The Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory – CAO is one of the four research infrastructures under the newly formed Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre at The Cyprus Institute. CAO’s mission is to provide high quality, long term observations of key atmospheric species and optical properties relevant to air quality and climate change, for Cyprus as well as the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region. CAO scientists also work closely with the Centre’s other research infrastructures (the Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory, the Instrument Laboratory and NanoLab Facility, and the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory) to develop or adapt low cost sensors and integrate them on drones for deployment on field all over the world.
The high quality, long term observations are carried out from two stations in Cyprus: Agia Marina (rural) and The Cyprus Institute in Nicosia (urban). A third and fourth stations are in planning: one on the highest point of Cyprus, Troodos, and one on the west coast of Cyprus;
The Troodos station (altitude: 1.8 km) will provide CAO with observations in the free troposphere. CAO is also developing a regional network of Pollen/Spores/Dust sampling in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region. The west coast station will be strategically located to sample greenhouse gases coming from Europe and North Africa.
Another goal of the Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory is the development and/or integration of existing sensors onto drones in partnership with the Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory. Those instrument/drone systems can then be tested at the Cyprus Institute’s own airfield (with dedicated air space) at Orunda. CAO also intends to foster collaboration by contributing both state-of-the-art and airborne solutions to field campaigns in Cyprus, the region and around the world.
CAO has also been accepted as a regional station in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Programme, and is the first GAW regional station in Cyprus, and the first ever, in providing the most comprehensive set of quality controlled long-term atmospheric observations in the (EMME) region.