A 104-metre-high atmospheric tower, equipped with instruments for air sampling at 10, 50 and 100 m and a laboratory for data acquisition, was inaugurated near Potenza, at the headquarters of the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis of the National Research Council (IMAA-CNR).
The site is part of the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) European research infrastructure, a network of more than 140 stations situated in 14 countries, aimed at measuring the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and monitoring the carbon cycle. According to the air-masses predominantly targeted, the ICOS tall towers are classified into three types: continental, coastal and mountain stations.
The aim of the Integrated Carbon Observation System project is to provide standardized and high-precision data to be used to understand climate change and mitigate its impacts, as well as assessing the state of the environment, including at local level.
In particular, the recently inaugurated observatory in Basilicata will operate as an advanced continental station, contributing to the expansion of the ICOS network in Italy and the Mediterranean basin. Situated in an area that is far away from the pollution of large cities, the CNR site has a unique geographical location which makes it a strategic vantage point for the study of climate in a fragile region such as the Mediterranean. The tower was built within the PRO-ICOS MED project, aimed at strengthening the ICOS-Italy observation network in the Mediterranean, financed by the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) through the National Operational Programme on Research and Innovation 2014-2020.