EARLINET-ASOS (European Aerosol Research Lidar Network - Advanced Sustainable Observation System) is an Integrated Activity implemented as Coordination Action within the EC Sixth Framework Programme.

EC FP6 Specific Programme: “Structuring the European Research Area Specific Programme - Research Infrastructures Action”.  Contract Number 025991. EARLINET-ASOS is a 5-year project started on 1 March 2006.

EARLINET'ies at the Kickoff-Meeting of EARLINET-ASOS in Munich in March 2006.



Project summary

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.
EARLINET-ASOS, starting on the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET) infrastructure, consisting of 20 lidar stations distributed over Europe, will contribute to the improvement of continuing observations and methodological developments that 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.
The main 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 strengthening the co-operation among the partners with several networking activities: exchange of expertise with the main goal of defining and disseminating best practice and knowledge; quality assurance program for both algorithms and instruments for assessing and assuring common high quality standards; optimization of instruments for achieving a better temporal coverage and standardization of performance; optimization of data processing with the goal of establishing an automatic processing from raw data to final products; establishing a database provided with an user interface for 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.

Project objectives

The overall objectives are:


To facilitate the verification of achievements more specific technical objectives are defined:



Networking Activities

EARLINET-ASOS is organized in the following networking activities (NA):

NA1 - Management

Management will comprise the areas of communication with the Commission for all contractual and administrational matters, organization of annual and special reports, organization of consortium meetings, monitoring the progress of work based on milestones and deliverables, identification of problems and suggestions for ways to solve them.

NA2 - Exchange of expertise

Central to the achievement of the project objectives is a smooth information flow between all the participants allowing the sharing of their expertise. This will be implemented through a structure of workshops held every six months.

The main objective of this activity is to provide effective means to improve the EARLINET infrastructure through a comprehensive and organized flow of information both between the participants and between the participants and the external scientific and general community.

For internal communication the objective is to disseminate, in a timely way, the results of all other networking activities and the established working groups, in order to spread the knowledge, to discuss various approaches, to critically assess the progress, and to provide additional information for more effective use of the tools provided by other groups. A “transverse” flow of information will be promoted, so that all the participants can share their expertise on a peer-to-peer basis. Special attention will be given to the training of young scientists, from student to junior scientist level, in advanced observation methodology as well as in cooperative research.

For communication with the wider atmospheric science community the objective is to provide an interface with potential users of the EARLINET data such as atmospheric scientists and modellers, and meteorological and climate observation organizations, as well as with other entities providing similar or complementary data.

NA3- Quality assurance

This will be implemented by defining standardized tools for internal quality checks at both instrument and inversion algorithm levels, by providing assistance to the participating stations to apply these tools to their instruments and procedures, and by compiling the different system and subsystems setups at individual stations.


NA4 - Optimization of instruments

The objective of this activity is to improve the instruments of the observation system by selecting the optimal instrumental approach from the various solutions existing at individual stations, for the components and subsystems as well as for system integration. Emphasis will be made on automation, for extended temporal coverage, and standardization, for improved interoperability in future networks.

NA5 - Optimization of data processing

The main objective of this activity is to provide all partners with the possibility to use a common single processing chain for the evaluation of their data, from raw signals to final products. Raw signals may come from different types of systems, final products are profiles of optical properties like backscatter and extinction and, as far as instrument properties permit, microphysical properties.

NA6 - Database construction and operation

The aim is to build a common database that is automatically and continuously updated through a software system which automatically collects the data products provided by the individual stations and makes them available to the community; in addition to the continuously updated quality-controlled lidar data, the database will include auxiliary data allowing to search for data meeting specified criteria. It will be accessible through a web-based interface to provide easy access to data products for internal and external users.




Principal Investigator Participating Institution
Gelsomina Pappalardo(Project Coordinator) Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Metodologie per l'Analisi Ambientale, Potenza, Italy
Jens Bösenberg(Project Deputy Coordinator) Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Fürderung der Wissenschaften e.V. represented by Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany
Dimitris Balis Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Adolfo Comeron Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
Matthias Wiegner Meteorologisches Institut der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, Germany
Albert Ansmann Leibniz-Institut für Troposphärenforschung, Leipzig, Germany
Arnoud Apituley National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Christine Böckmann Zentrum für Dynamik komplexer Systeme, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
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
Alexandros Papayannis Ethnikon Metsovion Polytechnion Athinon, Athens, Greece
Maria Rita Perrone University of Lecce, Italy
Vincenzo Rizi Universita degli Studi L´Aquila, Italy
Valentin Simeonov Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Aleksander Pietruczuk 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
Francois Ravetta nstitute Pierre Simon Laplace, Paris, France
Manuel Pujadas Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, Department of Environment Air Pollution Unit, Madrid, Spain

Associated partners

Lucas Alados Arboledas, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain

Doina Nicolae, INOE National Institute of R&D for Optoelectronics, Bucharest, Romania

Jean-Philippe Putaud, JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Italy



Project Coordinator

Dr. Gelsomina Pappalardo
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto di Metodologie per l’Analisi Ambientale (CNR-IMAA)
Contrada S. Loja
I-85050 Tito Scalo (Potenza)
Tel: + 39 0971 427265
Fax: + 39 0971 427271


Project Coordination Office

Dr. Aldo Giunta
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto di Metodologie per l’Analisi Ambientale (CNR-IMAA)
Contrada S. Loja
I-85050 Tito Scalo (Potenza)
Tel: + 39 0971 427276
Fax: + 39 0971 427271