The Arctic Station Dirigibile Italia is funded and managed by the National Research Council of Italy (CNR). The station was opened in 1997 and named “Dirigibile Italia” in honour of Umberto Nobile’s airship expedition of 1928. Dirigibile Italia supports multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research activities under the coordination of the Department of Science of the Earth System and Technology for the Environment of CNR (DSSTTA).

The station is located in Ny-Ålesund (78°55′ N, 11°56′ E) on the shores of Kongsfjorden, on the west coast of Spitzbergen, the largest island of the Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard. Ny-Ålesund was a mining village until 1963. During the 1990’s it was transformed into a multidisciplinary science settlement, and today stations from 12 different nations host researchers from up to 20 different countries.


Calm Grid monitoring site

The monitoring of permafrost and active layer conditions: characterization of snow coverage, vegetation and the snow conditions is performed at the CALM GRID site close to the CCT.

The measurements consist in measure with a snow probe in correspondence of each of the 36 nodes of the grid within an area of 50x50 m with a span of 10 m. A digital snow camera installed during SSF-SFG project SMAC on the the CCT collects images of the surface seasonal variation all over the year. At the corners of CALM GRID 4 boreholes 6 m deep and one 50 m deep have been drilled and equipped with thermistors chains to measure the temperature profile in the permafrost, with higher resolution in the activelayer.

Climate Change Tower - CCT The Amundsen-Nobile Climate Change Tower (CCT) is the key element of an integrated project named Climate Change Tower – Integrated Project (CCT-IP). Installed in 2009 the tower is a scientific platform to study the thermodynamic characteristics the atmospheric boundary layer and the exchange processes of energy, mass and momentum between the surface and the lower layers of the atmosphere. The CCT provides continuous profiles of meteorological parameters at four levels up to 34 m. Turbulent fluxes of momentum heat and moisture are also provided at two levels as well as surface characteristics observation and radiation measurements are provided. The structure is composed by 17 modules equipped with patch boxes assembled every three floors to provide power supply and data connections that end in a dedicated hut at 40 m from the tower, where the acquisition systems are also located. A data connection to Dirigibile Italia with an optical fiber, allows fast real time remote control and monitor of measurements. The infrastructure, unique in Svalbard, allows to host several different type of sensors to observe the atmosphere and the surface. In 2012 KOPRI, in agreement with CNR installed at 21 m agl an eddy covariance system to measure of GHG fluxes. In 2019 a new permanent set up, compliant with ICOS has been installed to continuous monitor CO2 and H2O at 3.5 m agl. Moreover, due to suitable location (1,2 km apart from the village, flatness surface around the CCT, optimal exposure to wind) the surrounding area have been set up with other observation infrastructure and instrumentation (permafrost borehole, wind LIDAR, snow and vegetation monitoring cameras) to complement and integrate with CCT atmospheric measurements.

Gruvebadet Aerosol Laboratory The Gruvebadet Aerosol Laboratory is located nearby the village of Ny-Ålesund, in a building originally used as miner’s bathroom. In 2010 CNR set up the first aerosol laboratory with a series of instruments to measure physical and optical properties of aerosols at ground level. After a deep restoration the several rooms have been assigned to aerosol and atmospheric composition measurements.

CNR can use two rooms, one equipped with aerosol samplers for continuous measurements generally from February to October and one to host other instruments and support national and international field campaigns. Inlets and other samplers are located on the roof of the building. Recently a clean area for snow sampling has also been assigned and delimited in the vicinity of Gruvebadet. In 2018 the CNR has decided to support the aerosol sampling activity all year around establishing also collaboration for join research with KOPRI, NIPR and University of Helsinki.

metrology laboratory A permanent metrology laboratory has been set up in Ny-Ålesund to support in the evaluation of measurement uncertainties, also in field taking into account quantities of influence and measurement conditions. The laboratory allows to calibrate temperature and pressure sensor as well as open path gas analyser evaluating uniformity as a component of uncertainty in representativeness. The activity will proceed towards full uncertainty evaluation in permafrost and ice and water temperature measurements. This activity will be part of the contribution in a proposal to WMO for a standard weather station for arctic/cryosphere observations.

Mooring Dirigibile Italia (MDI)

An instrumented mooring have been permanently installed in the inner part of the Kongsfjorden at about 100 m depth with the aim to investigate particle fluxes and composition, including measurement of the basic physical properties of water. Mooring Dirigibile Italia (MDI) has been deployed in September 2010 and is annually serviced.

MDI allows to continuously monitor variations of thermohaline characteristics of: a) surface water by the glacier melting; b) intermediate water by variable intrusion of Atlantic-type water, and c) bottom water locally produced during winter.
Moreover, information on sedimentary processes and interactions with microzooplankton, glaciers and enhanced coastal runoff is gained by collecting particles sinking in the water column. The complex interplay of processes driving the particle supply of autochthonous (marine) and allochthonous (terrestrial) origin in Kongsfjorden are elucidated, and some inferences on possible future changes in particle fluxes for arctic fjords can be suggested in a climate warming scenario.

Mooring Dirigibile Italia (MDI)

Oceanographic sensors are tied at different levels in the water column.
The list of measured parameters include:
- water temperature @ 25, 36, 54, 62, 85 and 92 m
- current speed and direction @ 37 and 93 m
- salinity @ 25 and 85 m
- turbidity and dissolved oxygen @ 85 m
- mass and particulate organic carbon fluxes @ 83 m.

CNR - National Research Council - Department of Earth System Science and Environmental Technologies - Piazzale Aldo Moro, 7 - 00185 Rome - ITALY - E-Mail: angelopietro.viola AT

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