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Mediterranean Climate Chemistry

ChArMEx meets at ICTP for the first time

30/10/2014 - Trieste, Italy

After holding its past annual conferences in Toulouse, Barcelona and Corsica, the Chemistry Aerosol Mediterranean Experiment (ChArMEx) chose Trieste this year for the four-day meeting.  From 20 to 24 October, over 80 scientists from the Mediterranean region and beyond met at ICTP to present and discuss the latest experimental results and analyses from coordinated studies of chemical emissions, chemical processes, transport of chemical compounds, radiation, climate issues, and more.

ChArMEx began in 2010 as a comprehensive effort to understand the atmospheric chemistry in the Mediterranean region and its impact on air quality, regional climate, and biogeochemistry, explained ChArMEx Coordinator François Dulac.  The Mediterranean is of particular interest because it is a hotspot of climate change.  "We know that there are strong links between what is there in terms of trace species of chemical compounds and the climate in general, and this is also a European hotspot for the most aerosol and ozone, especially in the summer," Dulac said.

The ChArMEx meetings provide the opportunity for the involved scientists to assess their research progress and plan for the future of the programme.  Additionally, the meeting held at ICTP was the first time that scientists from outside of the programme were invited, providing a unique opportunity for scientists from many countries to interact with expert researchers.  Some of the participants came from countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Algeria and Egypt.  Others, from further afield, presented their research in poster sessions, covering topics ranging from climate-chemistry interaction over Africa to air pollution measurements in Manila.

Another benefit from holding the meeting at ICTP was the chance for participants from a variety of countries to see a coordinated research effort in action.  "One day, maybe some of these researchers will have to take part in this kind of international project.  There is science, but there are also a lot of issues like coordination or funding that you don't learn in school or at university," said local organiser Fabien Solmon.

Holding the latest ChArMEx meeting at ICTP was also a chance for researchers already involved in the programme to connect with potential collaborators for the next phase of the project, which will likely expand to examine the Eastern Mediterranean.  "We have some senior scientists who are not from ChArMEx who are willing to interact and provide some data," Dulac said.

With the progress ChArMEx has made so far in understanding the atmosphere and climate of the Western Mediterranean, Dulac hopes that going forward the project will secure funding for the next phase, to address new scientific questions and expand the geographic reach of the programme. 

For more information about ChArMEx please see the website.