National Research Infrastructure for Observing Atmospheric Aerosols, Clouds and Gas Pollutants Integrated within the Pan-European Infrastructure ACTRIS
ACTRIS is a European research infrastructure that joins the efforts of European partners from 21 European countries and includes over 100 research institutes and organizations with the aim of monitoring atmospheric aerosols, clouds and trace gasses and investigating the relevant atmospheric processes. The Institute of Electronics of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IE-BAS) and the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy (INRNE-BAS) have been members of this research infrastructure as of its founding in 2011. The team of the Moussala Basic Ecological Laboratory (BEO) of INRNE-BAS is the coordinator of the Bulgarian participation in the projects under the 7th FP BACCHUS ENV-2013 and ACTRIS and under the Horizon2020 program – ACTRIS2 and ACTRIS PPP. The team of the Laser Radars Laboratory of IE-BAS has been a member of the European Aerosol Research Lidar Network EARLINET since 2002 and as such has been the Bulgarian coordinator of projects of the 5th (EARLINET) and 6th (EARLINET-ASOS) EU FPs, and has also participated in the implementation of the ACTRIS project under FP7 and ACTRIS2 and ACTRIS PPP projects under Horizon2020 Programs.
In order to coordinate the activities of the national research infrastructure, the two research organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding forming the ACTRIS-BG Bulgarian national consortium, thus creating an important entity within the National Roadmap for Scientific Infrastructure (2017-2023).
The purpose of the Bulgarian participation in ACTRIS is to build a research infrastructure for regular remote and in-situ measurements and monitoring of the aerosol and gaseous pollutants in the atmosphere; the data collected concerning the atmosphere over Bulgaria are provided to the European data collection centers. The remote measurements are carried out by means of laser probing equipment (lidars) at IE-BAS, Sofia, and are combined with the in-situ measurements at Moussala BEO, which is located at Moussala peak (2925 m a.s.l.). The involvement of the teams of the two institutes as partners in the international research infrastructure ACTRIS is significant not only at a national level, but is also of European significance, both in terms of national environmental monitoring and maintaining a national scientific research capacity, as well as for the regional and pan-European environmental monitoring and protection.
The remote sensing of the atmosphere is in direct connection with air quality analyses and climatic changes studies, as related to both the human health and protecting the environment. Results of the investigations provide an opportunity for evaluating and mapping the transfer, distribution, and dynamics of the atmospheric aerosol pollutions, as well as to determine their type, origin, and basic optical and microphysical characteristics. The new knowledge thus obtained serves as a basis for and subsequent verification of complex numerical models for the transfer of aerosol pollution, as well as for the elaboration of complex assessments and conclusions regarding the effects and impact of aerosols on climate processes, air quality and human health.