Air pollution of the Po Valley plain visible from Mt Cimone

On Monday, July 3, an international campaign has been launched under the European project ACTRIS-2, which until July 28 will provide ongoing information on an important component of air pollution: Black Carbon (BC). BC is considered to be a dangerous pollutant and climate forcer compound, in fact it is harmful to health and is associated with an increase in premature deaths in cities and also has a heating power that may be regionally similar to that of carbon dioxide.
There are still many uncertainties about this measurement and this field experiment will contribute to the definition of parameters affecting the measurements and the artifacts linked with some techniques. Indeed, various instrumental techniques for the definition of the absorption coefficient will be applied in the same sites, the optical characteristic most directly related to the concentration of BC in the atmosphere.

Three measurement sites are concerned, where several institutes will operate:
- the CNR-ISAC Climate Observatory "O. Vittori" at Mt. Cimone (representative of the background conditions of the atmosphere),
- the air quality station CNR - ARPAE at Bologna (urban area)
- the station for the study of the atmospheric composition of S. Pietro Capofiume of the CNR-ARPAE (rural area).

These sites offer very different pollution characteristics, and will also allow the transport and transformation of aerosol absorbing (BC) from its release to the aged form.

At these sites, ISAC-CNR Bologna will collaborate for four weeks with the NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH "DEMOKRITOS" (GR), the Paul Sherer Institute - PSI (CH), the Joint Research Center JRC (Ispra-IT), Aerosol doo Institute of Geosciences of Environnement - IGE (FR), Finnish Meteorological Institute - FMI (F), Michigan Technological University (USA), Aerodynamic Research (USA), Vilnius (LT) University of Milan, Department of Physics and Department of Clinical and Community Sciences (IT), Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences (IT), CeSMA University of Naples Federico II , ALA Advanced LIDAR Applications Srl (IT), CNR-ICMATE, PROAMBIENTE CONSORTIUM and ARPAE Emilia-Romagna (IT), putting in place about 30 different instruments using profoundly different techniques for BC measurement.

A mobile van equipped with a large variety of instruments will allow to follow the evolution of the absorbent particulate from the emission to the transport through transepts throughout the Padana plain to Lombardy and from the plain to the hills to the foot of Monte Cimone.

A Slovenian ultra light aircraft (GreenLight, Aviation for Science) will also be used, which will perform BC measurements and optical particulate properties up to over 3000 m in height, both above and within the boundary layer on areas affected by ground measurements.
An ad hoc model for the experiment (meteorology, air transport and air quality) was developed by ISAC-CNR in collaboration with ARPAE Emilia Romagna and will support in the choice of observational strategies to be undertaken and in the interpretation of data.

This experiment was programmed in a typical summer period when in the Po Valley the weather conditions are subject to high temperatures and meteorological conditions which give rise to heat waves with often critical conditions also for air quality. Synergy observations and simulations will help to better understand the source areas and dynamics of transport and transformation of the black carbon on the Po Valley plain to the surrounding mountain areas and its free troposphere exports.

In the foto, the air pollution of the Po Valley plain, often visible to the naked eye from Mt Cimone. The Equipments of "ACTRIS-2 MT CAMP AND PO VALLEY FIELD CAMPAIGN 2017", will also reveal invisible details.