Towards the profiling of the atmospheric boundary layer at European scale - introducing the COST Action PROBE

Cimini, Domenico ; Haeffelin, Martial ; Kotthaus, Simone ; Löhnert, Ulrich ; Martinet, Pauline ; O'Connor, Ewan ; Walden, Christopher ; Coen, Martine Collaud ; Preissler, Jana

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<p align=justify>The atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) is the layer closest to the Earth's surface within which most human activities take place. The vertical profile of atmospheric thermodynamic parameters in the ABL impact weather, air quality and climate. However, surface sensor networks and satellite observations do not provide sufficient information on the high temporal variability and strong vertical gradients that occur in the ABL. Thus, the ABL represents an important but rather under-sampled part of the atmosphere. This observational gap currently hampers progress in numerical weather prediction, air quality forecasting and climate assessment. Due to recent technological and methodological advances, ground-based remote sensing instruments are now able to provide high-quality profiles of ABL parameters such as temperature, humidity, wind, aerosol and cloud properties. However, even though state-of-the-art ABL profilers are deployed at numerous sites in Europe, efficient science and technology networking and coordination is still required to exploit this rich dataset effectively. The current lack of data and procedure harmonization often diminishes the potential societal benefits of the existing ABL profiling data. This paper introduces PROBE, a new initiative funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), that aims to broaden the bridge between a wide range of user needs and the science and technology expertise residing in industry and academia, while strengthening and harmonizing methods and procedures to yield higher quality ABL observational data. Here, the challenges, objectives and implementation plan for PROBE are described, highlighting some preliminary results that will be further developed into operational applications during the 4-year duration (2019-2023) of this collaborative project.</p>
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