NA6: Integration, outreach and sustainability

WP Leader: Markku Kulmala


  • To critically investigate, document and relate the long-term needs, benefits, cost-efficiency and funding schemes and propose steps towards a joint European Atmospheric Research Infrastructure for advanced measurements of aerosols, clouds and reactive trace gases.
  • To deepen the dialogue to end users through an open interface to the ACTRIS network and database
  • To stimulate innovative overall development of the network by operational integration of sites and network components to be able to effectively monitor atmospheric composition/air pollution change in near real time and in the next decades.
  • To integrate essential components into one prototype core ACTRIS station which is interoperable with other European GMES core service stations, e.g. those from ICOS, in order to allow different end users to easily utilise data products in a comprehensive way
  • To conceptually design and construct easily accessible new higher-level data products in response to established end user needs by integrating different measurement data from the ACTRIS network
  • To ensure and enhance the knowledge transfer between different communities within ACTRIS and to educate a new generation of students with excellent technical skills and integrative viewpoints

Description of work

The improved integration of the surface based observations assembled under ACTRIS will provide a major contribution to the EU programme "Global Monitoring for Environment and Security" (GMES) and its associated project "Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate" (MACC), as well as to climate monitoring efforts planned under GCOS. To be successful in the long term it is required to plan a sustainable European atmospheric measurement network, design and test an optimal integrated core measurement site and pursue specific training of field scientists. Future improvements of the EU network will require improved standardization, at least for core aerosol and trace gas measurements at core ACTRIS stations.
Integration is also required to better meet the needs of the users, which are in the first place in the scientific community and which require a continuous dialogue. Higher-level products must be built, based on the physical relationships, to facilitate the use of the ACTRIS network data (for instance linking optical parameters measured by satellites and aerosol composition). Geospatial collocation and a combined interface of model fields, satellite products and surface observations are needed to allow users to choose and interpret the network data in the best possible way.

 Task 6.1
 Steps towards a joint European Atmospheric Research Infrastructure (UHEL, CNR, CNRS, PSI)

Investments into the ACTRIS network of advanced measurements of aerosols, clouds and reactive gases and potential savings will be documented to provide advice for an improved, sustainable and cost-efficient network. National and regional agencies in charge of ACTRIS relevant measurement sites will be informed through a dedicated report on the positive (or negative) impact of their measurement strategies on the overall European or global network. This is intended to provide national agencies specific knowledge for developing their measurement strategy from the perspective of a pan-European network. A critical analysis will be also undertaken to investigate the needs and prospects specific to a long-term monitoring network. This requires continuation of the project beyond ACTRIS in an ESFRI project. Joint research programming shall be investigated as means to link national measurement strategies.

 Task 6.2  Dialogue with end users (CNRS, CNR, NILU,, UHEL, TUD)

The end-users of the ACTRIS network data products will have very different needs and expectations. Feedback from users will be sought by different means: a) ACTRIS presentation from leading partners CNR and CNRS at international meetings to promote partnership with ACTRIS, b) ACTRIS partners will undertake to systematically consult the modeling community on annual meetings of international model intercomparisons AeroCom, ACCMIP, CFMIP, HTAP; b) a web based interface will allow end users to traceable and easily formulate requests and provide feedback to the ACTRIS database outreach component; d) near-real-time and higher-level products will be designed and prototypes will be proposed to the scientific community in charge of international
assessments of relevance (MACC, WMO, EMEP, EU DG’s, IPCC) to explore interest and guide the use of resources for the development of these higher-level products. User requests will be bundled and discussed at the annual ACTRIS meeting. Of special relevance is the critical inquiry on the need of near-real-time dissemination of data for chemical weather prediction, to policy makers at all levels, and to the general public (e.g. “Shared Environmental Information System” SAIS, WMO “Weather Information System” WIS).
A continuous dialogue with end users will be assured through the ACTRIS web portal.

 Task 6.3  Operational integration of sites and network components (NILU, CNRS, UHEL, CNR, UREAD, TUD,
In the context of GMES/MACC and WMO-GAW, the ACTRIS data centre infrastructure will serve as "Data Collection and Processing Centre" (DCPC) for atmospheric aerosol and cloud parameters as well as reactive trace gas species. Developments of sustained ACTRIS data streams for NRT reporting include station diagnosis and interoperability between local data center and DCPC as well as data stream integration in other networks data centers. ACTRIS will disseminate its data not only through its own website, but also by establishing data streams (based on end-user consultation in task 2) for annual and NRT data reporting to the GMES/MACC and WMO-GAW infrastructures to establish data streams for all respective regular annual and NRT data reporting
from ACTRIS.
Optimal data streams format and procedures for NRT data quality control and reporting to Data Collection and Processing Centre (DCPC) for each measured variable will be defined. As DCPC, ACTRIS WP6 will also work towards establishing initial and second level quality assurance (QA) for the incoming NRT data. Initial QA involves simple boundary and plausibility checks on the data disseminated through the network. Second level QA tests the physical consistency of data originating from different instruments. ACTRIS will demonstrate its feasibility, first on parameters with established data streams e.g. testing closure between aerosol microphysics and optics. Further second level QA will be established in collaboration with WP20 (checking lidar extinction
profiles with total aerosol optical depth from sun photometers) .
 Task 6.4  Integrate essential components into one prototype core ACTRIS station (CNRS, NILU, EMPA, CNR, UHEL, IFT)
 This task is meant to test and demonstrate the inter-operability of an ACTRIS and ICOS core station in support of a future joint network development in the EU. The new ACTRIS core station components will be chosen by making full use of the experience and instrumental recommendations from WP2-5. The ACTRIS core station is, during this phase, limited to aerosol measurements. Design and construction of an ACTRIS core station prototype will serve as a proof of concept. The ACTRIS core station consists of a suite of tested sensors for the defined variables. The ACTRIS core station requires development (soft- and hardware) for integration. Automatic
operation and remote control procedures will be defined and standard data streams implemented. The ACTRIS core station requires interoperability with the ICOS Atmospheric stations which is to be achieved through joint development with ICOS teams. The Lidar development for this prototype ACTRIS station has been chosen to be under the ICOS Atmospheric station responsibility but strong interaction is expected between ICOS and ACTRIS experts on the lidar data quality and interpretation potential. The construction of the ACTRIS prototype core station is done in collaboration between several partners of ACTRIS and has been granted already support from
national agencies (ADEME) for instrumentation investments needed.
The ACTRIS core station will address also all required NRT data streams (as requested and developed in Task 6.3) from technical requirements in data provision, to data center functionalities and operability required by future ground-based observing systems. In this context it is planned to adapt ACTRIS measurement outputs to requirements from operational networks and realize a proof of concept of a future ACTRIS station. The proof of concept includes: Identification of core parameters in aerosol phases and evaluation and selection of suited commercial instrumentation for their measurements in close collaboration with EU SMEs and WP leaders.
Core parameters shall respond to scientific requirements in the field of air quality and climate. Selection and evaluation of suited instrument takes place within intercomparison workshops held within WP2-5.
A 6-month demonstration test is performed jointly programmed with ICOS to prefigure integrated observing systems in Europe. Jointly operating ACTRIS/ICOS core stations will be installed at an ICOS test site, still to be identified.
 Task 6.5  Conceptual design and construction of higher level products (, NILU, CNR, CNRS, UHEL, UREAD, TUD)
 In addition to the NRT data streams to GEMS and WMP the major users of the advanced ACTRIS data are in the atmospheric science community in general. General model evaluation studies, satellite retrieval development, and scientific assessments for climate and air pollution policy advice make use of integrated information and coarsely gridded data products, eventually on much lower time resolution than actually measured in ACTRIS. Measurements taken in ACTRIS thus require further integration and preparation as higher level products to make the network efficient. Error documentation and sampling statistics need to be explained and documented in a form usable for model evaluation and assessments. Higher level products require on the other hand scientific judgement and need to be designed with expertise coming from the data providers.
The higher-level products will be integrated with the overall ACTRIS data dissemination in collaboration with the data centre (SA1).
The following higher-level products are envisaged in a first stage:
- Standard benchmark data sets for model evaluation (climatologies for concentrations of Essential Climate Variables, optical properties, size distributions, composition and deposition fields)
- Regional long-term trends of key aerosol species and associated error
- 3D Spatial distributions of key species and their radiative forcing efficiency
 Task 6.6  Knowledge transfer, Internal and external communication and training (UHEL, CNR, CNRS, IfT)
 In this task we will a) ensure and enhance the knowledge transfer between different communities (WP2-5) within ACTRIS, and b) organise technical and integrative intensive courses. In practise, we organise tutorial workshop during annual general assembly for senior scientists, and two annual courses one for hand on type course to use the infrastructures, and one for integrative data analysis. These courses will be organised annually at SMEAR II station, Hyytiälä, Finland. WP6 will manage the internal dissemination of knowledge and communication flow via internal project web internal web pages and by electronic means via mailing lists. It will coordinate the promotion and dissemination of project results. The external dissemination of knowledge and communication will be ensured via appropriate platforms: the public ACTRIS web portal, peer-reviewed publications, presentation in international conferences, and as well as project meetings and workshops to which international collaborators of the project, representatives of other networks, and stakeholders will be invited to participate.


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