Duration: 1.March 2006 - 28. February 2011


The present knowledge of the aerosol distribution is far from sufficient to properly estimate the role of aerosols in changes of the global and regional environmental conditions and climate. Improving the observation system for aerosols will contribute to almost all areas of societal benefits listed in the GEOSS Implementation Plan. Since it is in particular the information on the vertical distribution that is lacking, advanced laser remote sensing is the most appropriate tool to close the observational gap. This was demonstrated by the systematic quantitative aerosol profiling performed within the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET). With EARLINET, Europe has taken the lead in this area: the improvement of continuing observations and methodological developments are urgently needed to provide the multi-year continental scale data set necessary to assess the impact of aerosols on the European and global environment and to support future satellite missions. EARLINET infrastructure exists as a voluntary cooperation between presently 21 research institutes with formalized long-term commitment, well distributed over the continent. Our objective is to improve the EARLINET infrastructure resulting in a better spatial and temporal coverage of the observations, continuous quality control for the complete observation system, and fast availability of standardized data products. This will be reached by defining and using common standards for instruments, operation procedures, observation schemes, data processing including advanced retrieval algorithms, and dissemination of data. The expected outcome is the most comprehensive data source for the 4-D spatio-temporal distribution of aerosols on a continental scale. EARLINET-ASOS will make a significant contribution to the GAW program of WMO, one of the observation systems selected for the initial implementation of GEOSS, and serve as a prototype for a future world-wide aerosol profiling network.

International Research Cooperation with

Jens Bösenberg, Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany
Dimitris Balis, Aristotleleo Panepistimio Thessalonikis, Greece
Adolfo Comeron,  Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Gelsomina Pappalardo, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Metodologie per l'Analisi Ambientale, Potenza, Italy
Matthias Wiegner, Meteorologisches Institut der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany
Albert Ansmann, Institut für Troposphärenforschung, Leipzig, Germany
Arnoud Apituley, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Lucas Alados Arboledas, Grupo de Fisica de la Atmósfera, Departamento de Fisica Aplicada, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
Anatoli Chaikovsky, Institute of Physics National Academy of Sciences, Minsk, Bjelarus
Georg Hansen, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Tromsö, Norway
Valentin Mitev, Observatory of Neuchatel, Neuchatel, Switzerland
Doina Nicolae, INOE National Institute of R&D for Optoelectronics, Bucharest, Romania
Alexandros Papayannis,  Ethnikon Metsovion Polytechnion Athinon, Athens, Greece
Maria Rita Perrone, University of Lecce,  Italy
Manuel Pujadas, CIEMAT,   Madrid, Spain
Jean-Philippe Putaud, JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability,   Ispra, Italy
Francois Ravetta, Institute Pierre Simon Laplace,  Paris, France
Vincenzo Rizi, Universita degli Studi L´Aquila, Italy
Valentin Simeonov, Ecole Polytechnique Federale  de Lausanne, Switzerland
Piotr Sobolewski, Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Belsk, Poland
Nicola Spinelli, Instituto Nazionale  per la Fisica della Materia, Napoli, Italy
Dimitar V. Stoyanov, Institute of Electronics, BAS, Sofia, Bulgaria
Thomas Trickl, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, IMK-IFU, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany