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Activities under The Vienna Convention Trust Fund for Research and Systematic Observation

Launch of a radiosonde instrument at Ushuaiain Argentina to measure ozone concentration.
Photo Credit: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, Argentina
Dobson intercomparison campaign in Melbourne, Australia.
Photo Credit: Matt Tully, Australian Bureau of Meteorology

A Dobson intercomparison campaign for Latin America and the Caribbean is programmed to take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 4 - 22 March 2019, in order to calibrate instruments from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Uruguay. Consequently, training on observations techniques, data processing, and data archiving by experts from SMN and NOAA (USA) will be offered to participants.

Following the completion of phase 1 of the Kenyan proposal, trainees will implement at KMD what they learnt during the training they received in the Czech Republic and Switzerland, remaining in close contact with their counterparts in Switzerland. During phase 2, scientists from Swiss institutions that participated in the training will visit Kenya for two weeks to review the progress in the implementation, and to identify and meet further training needs as much as possible. A regular follow-up through telecomunication or e-mail correspondence organized by KMD thereafter for a period of 6 months shall ensure that all the knowledge gathered has been successively implemented in a sustainable manner. The activity will take in spring 18-28 March 2019.

The project will support an additional year of operations of a recently-built high-altitude atmospheric measurement station at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Ozonesondes will be launched from the station with a frequency of two soundings per month during a year.

Recent findings from an initial time series of 12 soundings launched from the station between June 2014 and September 2015 suggest that the tropical tropopause layer above the equatorial Andes is likely to be permanently thin. With easterly flow from the Amazon converging at the equator, it is possible that the eastern Andes are a major entrance of tropospheric water vapor into the stratosphere. The activity will expand monitoring capabilities to regions where observations of atmospheric constituents are scarce and will provide the ozone science community with a unique set of data from a geographically relevant region of the world. The activity will be implemented on 1 March - 30 April 2019 and will be supported by the Government of Ecuador in subsequent years.

The WMO/GAW northern Africa campaign, which is one of the two campaigns scheduled for Africa,  will take care of the Dobson instruments in the southern part of Africa (Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Seychelles and South Africa) and will take place on 7 - 8 October 2019, hosted by the South Africa Weather Service.

With this relocation Singapore will replace its Dobson no. 7 which is currently out of order, with Dobson no. 8, which is in good working condition but not in use at present. Dobson no. 7 is to be sent to Germany for refurbishment at the Regional Dobson Calibration Centre for Europe. The reloaction is planned to take place in 2019.

The project proposal was put forward by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and has been supported by Switzerland through the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), KMD’s long-term twinning partner.

The main objective of the project was to further enhance the knowledge and skills of KMD GAW personnel in the operation of instruments and data management addressing competencies in measurements, instrument calibrations, analyses and data management of atmospheric composition, documentation with metadata and data submission.

The first part of the project involved training of four KMD GAW staff, first in the Czech Republic at the Solar and UV Observatory in Hradec Kralove (18-23 June 2018); and then in Switzerland at MeteoSwiss in Payerne (25-27 June 2018); at Empa in Dübendorf  (28 June-2 July 2018); and at MeteoSwiss in Zürich (3-6 July 2018).

Upon completion of the training, the KMD GAW staff:

  • Acquired skills, knowledge and experience on Dobson and Brewer spectrophotometer readings and measurements, standard and mercury lamps tests as well as on Dobson data processing and editing;
  • Gained sound scientific knowledge on better performance of the vertical ozone profile measurements, data archiving and carrying out statistical analysis on data as quality control tool.
  • Had practical exposure to air quality laboratories at EMPA, equipment and machines used in atmospheric air quality data collection;
  • Had the opportunity to interact with scientists from excellent centers of research with vast experience in atmospheric Chemistry, Meteorology and research.

During the second phase of the project, Swiss scientists will visit KMD to make sure the training received during the first phase is put into practice properly.

The campaign took place at the World Calibration Center for Ozone Sondes (WCCOS) in Julich, Germany, from 9 October to 3 November 2017. It brought together senior scientists-sponsors and operators from eight tropical stations for the first time in the 20-year history of SHADOZ. Experts from seven developing countries (Brazil, Costa Rica, Kenya, Malaysia, South Africa, Surinam and Vietnam) participated in the campaign, which managed to meet the requirements of modelers, trends analysts and the satellite validation community for 3%-5% ozone accuracy throughout the stratosphere and the troposphere.

The WMO/GAW northern Africa campaign ElAreno2017, which is one of the two campaigns scheduled for Africa, took place at the El Arenosillo Atmospheric Sounding station hosted by the National Institute for Aerospace Technology Spain  (INTA), Spain, from September 4 to 15, 2017. The Regional Dobson Calibration Centre for Europe (RDCC-E) at the Meteorological Observatory Hohenpeissenberg (MOHp, Germany) with its regional standard D064 was in charge of the technical and scientific organization.

The campaign involved Dobson instruments from Europe (D013 – Portugal, D118 – Greece, D120 – Spain) and Africa (D011 – Algeria, D056 – Uganda, D089 – South African standard instrument from the RDCC-Africa, D096 - Egypt). The Dobson instruments from Portugal and Spain were refurbished (D013 repaired, new electronics were installed in both instruments) at MOHp in the run-up to this campaign. D011 from Algeria did not arrive in due time because of customs problems in Madrid, thus it was taken to MOHp for the calibration service and returned to Algeria from Germany.

The most important goals of the campaign were the check, initial calibration, repair, improvement of operation (if necessary) and final calibration. Despite the late arrival of the African instruments due to customs issues all goals could be achieved successfully. In addition, the participating technicians and scientists, some of them with minor experience in Dobson operation were trained in operating a Dobson instrument in an optimal way. The expert from the Egyptian Meteorological Authority was instructed how to perform an intercomparison himself, as two other Egyptian instruments will be calibrated during a future internal campaign in Egypt against the D096 with remote support from the RDCC-E .

The Vienna Convention Trust Fund supported the travel costs of the participants from Algeria, Egypt, South Africa and Uganda and the transportation of instruments.

The 16th World Meteorological Organization- Global Atmosphere Watch Brewer Operator Course (Asia/Pacific) took place in Sydney, Australia, from 4 to 8 September 2017, hosted by the Bureau of Meteorology Sydney office.

The workshop was attended by Brewer operators from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam as well as Australia, as well as four international Brewer experts who provided state-of-the-art training. Detailed hands-on instruction was provided to trainees in topics such as the set-up and operation of Brewers, basic maintenance, lamp-tests, software installation, establishing measurement schedules and data processing and submission.    

The workshop is expected to greatly improve the skills and knowledge of Brewer operators in South and East Asia, ensure instruments are being operated according to the best modern practice and, thereby, lead to much improved submission of high quality total ozone data.

The travel costs of participants from Article 5 countries and the four invited trainers were supported by  the Vienna Convention Trust Fund in partnership with the Canadian Brewer Trust Fund.

The World Meteorological Organization/Global Atmosphere Watch (WMO/GAW) regional Dobson intercomparison campaign took place at the Bureau of Meteorology field annexe outside Melbourne from 13 to 24 February 2017.

The campaign was primarily for the intercomparison of the South-West Pacific Regional Standard Dobson (D 105) against the World Standard (D 083). Two additional Dobsons from the region's member countries also participated - D 072 from Lauder, New Zealand, operated by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and D 052 from Manila in the Philippines, operated by the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Furthermore, the Asia Regional Standard (D 116) operated by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) also took part in the intercomparison in order to provide traceability of Asian instruments to the World Standard.

All participating instruments were successfully calibrated against the World Standard during a short spell of sunny weather in the second week of the campaign.

The Vienna Convention Trust Fund supported the travel costs of the two participants from the Philippines as well as the shipping of Dobson 052 from Manila to Melbourne. This support also enabled the extensive training provided by Dobson experts from the USA, Japan and Australia regarding Dobson operation and testing procedures, as well as the refurbishment and repair of the instrument. Together, these actions should ensure a high quality of ozone observations in the tropical western Pacific.

Project Proposals

The listed proposals are currently under consideration by the Advisory Committee of the Trust Fund

Ozone observation satellite.
Photo Credit: ESA /AOES Medialab