ACTRIS is the European Research Infrastructure for the observation of Aerosol, Clouds, and Trace gases. ACTRIS is composed of observing stations, exploratory platforms, instruments calibration centres, and a data centre. ACTRIS serves a vast community working on models and forecast systems by offering high quality data for atmospheric gases, clouds, and trace gases.


Objectives of ACTRIS Research Infrastructure

Detecting changes and trends in atmospheric composition and understanding their impact on the stratosphere and upper troposphere is necessary for establishing the scientific links and feedbacks between climate change and atmospheric composition.

The primary objective of ACTRIS is to provide the 4D-variability of clouds and of the physical, optical and chemical properties of short-lived atmospheric species, from the surface throughout the troposphere to the stratosphere, with the required level of precision, coherence and integration.
The second objective is to provide effective access to this information and the means to more efficiently use the complex and multi-scale ACTRIS parameters serving a vast community of users working on models, satellite retrievals, and analysis and forecast systems.
The third objective is to raise the level of technology used in the RI and the quality of services offered to the community of users, involving partners from the private sector.
Finally, the fourth objective of ACTRIS is to promote training of operators and users and enhance the linkage between research, education and innovation in the field of atmospheric science.



ACTRIS results from more than 15 years of consistent development funded by both Member States and the European Commission through the Research Infrastructure programme.

ACTRIS was initiated as an Integrated Initiative in 2011 building on three historical European research collaborations: EARLINET (European Aerosol Research Lidar Network, EU-FP5 and FP6 projects), EUSAAR (European Supersites for Atmospheric Aerosol Research, EU-FP6 project), CREATE (Construction, use and delivery of an European aerosol database, EU-FP5 project), and Cloudnet (started as an EU-FP5 project for observing cloud profiles), to which a new integration of long-term trace-gas observatories was then added. The operations are pursued as part of ACTRIS-IA, funded as a new IA programme by the European Commission in H2020.

The short-lived components of NDACC (Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change) will be incorporated in the Research Infrastructure ACTRIS, also building on advances made in the NORS programme. Many of the observatories in ACTRIS are collocated with EMEP, GAW and GRUAN sites, and in many cases observations started prior to the mentioned EU projects in quasi-independent initiatives. In addition, a few facilities such as large simulation chambers are proposed as National Facilities, and have been operating for years within the EUROCHAMP projects. The ARISE (Atmospheric Dynamics Research Infrastructure in Europe) project is a design study (FP7 and H2020) aimed at establishing an atmospheric research and data platform to elucidate the dynamics of the middle and upper atmosphere, including the lidar network of NDACC. ACTRIS will build upon ARISE as part of its National Facilities.