European Facility For Airborne Research

European Facility For Airborne Research Sept. 21, 2017, 21:31

Airborne Research Stories

PRE-TECT: studying desert dust aerosols with airborne and ground-based measurements

PRE-TECT is an atmospheric experiment organized by the National Observatory of Athens (NOA). The experiment took place from 1st to 30th of April 2017 at the Greek atmospheric observatory of Finokalia in Crete, aiming to advance desert dust microphysical characterization from advanced ground-based remote sensing, employing sophisticated inversion techniques capable of retrieving the aerosol absorption. This is the main objective of the ACTRIS JRA1 activity “Improving the accuracy of aerosol light absorption determinations”. In order to validate the ground-based remote sensing retrievals, airborne in-situ measurements are of paramount importance. EUFAR has awarded two Transnational Access projects (DoGMA, ClIMA) that helped fulfilling the ACTRIS scientific objectives. This was a great example of collaboration between the two Research Infrastructures, aiming to advance our knowledge on aerosol microphysics and their impact on radiation and cloud formation. The flights were performed by the research aircraft FA20 of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), in synergy with the A-LIFE ERC project (University of Vienna). The FA20 performed 8 EUFAR flights which were coordinated with the ground-based measurements in Finokalia. The research aircraft was equipped with an extended in-situ aerosol payload, a wind lidar and meteorological sensors.

PRE-TECT has been framed by a number of synergistic atmospheric experiments that were implemented during the same period in Eastern Mediterranean. Specifically, the following projects and initiatives contributed in PRE-TECT:

  1. The D-TECT ERC project, aiming to assess the impact of particle electrification on desert dust dynamics and long-range transport. During PRE-TECT, new sensors for atmospheric electricity have been tested in order to combine these measurements with the advanced ACTRIS aerosol products.
  2. The ECARS TWINNING EU project, aiming to boost INOE’s research capacity in the domain of atmospheric remote sensing and create a pole of excellence in East Europe. The scientists of PRE-TECT organized a summer school for ECARS, aiming to introduce young researchers in a large-scale atmospheric cal/val exercise, focusing on the evaluation of aerosol and cloud satellite products employing ground-based and airborne sensors. During the summer school, the students were exposed on dedicated hands-on training activities.
  3. The A-LIFE ERC project, aiming to provide fundamental new understanding on the properties of absorbing aerosols and its impact on dynamics (in particular mineral dust – black carbon mixtures).
  4. The CyCARE campaign, a common initiative between the Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol and TROPOS, aiming to fill the gap in the global understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions. These investigations will help answering the question how rain patterns will develop in future and what the effect of climate change on arid regions might be.
  5. The GEO-CRADLE project, aiming to coordinate and integrate state-of-the-art Earth Observation Activities in the regions of North Africa, Middle East, and Balkans in order to develop links with GEO related initiatives towards GEOSS. Two thematic pilots of GEO-CRADLE and their services have been evaluated using the PRE-TECT dataset, the dust forecast service of the ACC pilot (Adaptation to Climate Change) and the SENSE energy system for the determination of solar energy field in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Originally published on Sept. 11, 2017
Last update on Sept. 12, 2017

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Entry gallery

The PRE-TECT team

The PRE-TECT team

The remote sensing node operated in Finokalia station in Crete

The remote sensing node operated in Finokalia station in Crete

A PollyXT lidar (NOA) along with a HATPRO MWR (INOE) and a METEK cloud radar (CNR/IMAA)

The airborne instrumentation for the A-LIFE ERC project

The airborne instrumentation for the A-LIFE ERC project

Group photo of the A-LIFE team in front of the DLR Falcon research aircraft

Group photo of the A-LIFE team in front of the DLR Falcon research aircraft

The RAYMETRICS scanning polarization lidar of INOE

The RAYMETRICS scanning polarization lidar of INOE

Final presentations by the students of the ECARS summer school

Final presentations by the students of the ECARS summer school

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 312609

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