More than 100 scientific experts from 20 different countries, met in Larnaca from the 17 to the 21st October 2016 to examine the issue of Air Pollution in the Eastern Mediterranean. The workshop, “Atmospheric Processes in the Mediterranean”, was organized by The Cyprus Institute (CyI), in collaboration with the French Institute of Cyprus and the ChArMEx1 project (http://www.cyi.ac.cy/index.php/apm-workshop-2016-home.html).
The workshop is of particular importance for the Eastern Mediterranean Middle East region that is home to nearly 400 million people, the majority of which live in urban areas. Environmental conditions in the EMME are exceptional, with deserts in the Middle East among the most water-scarce regions on Earth. The region is subject to dust storms and heat extremes, and in some parts photochemical air pollution is unparalleled. With its location at the crossroads of long-range transported air pollution from three different continents (Europe, Africa, Asia) and located in the vicinity of the two largest deserts in the world (Sahara and Arab Peninsula), Cyprus offers a real-world laboratory to better characterize Atmospheric processes in the Mediterranean. The Cyprus Institute has been very active in this area over the past two years, via the coordination of major research field experiments in Cyprus within the framework of the EU FP7 BACCHUS2 and EU H2020 ACTRIS23 projects that are supported by unique CyI research infrastructure, such as the Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory (USRL) and the Agia Marina Xyliatou Atmospheric Research Facility.
The workshop aimed at providing a scientific knowledge basis for the current research activities on atmospheric composition for the Mediterranean basin and its various impacts on the regional climate, such as public health, air quality, and the water cycle. It has provided further evidence for the strong air pollution present in the Mediterranean, and highlighted the Eastern Mediterranean Basin as a region where field observations are still scarce. It has also provided a unique opportunity to promote scientific collaborations in the region, and was instrumental in coordinating future field and aircraft research activities that will take place in Cyprus in 2017.
1 ChArMEx (the Chemistry Aerosol Mediterranean project; http://charmex.lsce.ipsl.fr/) is a component of MISTRALS (Mediterranean Integrated STudies at Regional And Local Scales; http://www.mistrals-home.org/), coordinated by CNRS.
2 BACCHUS (Impact of Biogenic versus Anthropogenic emissions on Clouds and Climate: towards a Holistic UnderStanding) http://www.bacchus.ethz.ch/
3 ACTRIS is the European Research Infrastructure for the observation of Aerosol, Clouds, and Trace gases http://actris2.nilu.no/