1 - Chemical and physical process in the low atmosphereStudies of the atmospheric boundary layer provide parameterizations of surface-atmosphere fluxes and reconstruction of the atmospheric vertical profiles for different stability conditions to support the understanding of the vertical distribution of aerosol and pollutant.

The atmospheric aerosol is an important pathway by which chemical compounds are transported both locally and on a global scale. At the ground, aerosol measurements allow to investigate natural and anthropogenic sources highlight and apportion the natural and anthropic sources and transport processes. Tethered balloon is a valuable tool for profiling black carbon (BC) concentration, aerosol size distribution, aerosol scattering coefficients, and chemical composition.

List of the Research activities

Tropospheric air pollution research in the Arctic - 1997

Arctic Base: Dirigibile Italia
Inauguration Research Activities at Ny-Ålesund - 12°E - 79°N Svalbard (Norway)
15 May 1997

Air pollution studies are planned on several important topics. The inorganic composition of suspended particulate matter as a function of the size distribution will be studied in order to understand the physico-chemical process related to the transformation and transport of aerosols over Polar regions. Special emphasis will be given to nitrogen containing compounds which will include gas phase species such as nitric acid, nitrogen dioxide, PAN, nitrous acid and organic nitrates, and particulate species such as nitrates. These components will be measured by sampling with a proper combination of diffusion denuders and filter packs which allow reliable measurements at parts per trillions level. Such a sensitive techniques may be useful to understand important chemical processes relte to the formation or to the depletion of tropospheric ozone in polar atmospheres. In addition, carbon containing aerosols will be evaluated with a novel technique which is able to discriminate volatile organic components from carbonaceous material.

The study of sulfur chemistry is an additional important reserch theme which will include the evaluation of Methane Sulfuric Acid (MSA) and sulfuric acid in fine particulate, as well as the long range transport of sulfur dioxide. Such measurements are also very important in order to assess the contribution of sulfuric acid particles in the transport processes of nitrous acid. Additional measurements will be carried out on airborne mercury and mercury containing compounds. A dedicate sampling technique, based on gold trap and gold coated annular denuders will be used for such important components. Since it is expected an increased use of incinerators for waste disposal in Europe, an evaluation of mercury pollution is a key step to understand the role of anthropogenic sources of atmospheric pollutants. An additional important research theme is concerning with the evaluation of organic components either in gas phase or in particulate matter. These species are emitted by anthropogenic sources and by natural processes. After the emission step, they are transported through the atmosphere where they may react with radicals, thus changing chemical and physical nature. A special interest will be addressed to oxygenated compounds (Alcohol, ethers, eldehydes) which were not extensively studied.

The research plan in the Artic polar region also includes a database for the most interesting organic and inorganic components in order to describe their spatial occurence in other remote areas. The link with activities in CNR laboratories in Himalaya or in Antarctica is quite obvious. In addition, the research plan offers significant possibilities for the development of more accurate and precise analytical techniques which will be conveniently used in other scientific activities related to atmospheric pollution. For example, it is planned to design a novel multistage slit impactor and to develop the carbon coated denuder for the measurement of low levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Tourism and carrying capacity - 1997

Arctic Base: Dirigibile Italia
Inauguration Research Activities at Ny-Ålesund - 12°E - 79°N Svalbard (Norway)
15 May 1997

Tourism is seen from the Governments as the possibility of economic development for Arctic Regions. The attraction of these places, with their abundance of natural resources amenities, is bringing an increasing number of tourists, demanding more infrastructures and facilities. There is a real possibility to reach the limits of the sustainability in a short time. One of the most important questions which has emerged in this period is the search of a balance between environment (compatibility) and economic growth (sustainable).

Tourism is an important part of this dynamic, and the demand for alternatives forms like ecotourism, nature tourism, cultural tourism is growing rapidly. Form of soft tourism can also generate in a medium-long period negative environmental and socio-cultural impacts. Try to establish the carrying capacity of a tourism destination may facilitate to understand when the resource limits are reached or outgrown . Svalbard has a long tourism tradition (end '800), an important environmental protection ( many protected areas, visitor and operator codes) and an increasing number of tourists (40.000 in 1996): Svalbard can constitute an unique research field to check the different aspects of tourist flows and tourism development. This poject hopes to contribuite to the evaluation of the big, environmental and cultural, value of the polar regions and to estabilish criteria and baseline for other Arctic areas involved in tourism for an increasing awareness for the sustainable development trough an alternative fully sympathetic form of tourism in fragile ecosystems.

Radiation and surface fluxes measurements at Ny-Ålesund - 1997

Arctic Base: Dirigibile Italia
Inauguration Research Activities at Ny-Ålesund - 12°E - 79°N Svalbard (Norway)
15 May 1997

Radiation and energy fluxes are of fundamental importance in characterizing the role of polar regions and their various surface components(snow, blue ice, dry areas, sea ice) as strong heat sinks cooling the atmosphere and radiating energy into space. Short- (SW) and long-wave (LW) radiative fluxes and surface energy balance and the coupling mechanisms between climate and the ice sheet induced by the atmospheric boundary layer were described by several authors though more data would be required. More investigations are also needed on the role of cloudiness and cloud type in the net radiation and SW and LW balances over surfaces that generally have a high albedo. Measurements carried out by the authors at Terra Nova Bay in Antarctica, though providing partial and not entirely new hints, are of some value for the radiative characterization of the polar atmosphere and related surface fluxes. Answers are still needed on the way radiation interacts with the atmosphere and the role of clouds of various nature. An experiment is being designed for quantifying the land-ocean-ice-atmosphere radiational interactions and energy fluxes at the Italian research station of Ny-Ålesund.

The idea is to use data from surface measurements at sea level and satellite measurements from NOAA polar orbiters. In the following some details are given on the upcoming project. Sea level measurements of radiation and surface fluxes will be conducted at the Italian coastal station of Ny-Ålesund. The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on board NOAA polar orbiters is the candidate instrument for the necessary satellite studies. Cloud detection and classification schemes will be applied to daytime imagery for the determination of cloud radiative properties.

Cloud classification algorithms for midlatitudes are mostly unsuitable for the polar regions since ice- and snow-covered surfaces have a high reflectance and very low temperatures that cause surface and cloud values to be very similar making the discrimination a difficult task. Classification methods for the polar regions have recently been proposed by several authors. The problem of validating the classification accuracy and reducing the misclassification danger has also been discussed. Multispectral classifications of Antarctic land surfaces and open sea and sea ice will contribute to a correct definition of the radiative properties of cloud-free areas. Surface albedo as determined from the AVHRR is another important parameter for the estimation of energy and radiation balances of polar regions. Simulations of the interactions of solar radiation with the Arctic atmosphere need finally to be performed for an accurate description of the physical parameters influencing the satellite measurements of surface and cloud reflectance: gaseous absorption, scattering by molecules, inhomogeneities in the ground reflectance, and observation geometry.

The project represents a unique opportunity to gain new insights into the Arctic atmosphere physical structure given the multi-parameter set of measurements of radiative properties. A better parameterization of radiational and energy exchanges is expected as the final result for climate studies and dynamic models.

2 - Soil, permafrost and geologyThe total frost heave (FH) at each stake was monitored by measuring the difference between the original heigth of 1.2m from the surface and the observed heigth from the surface of each stake at the beginning of each summer.

At each node of the grid was installed also a plot (1x1 m) for the long-term monitoring of vegetation. Every summer the vegetation was monitored at each plot (1x1 m) at each node performing a phytosociological relevés according to the Braun-Blanquet method allowing to provide information on the community structure, coverage, species richness and composition.

List of the Research activities

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

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