TNA7: Access to MHD

WP Leaders: Colin O'Dowd


Name of the infrastructure: Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station (MHD)
Location (town, country): Carna, Co. Galway, Ireland
Web site address:
Legal name of organisation operating the infrastructure: National University of Ireland, Galway
Location of organisation (town, country): Galway, Ireland
Annual operating costs (excl. investment costs) of the infrastructure (€): 342.269

Description of the infrastructure:
Mace Head is located on the west coast of Ireland (53° 20’ N, 9° 54’ W) and at the edge of the North East Atlantic. It is uniquely located to sample the cleanest marine or background marine air entering into Europe and also, to sample European pollution outflow into the North Atlantic. It is a global WMO GAW station and an EMEP supersite. In addition, it forms part of the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gas Experiment (AGAGE).

Measurements started in the 1950’s on and off and have been running continuously now for more than 20 years. Continuous measurements for gases include CO2, O3, CFCs, HCFCs, and NOx. New measurements of OH, sulphuric acid and MSA are scheduled to start in early 2010. Continuous measurements of aerosol properties include total particle concentrations (d> 3nm, d>10 nm), size resolved aerosol distributions (3nm < D < 500 nm), cloud condensation nuclei, H-TDMA, aerosol scattering, aerosol absorption, aerosol optical depth, aerosol backscatter profiles, and aerosol mass spectrometry.

Continuous measurements of meteorological and cloud properties are made using a microwave profiler, a ceilometer and a 36GHz Doppler cloud radar. The latter installation follows the CLOUDNET specification for ground based remote sensing of cloud properties. The microwave profiler provides temperature and absolute humidity profiles up to 15 km, with enhanced resolution in the boundary layer. The ceilometers, in addition to cloud base and layer identification up to 15 km, provides aerosol backscatter profiles and boundary layer structure. Micro-meteorological fluxes, aerosol fluxes, CO2 fluxes and O3 fluxes are conducted from the 22 m tower. The station is further extended by the deployment of a Marine Institute ocean chemistry and meteorological buoy located 2 km upwind of the shore station.

The areas of research at Mace Head have focused on atmospheric chemistry studies and aerosol formation studies in terms of process-based research. Projects such as BMCAPE, CORE, ACSOE, PARFORCE, MAP, NAMBLEX, and EUCAARI all had a series of intensive field campaigns at Mace Head. In addition to process-based research, continuous or long-term trend monitoring, particularly for trace gases, is an essential part of the scientific operations. Recently, the infrastructure has been expanded to contribute to the CLOUDNET suite of measurements. Mace Head has a h-index of 45 and in 2009, its number of citations exceeded 1000.

The services offered by the infrastructure are the following:
1. Process studies in atmospheric chemistry, aerosol properties and aerosol-cloud interactions: Scientists and research teams are invited to carry out their specific atmospheric chemistry, aerosol, and aerosol-cloud interaction research studies at Mace Head. They are offered laboratory space in the guest scientist laboratory or at an appropriate outside location, and logistical support. Users coming to Mace Head for measurement campaigns will benefit from one of the broadest measurement programs of all GAW global sites, and from long-term data sets. Various successful research intensive campaigns (acronyms of the projects/campaigns: BMCAPE, CORE, ACSOE, PARFORCE, MAP, NAMBLEX, EUCAARI, ACCENT, EUSAAR and ICOS) have been performed at Mace Head in recent years resulting in numerous publications, 6 of which have been published in Nature.
2. Know-how transfer: During the project and ongoing we expect research scientists, technicians and participants in intercomparisons to come to Mace Head to expand their experience with respect to trace gas species, aerosol studies, and aerosol-cloud interactions. They are offered support on scientific and technical issues, instruments, data quality, data evaluation and delivery to data centres.
3. Intercomparison activities: European monitoring sites will be invited to submit proposals to participate in intercomparison experiments for selected VOC compounds (see NA4), CLOUDNET parameters (JRA3 and NA5), development of methods and techniques for OVOCs (JRA3), and aerosol chemical properties (JRA3).
Users participating in the intercomparison activities will check and learn about the quality of their measurements.
Proposals for access will be evaluated through the official ACTRIS TNA procedure process.

Description of work

Modality of access under this project:
A range of access themes are offered for Mace Head, specifically, Gas Phase and Aerosol Chemistry (JRA2), NMHCs (JRA4), CLOUDNET (JRA3 and NA5). Access will be enabled after groups respond to specific TNA calls for proposals. Access and space will be provided for users of existing instruments and/or for additional instruments mobilised for intercomparison studies. Access and schedule will be arranged through interaction with the Mace Head Management Committee. All equipment is state-of-the-art and operational regardless of which theme access is applied for. All instruments are networked and data is transmitted to a central database every 10 minutes. In addition, 10 minute data is webcast on the Mace Head 
web site .

Support offered under this project:
Scientific support is offered for the Gas Phase and Aerosol Chemistry activity through the Mace Head Research Fellow Dr Darius Ceburnis. Ceburnis has years of experience in aerosol and gas measurements at Mace Head.
The CLOUDNET support comes from Mace Head Research Fellow Dr Giovani Martucci. Martucci has years of experience in ground-based remote sensing of aerosol and cloud properties. NMHC support comes from Mr Gerry Spain who is the AGAGE Technical Officer at Mace Head for the past 20 years. Technical support comes from two 50% Technical Officers, one dealing with instrument support and general infrastructure and the other dealing with data systems.

Outreach of new users:
As scientists of the Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station (1) are members of international Expert Groups in GAW and thus cooperate in the implementation of these programmes, (2) contribute in current and recent EC projects such as MAP, IMEC, TEMIS, ACCENT, GEMS/MACC and EUCAARI, and (3) are closely related to leading atmospheric research in Europe, these scientists have a high reputation and they have access to the respective communities via home pages, round-letters and personal contact. With the intended intercomparison exercises, they address the needs of existing infrastructures like GAW and EMEP. Thus, this TNA initiative is offered in response to specified and reported requirements of European infrastructures. Calls for these
intercomparison activities are circulated using the established communication structure of these programmes.
Accordingly, it is expected that the number of estimated users is realistic. The site is already used for process studies in atmospheric chemistry and aerosol physical and chemical studies. The TNA access opportunities will be advertized on our website to provide potential new users with timely, comprehensive information on the
facilities available as well as the current research activities.

Review procedure under this project:
The selection of users will be performed by a single TNA selection panel and is described under the general ACTRIS procedure in section 2.1.6.

Unit of Access:
One unit of access corresponds to 1 full research person-working day (rwd) by a user accessing the infrastructure (the minimum acceptable access is half a day). The access includes the use of the general infrastructure, on-site logistic support by the infrastructure staff, as well as technical and scientific support related to the use of the facility and data analysis. A confirmation of visit indicating the total quantity of access per user, countersigned by the access provider, is provided after each access.




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