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A new AERONET station is set up in Cairo

Our colleagues Ramon Ramos (AEMET) and Carmen Guirado Fuentes (AEMET/GOA-UVA) were in Cairo between April 25th and May 2nd setting up a Cimel Sun Photometer as part of the AERONET-PHOTONS-RIMA network. During the week they were there, they gave an intensive course on the installation, running, maintenance and trouble-shooting of the sun photometer. The equipment was set up on the terrace of an Egyptian Meteorology Authority (EMA) building in Cairo. The new station was made possible thanks to the SDS-Africa project financed by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development / Agencia Española de Cooperación  Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) through the World Meteorology Organization (WMO), and developed by AEMET through the Izaña Atmospheric Research Center and working closely with the EMA Air Quality Department. The SDS-Africa project, which also includes, in the near future, the setting up of another two photometers in Tunisia and Morocco respectively, aims to reinforce atmospheric monitoring capacity of aerosols in the north of Africa, complementing activities carried out by the WMO Regional Center of the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System Regional Center for Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe.

The importance of Cairo lies in the fact that it is a strategic place for the monitoring and study of both the Saharan air layer and the mineral dust it contains during transport towards the Mediterranean as well as the abundant and varied anthropic aerosols generated in the eleventh biggest mega-city in the world. The WMO GURME (GAW Urban Research Meteorology and Environment) program aims to pay particular attention to air pollution in large urban areas around the world given the high incidence of pollution in air quality measurements at a global level. Cairo is the largest mega-city in Africa.

On this occasion we should mention the important role played by the Spanish RIMA network, associated to AERONET, as the CAELIS application developed by the University of Valladolid Atmospheric Optics Group (GOA-UVA) was used to transmit and process data in real time. Subsequently and immediately, the information is then sent to PHOTONS and AERONET. Thus, the agreement between RIMA and PHOTONS to join forces to become a fundamental part of AERONET in Europe and Africa is consolidated.

Information on the station, the principle researchers and on the site manager for the station can be found here. Data can be accessed here in quasi-real time.

We wish to acknowledge the great professionalism and efficiency of our Egyptian colleagues, Darwish Mohamed Ahmed, Dr. Kamal Fahmy Mohamed, Mohamed Hamza and Ahmed Abd-ElHamid Ibrahim, and the excellent treatment dispensed to our researchers, who had not the slightest problem carrying out their mission in much less time than initially expected. From now on, both groups will work together on the project on both technical and scientific areas.

Picture 1: Cimel sunphotometer on the roof of the EMA at Cairo (Egypt)

Picture 2: From left to right: Mr. Ahmed Abd-ElHamid Ibrahim (EMA), Ms Carmen Guirado Fuentes (AEMET-UVA), Dr. Kamal Fahmy Mohamed (EMA), Mr. Ramon Ramos (AEMET), Mr. Hamza Mohamed Hamza (EMA) and Mr. Darwish Mohamed Ahmed (EMA) after the installation of the new Cimel sunphotometer on May 3, 2010.