• What is the context of your research?
  • My research group aims to understand how dust impacts climate and weather, and also socio-economic factors such as health, solar energy and transport. In order to do this, we need to have better understanding of dust properties, such as size, composition and shape, and how these may change with altitude and during long-range transport. One of the current ‘mysteries’ is that we find very large dust particles transported great distances from dust sources, such as the Sahara, when we would expect them to fall out of the atmosphere much more quickly. Understanding how and why large particles remain in the atmosphere is important, so that we can improve their representation in forecast and climate models. Many theories have been proposed as a mechanism to retain large particles in the atmosphere; one of these is solar heating during daytime hours, which could redistribute larger particles back up to high altitudes, countering their gravitational sedimentation.
  • Why did you apply to this call (if any)?

This call was a fantastic opportunity to gain measurements of dust particle size at a key point on its journey from the Sahara, westwards across the Atlantic. An extensive field campaign, ASKOS, led by the National Observatory of Athens, was already planned for June 2022 at Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands, so this was an opportunity to fund additional measurements to target transport of super-coarse dust particles in the framework of a much larger network of planned measurements. We paired with the Cyprus Institute and the Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory who were already planning to conduct UAV flights from Cape Verde to measure dust size and composition. Our ATMO-ACCESS funding provided additional opportunities for UAV flights at night and day, whereby we measured how dust size changes with altitude as a function of time of day.

  • What were the benefits/results of the access to the ATMO-ACCESS services
    for your project?

As a result of ATMO-ACCESS, we obtained measurements which just would not have been possible otherwise. Preliminary analysis of the observations indicates promising results. These results will help us solve the mystery of how and why larger dust particles are transported to high altitudes and over long distances, ultimately leading to better dust modelling.

  • How was your experience as a user?

ATMO-ACCESS allowed our team to participate in a field campaign, networking and sharing knowledge and expertise across international teams, which has already led to further international collaborations.