NOAA Collaboration on Aerosol Monitoring in China and South Africa

October 7, 2005

With funding from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), two aerosol systems designed and built by researchers at the NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division (GMD) have been deployed to remote sites in China and South Africa to measure aerosol properties relevant to global climate change. These systems are carbon copies of systems operating at NOAA Atmospheric Baseline Observatories.

On September 12, the system installed by a NOAA scientist at the Mount Waliguan Baseline Observatory in western China became fully operational. An identical system will be installed at the Cape Point Baseline Observatory, South Africa, in late October. These new stations will expand NOAA's network of global aerosol monitoring sites that, in addition to the NOAA Baseline Observatories, now include data from GMD installed systems in Alert, Canada; Lamont, Oklahoma; Brownsville, Illinois; and Cape San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Data from all the stations is sent in near real time to a central computer at NOAA/ESRL where it is checked daily. Remote trouble shooting of instruments can be conducted over the Internet and operating parameters of the instruments adjusted from Boulder.

Background: Decreasing the uncertainties associated with aerosol radiative forcing is currently a major NOAA research thrust for quantifying climate forcing. Since aerosols are inhomogeneous in the troposphere and have relatively short atmospheric lifetimes, measurements must be made of different types of aerosols at locations in many regions of the globe to determine how aerosol particles are affecting the radiative balance of the Earth s atmosphere. The NOAA/ESRL aerosol system is considered the best and most reliable available for these purposes.

Significance: These collaboration are beneficial to NOAA in that global network expansion was achieved with funding from other agencies, the measurement systems are identical, and cooperative agreements guarantee NOAA full access to, and control over, the data and the monitoring strategies. A new Baseline Station under construction on a mountain in northern Taiwan by the Taiwanese Environmental Protection Agency, to be operational in 2007, will install the same aerosol monitoring system to be fabricated by NOAA/ESRL.

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