TNA1: Access to CIAO

WP Leader: Fabio Madonna


Name of the infrastructure: CNR-IMAA Atmospheric Observatory (CIAO)
Location (town, country): Tito Scalo, Potenza, Italy
Web site address:
Legal name of organisation operating the infrastructure: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Location of organisation (town, country): Tito Scalo, Potenza, Italy
Annual operating costs (excl. investment costs) of the infrastructure (€): 199.801

Description of the infrastructure:
The CNR-IMAA Atmospheric Observatory (CIAO) is located in Potenza at the IMAA (Istituto di Metodologie per l’Analisi Ambientale), an Institute of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), a public organization of great relevance in the field of scientific and technological research. The main research activities of CNR-IMAA regard the study of the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface using remote sensing techniques, environmental and geophysical monitoring, the evaluation of the impacts of the anthropogenic activities and the implementation of models to assess the best resources allocation.

CIAO is located in Southern Italy on the Apennine mountains (40.60N, 15.72E, 760 m a.s.l.), less than 150 km from the West, South and East coasts. The site is in a plain surrounded by low mountains (<1100 m a.s.l.) and this location offers an optimal opportunity to study different kinds of weather and climate regimes.

The expertise of CIAO staff in atmospheric studies covers a large range from aerosols to clouds using in-situ measurements and satellite monitoring. In the following a detailed description of the equipment of the facility for ground-based observations of the atmosphere is reported:

- PEARL (Potenza EARlinet Lidar) multi-wavelength Raman lidar for the retrieval of aerosol optical and microphysical properties, and for the retrieval of the water vapour mixing ratio. This system is the result of the upgrade of a pre-existent lidar system, operative since May 2000 in the frame of EARLINET - European Aerosol Research LIdar NETwork. PEARL is performing systematic measurements three times per week accordingly to the EARLINET schedule and during international experiments or special atmospheric events.
- a multi-wavelength Raman lidar system for the retrieval of aerosol optical and microphysical properties. The system is compact and transportable and it is one of the reference systems used in the frame of the EARLINET Quality Assurance program.
- a 905 nm laser ceilometer for cloud base measurements, CT25K type manufactured by VAISALA, able to provide the cloud base of cloud layer up to 7.5 km above the ground and information on the atmospheric optical properties.
- a 1064 nm laser ceilometer for cloud base measurements, CHM15k type manufactured by Jenoptik Laser Systeme, able to provide the cloud base of cloud layers up to 15 km above the ground with the possibility to investigate the optical properties of cirrus clouds.
- MIRA36 meteorological Ka-Band cloud radar. It is a magnetron based pulsed Ka-Band Doppler radar for unattended long term observation of clouds properties. This system is able to provide high accurate measurements the reflectivity factor and vertical velocity with a vertical resolution up to 15 m. The system is also equipped with a 3D scanning unit and provides measurements of the linear depolarization ratio of cloud particles.
- a scanning microwave profiler MP3014, manufactured by Radiometrics Corporation, for temperature, water vapour and cloud profiling in the troposphere up to 10 km above the ground, in nearly all-weather conditions.
The MP3014 also provides retrievals of the integrated water vapour and liquid water. The system is also equipped with an infrared thermometer measuring zenith sky brightness temperatures within the spectral range of 9.6 to 11.5 microns.
- a CIMEL CE-318 sun photometer for measuring atmospheric aerosol columnar properties, operative within AERONET. It is able to provide the aerosol optical depth (AOD) at 340, 378, 440, 500, 613, 870, 940, 1020 and 1640 nm, along with the water vapour column content and the retrieval of the microphysical aerosol properties, such as the refractive index and the size distribution.
- a surface radiation station equipped with high class radiometers to monitor Earth's radiation field at the Earth's surface. The station includes a pyranometer and a pyrgeometer for measuring the global and diffuse solar radiation and longwave downwelling radiation, and two pyreliometers for direct solar radiation measurements.
- an automatic radiosounding station able to perform, automatically and remotely controlled, up to 24 radiosoudings unattended, and two manual radiosounding/ozonesouding stations, equipped with GPS receiver for wind measurements.
- surface meteorological sensors for measuring temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind, visibility and rain with an high temporal resolution.
Moreover, a Trimble GRP receiver is already operative at CIAO, even though its use for the integrated water vapour retrieval will be implemented by the end of 2010.

The wide range of measurements provided at the facility make it an ideal site for calibration and intercomparison campaigns. The laser ceilometers and the passive sensors are standard instruments and generally operate on a continuous basis and their data are available for scientific exchange. The lidar systems are unique research tools built by the scientific experts working at the facility. In particular both the PEARL and the mobile multi-wavelength lidar systems are highly innovative and similar systems are present in a very few European facilities. Moreover, the cloud-radar is not a standard radar system, since it is equipped with a 3D scanning that on a Ka-band radar it is operational for the first time.
CIAO provides quality-controlled data on the vertical profiles of clouds, humidity, temperature and aerosols.

Long-term measurements for aerosols and clouds climatology are the main topics of the ground-based facility and have been performed following the EARLINET measurement protocols for lidar systems and cloud-radar as well as using low-cost operational active and passive instruments.

The long expertise gained in lidar remote sensing and more recently also in using passive techniques has conducted to have a role of excellence in the international community of atmospheric studies. Highlights in the expertise include:
- design and implementation of lidar systems for aerosol, water vapour and cloud measurements;
- development of Raman lidar systems for the daytime measurements;
- development of algorithms for the integration of lidar and microwave measurements;
- definition of measurements protocol, quality assurance, data managing;
- definition of suitable strategy for the satellite CAL/VAL;
- analysis and physical interpretation of atmospheric processes related to aerosol and clouds as well as to their mutual interaction;
- analysis of observations provided by both active and passive sensors for the study of aerosol and clouds;
- measurement campaigns involving both active and passive sensors;
- networking.

The number of international users currently accessing CIAO facility per year is mainly related to the EARLINET activity already ongoing. The foreign users interest in conducting research at CIAO is twofold. On one side, visiting scientists will have the opportunity to work side by side with expert scientists. This will provide to visitors an excellent opportunity to perform state-of-art atmospheric research. On the other side, the international groups accessing the facility for measurement campaigns (e.g. SLICE, EAQUATE) or instrument tests will have the availability of a large set of instruments: the available passive techniques are currently considered as standard state-of-art equipment while the active are innovative systems with a long history of systematic measurements performed in the framework of networks and campaigns.

The facility database is accessible through the CIAO website. Finally, the facility offers a strong support to the activities of the local government, decision-makers, environmental agencies and technological districts, consisting both in the know-how transfer and in the provision of measurements and methodologies for air quality monitoring and for assessing local and regional weather and climate modifications.

Description of work

Modality of access under this project:
The excellent combination of instruments and expertise gives the opportunity to host researchers interested in receiving knowledge and experience on the state-of-art in atmospheric research. Visiting scientists may access both the infrastructure database and the instruments for a know-how transfer only or to perform well-defined experiments with a special focus devoted to aerosol, clouds and their interactions.
Different arrangements for accessing the infrastructure are foreseen. Each visitor will be supervised by an expert scientist and will be assisted by the technical co-ordinator of the site: this will also allow the use of non-standard instruments for training programs or targeted experiments. The access to the database will be granted on-site and/or via network under formal authorization from the infrastructure coordinator.

Support offered under this project:
Within CIAO the users shall find:
- Expertise on the design, development, use and management of the instrumentation;
- Competence on the data analysis and quality check;
- Knowledge of advanced processing and retrieval algorithm;
The access to the facility includes the use of a computer with internet connection and the assignment of a desk space. Moreover, the presence of a guesthouse offers the opportunity to accommodate visiting scientists at the facility. During the visit it will be possible to participate to the routine operations, such as maintenance and operations of several instruments, among which mobile systems, radiosounding launches with automatic and manual systems, discussions on data analysis.
Each available instrument has a responsible person in charge of supporting the user for any need relative to his/her research aims. The staff at the facility will offer the necessary scientific and technical support to each visitor allowing the access also to non-standard instruments (e.g. lidar systems) for training programs or targeted experiments. It will be also possible to have access to mobile instruments for demonstration and feasibility studies. This will include training periods for learning the use, calibration procedure and maintenance of each instrument. This is particularly interesting for the lidars and radar operative at the facility since they are unique “not standard” instruments and they represent a mine of information fostering the know-how transfer within the
scientific community, the improvement of the existing techniques and the development of new algorithms for the provision of high-resolution accurate measurements.

Outreach of new users:
The existent web-site ( already advertises the national and international activities of the facility.
New pages will be created to advertise the new TNA access opportunities and to provide potential new users with timely, comprehensive information on the facilities available as well as the on-going infrastructure activities, their methodology, the objectives and the open research opportunities. Results on the facility activities will be advertised through publication on peer-reviewed journals, within conferences and workshops and other occasions where potential users may be informed about CIAO activities. A preference will granted to visitors accessing the CIAO for exploring possible synergies with profiling instruments not available at the facility.
CIAO has been already accessed by the scientific groups and SMEs for both measurement campaigns and short-term scientific missions. The activity of ACTRIS will increase the possibility to satisfy the demand for the future access to the facility.

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.

Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web