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OSCAR (Observation System for Climate Application at Regional scale)

Operational Program ERDF Basilicata 2007 - 2013 (Projects for European territorial collaboration)

OSCAR (Observation System for Climate Application at Regional scale) aims at the design of a portable prototype system for the study of correlations among the trends of several Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) and the change in the amount of solar radiation incident at the ground level. The final goal of this project is to provide a user-friendly low cost solution for the quantification of the impact of regional climate variability on the device efficiency for the exploitation of natural sources (i.e. solar energy), and on the occurrence of severe meteorological weather events as well as of huge dust outbreaks over the Mediterranean Basin.

The system prototype will be delivered along with a software able to retrieve correlations between the investigated variables and to quantify the impact of regional climate on radiation as well as to assess potential trends over long term.

The ECVs relevant for the purpose of this project are:

-          Cloud fraction

-          Cloud height

-          Cloud frequency

-          Integrated water vapour

-          Surface solar irradiance

-          Aerosol optical depth

Along with these variables other relevant quantities will be investigated such as:

-          Backscattering coefficient

-          Visibility (fog)

-          Rain gauge

-          Surface weather parameters

Requirements for the measurements of ECVs will agree with those described in GCOS-134 report, while other quantities will be measured with high quality sensors using metrological calibrations standards.

The project has four main activities:

1. identification of the minimum number of atmospheric variables to measure to study the regional climate variability;

2. design and implementation of an integrated prototype system for the observation of the atmospheric parameters needed to characterize the impact of climate variability at the regional scale;

3. Development of an algorithm for the estimation of impact of climate variability on the surface solar irradiance;

4. Study of the correlation among all the variables observable by the prototype system, severe weather events, surface radiation fluxes, and large aerosol outbreaks (e.g. Saharan dust).

The design study will be performed on the basis of historical measurements performed at CNR-IMAA Atmospheric Observatory (CIAO). Measurements from satellite and data from models will be also considered as ancillary to the study, above all, to fill in the gaps of historical ground based datasets.

The prototype integrated systems will be designed to be operated over long term with high stability and accuracy. Both the prototype and the algorithm will be designed in a user-friendly way to be used and exploited by regional agencies for their own specific purposes. In the first phase of the project, the sensors to be integrated will be selected among the most accurate, low cost and long term stability sensors available worldwide (lidar, GPS, radiometers, surface weather sensors, nubiscope, …). They will be also partly design by the project participants. 

OSCAR approved project (Oct. 2013 - Dec. 2015)