Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory – CAO
The mission of the Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory (CAO) at Agia Marina Xyliatou is to provide high quality, long-term observations of key atmospheric pollutants relevant to air quality and climate change.
Located at a regional background site in Cyprus, the station is co-operated with the Department of Labour Inspection (DLI), which is in charge of the air quality network in Cyprus. The station is ideally located for documenting and contrasting long-range transported pollution from three continents (Europe, Africa, and West Asia), and dust aerosols from the two largest desert regions in the world (Sahara, Middle East). It offers on-site facilities and supportive infrastructure for research, development, and testing of technologies related to atmospheric measurements. It is equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation jointly operated with research teams from CNRS in France, within the framework of the French Chemistry-Aerosol Mediterranean Experiment (ChArMEx) program.
Access to the station by the international scientific community is possible on a merit-based priority scheme, that is made possible via EU funding. This facility is an active component of major international atmospheric networks, and is supported by the Horizon 2020 ACTRIS2 project, which is the European Research Infrastructure for the observation of Aerosol, Clouds and Trace Gases, and is currently on the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). CAO has also been accepted as a regional station in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Programme, and is the first GAW regional station in Cyprus, and the first ever, in providing the most comprehensive set of quality controlled long-term atmospheric observations in the Eastern Mediterranean – Middle East (EMME) region.
Under the auspices of EMME-CARE, the CAO will be relocated to Peyia, a remote coastal location of Cyprus (next to the Akamas Peninsula national park), where readings are likely to represent more accurately regional (EMME) air pollution and background concentrations of GHG.
The CAO at Peyia will become EMME-CARE’s flagship environmental station for climate change and air pollution research and will be based on the SMEAR concept. This facility will be designed to feed high quality regional data into many EU research infrastructures and international networks (e.g. EMEP, WMO, ACTRIS, ICOS, eLTER, AGAGE, BSRN) over the long term. It will also contribute to important international scientific initiatives such as the IPCC. It will provide physical access and high quality logistical support for international research teams and intensive field campaigns focusing on the EMME, thereby increasing its international profile. It will be equipped with guest accommodation and meeting rooms to enable it to be used as a training centre to help educate researchers from the EMME.
Consistent with the SMEAR observation system CAO’s observations will be structured within seven modules, (reflecting different atmospheric components) and will provide high quality long-term continuous observations: 1) Air quality (NOx, CO, SO2, O3). 2) GHG in-situ (CO2, CH4, N2O). 3) Contaminants (HCFC/CFC, radionuclides, mercury, persistent organic pollutants). 4) Reactive gases (e.g. VOCs) and aerosol properties (chemical, physical, optical). 5) Remote sensing (GHG, reactive gases, aerosols). 6) Ecosystem-atmosphere interactions (fluxes). 7) Solar radiation. 8) Air and soil meteorology.
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