How the Italian Airforce Uses Radiometers

Increasingly, thanks to the growing interest in global warming research and climate change, the effects of stratospheric aerosols are being analyzed with greater attention.

Through different mechanisms, aerosols can contribute to climate forcing: firstly, they interact with the incident solar radiation by reflecting it back to space or by absorbing it. Alternatively, aerosols act as condensation nuclei, modifying cloud properties, which, therefore, naturally also affects precipitation efficiency.

How the Italian Airforce Uses Radiometers

Image Credit: OTT HydroMet

The sky-sun radiometry technique is the most accurate when it comes to studying the radiative forcing of aerosols. Measuring aerosol properties in the atmospheric column is easily facilitated by sky-sun radiometry. This consists of measuring two variables at ground level; diffuse radiance from the sky and direct irradiance from the sun, in different spectral bands.

The Italian Air Force’s Meteorological Service is also making special observations such as ozone and solar radiation, along with tasks closely related to their missions of aviation and weather forecasting,

The Italian Air Force issued a tender in 2010 with the objective to procure systems to quantify atmospheric turbidity (i.e., aerosol optical depth in the atmosphere), which would complement their existing measurement network.

In 2011, four POM-01 Sky Radiometers (manufactured by Prede Co. Ltd. in Tokyo and subsequently distributed by Kipp & Zonen, an OTT HydroMet brand) were delivered to Vitrociset SpA as a result (Vitrociset SpA being the contractor for the procurement and installation). In the near future, the systems will be installed at the Air Force sites located in the following locations:

  • Vigna di Valle (RESMA - Research Centre) by Lake Bracciano, just north of Rome
  • Monte Cimone (CAMM - Air Force Mountain Observatory), located in the Apennine Mountains, south-west of Bologna
  • Monte Paganella in the Dolomite Mountains
  • Messina, located in Sicily

For a century, RESMA has been operating and tackling the task of experimenting with and studying meteorological equipment and of managing the data gathered from special measurement networks, such as carbon dioxide, ozone, sunshine duration, global solar radiation and chemical analysis of precipitation.

CAMM is located on Mount Cimone (specifically placed at an altitude of 2165 m) and is tasked with carrying out environmental observations: in particular, ascertaining the values of background concentrations of atmospheric pollutants. Special measurements are made as well as ordinary observations, taking values of solar radiation, ozone, carbon dioxide and precipitation sampling.

POM-01 and POM-02 are used in a range of networks, including the Asia-Pacific SKYNET network and the European Skyrad Users Network (ESR) as well as for global aerosol monitoring and satellite ground-truthing.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by OTT HydroMet - Meteorology. Kipp & Zonen is one of OTT HydroMet's strong brands for professional environmental monitoring solutions.

For more information on this source, please visit OTT HydroMet.

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