H81 Department Wasser-Atmosphäre-Umwelt H81 Department Water, Atmosphere and Environment  H814 Institute of Meteorology Working Groups Environmental Meteorology ARSTM Project

ARSTM - Aerosols Remote Sensing and Transport Modelling

This project is funded by FWF, Lise-Meitner-Programme, Project number: M 2031-N29.

Staff: Camelia Talianu, Petra Seibert


Aerosols have a significant impact on air quality, and hence implicitly on human health, on Earth climate (both direct and indirect effects), on environment (water, land, vegetation) and on economical activities. Aerosols are produced locally, with given properties; they are then transported over short- to long-distances, usually in turbulent movements. During transport, their physical and chemical properties can change due to chemical processes and meteorological conditions. They can also mix with other aerosols, so more sources contribute to the aerosol budget in a given place. The lifetime of aerosols in the atmosphere is of the order of a week. Transport and dispersion of aerosols depend on aerosols' properties, on meteorological conditions, and on surface properties. Sources of aerosols are highly variable. As a consequence, the geographical distribution of aerosols is highly non-uniform and time-dependent. To study the aerosols, precise measurement methods and large networks of instruments are needed. It is not possible to make continuous measurements covering all their trajectories, their sources are also not always known, therefore a detailed modelling of their evolution is needed to provide values in intermediate locations, to identify their sources and to study their dispersion over large areas.

Lidar systems are the current state of the art active remote sensing instruments for aerosols measurements. They use elastic and inelastic (Raman) radiation scattering to provide time series of aerosol distributions and vertical profiles of the aerosols' optical coefficients; depolarization lidars additionally provide the depolarization profile, differentiating between spherical and non-spherical particles. For passive remote sensing, the most advanced instruments are radiometers and photometers. The most advanced ground-based observation networks set up to study the aerosols physical, chemical and optical properties:

Numerical modelling of aerosols and their transport in space and time is an essential part of aerosol science. The modelling uses simulations to describe how air pollutants disperse in the ambient atmosphere.


Ground-based remote sensing measurements using lidars and the numerical modelling of aerosols play the central role in this project. A quick analysis of the distribution of ground-based lidar stations used for aerosol measurements over Europe reveals a striking measuring gap in the southeastern part of Central Europe (Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia) between the four stations in Germany, the five stations in Southeast Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus) and the five stations in Italy. For this project, data from ground-based remote sensing, in situ and satellite measurements covering a larger region centered on Austria, will be used:

In this project is used FLEXPART ("FLEXible PARTicle dispersion model") model. FLEXPART is a Lagrangian particle dispersion model designed for calculating the long-range and mesoscale transport, diffusion, dry and wet deposition, and radioactive decay of air pollutants from point sources, such as after an accident in a nuclear power plant.

The original aspect of this project is the synergetic exploitation of the best available technologies (new generation of ground-based instruments, sensors and sunphotometers; state-of-the-art meteorological data and transport models; satellite imagery) with original methods for data analysis to determine aerosols' properties, their transport and their potential sources, resulting in significant improvements. These results are essential for the understanding of the direct and indirect effects of aerosols on climate, air quality and cloud-precipitation processes for the considered area.



Related Links:

EARLINET - European Aerosol Research Lidar Network to Establish an Aerosol Climatology
AERONET - Aerosol Robotic Network
ACTRIS - European Research Infrastructure for the observation of Aerosol, Clouds, and Trace gases.
CAMS - Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.



List of peer-reviewed publications for project: