers. In addition, algorithms and models were developed to benefit from chamber experiments. New protocols and new devices were developed. They allow to apply chamber methodologies to the study e.g. health impacts of air pollution, its effects on cultural heritage or on the atmospheric survival rate of bioaerosols. Some of these protocols gained such a high level of maturity that they can be proposed to users through TNA (eg. bioaerosol or mineral dust experiments) or that they give birth to new EU research project (eg. impact of pollution on health).
In addition, the ability to study climate change drivers and to provide climate modelers with essential physic-chemical parameters using simulation chambers has also been enhanced. A number of chambers have updated their capabilities towards a better quantification of aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interactions and new protocols have been developed, aiming at handling climatically important aerosol such as mineral dust, combustion emission and soot. Since the beginning of the project, these development have led to numerous cross-community service such as TNA provision for the benefit of oceanic research, cryosphere community, remote sensing…
Physical access to these atmospheric simulation infrastructures is a key service provided to users. During RP2, 633,5 access days to chambers were provided to users, as well as 147 access days of calibration and training to the calibration centres. In addition, a new facility (ChAMBRe) dedicated to bio-aero-contamination studies became fully operation during RP2, and was added to the TNA programme. EUROCHAMP-2020 is hence now hosting the first simulation chamber fully dedicated to bioaerosol properties and bio-aero-contamination in the world.
The EUROCHAMP Data Centre, which had been totally rebuilt and redesigned during RP1, has further evolved during this second period. The most important work performed during these last 18 months is the development of a new third pillar: the Library of Advanced Data Products (LADP). This database provides free and open access to high level products which are obtained by processing of data from simulation chambers experiments available in the DASCS. These data products are widely used for chemical modelling, radiative transfer calculation, remote sensing (including satellites inversion) and measurements in real atmosphere.
EUROCHAMP-2020 has created an Innovation Platform to guide new users from both SMEs and industry within the diversity of our chambers in order to assist them in designing efficient strategy. This has led to a clear improvement of our connection with the private sector, and in particular with European SMEs, with whom partners could collaborate, realizing 4 fruitful TNA projects and several other national collaborations.
The project developed a strategy for long-term sustainability through its embedding into ESFRI roadmap: To follow up on the common work within ACTRIS-PPP, during RP2, the EUROCHAMP community is engaged to continue work by participating in the ACTRIS-IMP project.
By the end of the project, it is expected that the ensemble of diverse chambers that constitute the EUROCHAMP infrastructure will be highly characterized and that the results of these characterizations will be distributed together with high quality datasets distributed by our totally renewed data centre, for the greater benefit of the whole community (modelers, experimental atmospheric chemists..).
A collection of innovative protocols as well as high technology techniques will have been developed to allow the use of the simulation chamber approach to investigate processes of interest for emerging new environmental issues, such as health impact of air pollution.
New protocols will be formally established and distributed to the community outside EUROCHAMP. As a key tool towards harmonization and interoperability, the EUROCHAMP-2020 consortium will have published and disseminated a manual for the characterization and application of atmospheric simulation chambers, defining the content and priorities for robust experimental protocols. It is expected that this “Handbook of atmospheric simulation” as the first of its kind will have a large impact on the communities as a reference book for the harmonization of procedure and know-how transfer but also as a key tools for training the young generation of scientist.
The visibility of our infrastructure will be well established for the greater benefit of numerous external users. This includes the private sector as a potential market in Europe to improve air pollution monitoring, deploying remediation technology and to deploy innovative instrumentation. Finally, at the end of the project, the EUROCHAMP will be embedded in the ACTRIS-ERIC, securing the sustainability of the infrastructure. It will allow to offer users the physical access to our facilities and to data set completing the long-term monitoring stations.
Inside the ESC-Q-UAIC (UAIC) simulation chamber, Romania
HELIOS (France) simulation chamber
EUPHORE (CEAM) open air double chamber, in Paterna, Spain
Ensemble of the EUROCHAMP infrastructure: the chambers of all member partners of the project
Official logo of the project