Networks and Databanks

An increased distribution of Arctic stations has been encouraged since the Arctic Conference met in Stockholm, Sweden in 1956, in preparation for the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957. Moreover "... the sensitivity of instruments should be increased so that measurements could be made using moonlight, a standard method of measuring the ozone content of surface air should be developed. , . the establishment of an aerological and actinometric station on the Greenland ice cap was strongly recommended ..." (WMO, 2006a).

An increased interest regarding the impact of human activity on the global ecosystems has contributed to the development of measurements of solar UV radiation, particularly in the UV spectral region. As a result, there has been a growing number of instrument sites, radiometric networks, and apparatus improvements; many of which are managed by either national or international organizations. One of the most noted is the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the United Nations official authoritative voice on weather, climate, and water where its involvement influenced policy for ozone, UV, and climate change. The WMO Global Atmospheric Watch (WMO-GAW) (Volker and Barrie, 2006) forecasts the ozone hole trend, and issues the Antarctic Ozone Bulletin and the Arctic Ozone Bulletin.

The World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre (WOUDC,, part of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Program, consists of two component parts: the World Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre (WUDC) and the World Ozone Data Centre (WODC). It produced its first data publication, Ozone Data for the World, in 1964.

There are presently six ozone data categories (types) and three UV data types registered at the WOUDC. The ozone data archive contains the following data categories: Lidar vertical profiles, Ozonesonde vertical profiles, total column ozone (daily and monthly values), and Umkehr N-value and C-Umkehr vertical profiles. The UV data archive contains the following data categories: Broadband, Multi-band and Spectral.

The authors of this chapter, members of the Italian National Antarctic Program (PNRA), participate in the measuring of greenhouse gases (GHG), ozone, and UV radiation at stations in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, in cooperation with Direccion Nacional del Antartico/Istituto Antartico Argentino (DNA/IAA, Buenos Aires), the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU, Kieler), and the Norwegian Polar Institute (NP, Tromso). They manage a sampling site in Jubany Base (King George Island, Antarctic Peninsula) to monitor background levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). They also contribute to ozone and UV monitoring by using Brewer spectrophotometers at the Belgrano II Base (Antarctica), in Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina), and in the Arctic region, at the Italian base of CNR Dirigibile Italia in Ny Alesund (Svalbard Island, Norway).

The Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC), composed of more than 70 high-quality, remote-sensing research stations, is currently involved in the observation of the physical and chemical state of the stratosphere and upper troposphere to better assess the impact of stratospheric changes on the underlying troposphere and also on global climate. The various sites in the network are shown in Fig. 4.2. The Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change (NDSC) is a part of this network.


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Figure 4.2 The NDACC network

Figure 4.2 The NDACC network

The NSF Polar UV Monitoring Network, based on the SUV-100 spectroradiometer (Biospherical Instrument Inc., Bernhard et al., 2007) is a good reference source for UV measurements at ground level. The map of the network is displayed in Fig. 4.3.

Figure 4.3 Map of the NSF Polar UV monitoring network

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is intended to be a long-term, user-driven operational system for monitoring the climate system, detecting and evaluating climate change, assessing the impact of climate variability and change, and is viewed as an application for national economic development. It is capable of providing the comprehensive observations required for research to improve the understanding, modeling, and prediction of the climate system. GCOS addresses the total climate system including physical, chemical, and biological properties, and atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial, hydrologic, and cryospheric components. The map of the GCOS network is shown in Fig. 4.4.

GCOS Upper-Air Network (166 Stations)

GCOS Upper-Air Network (166 Stations)

GCOS Secretariat. I January 2009 Figure 4.4 The GCOS network

Several projects promoted by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) manage sampling campaigns, networks, and data-banks to study the effects on the environment and biosphere in polar regions. The Evolution and Biodiversity in the Antarctic: the Response of Life to Change (EBA) (see SCAR-EBA, 2008) describes the past, explains the present, and predicts the future, with an international, multidisciplinary program. This program combines the research communities and aims of the past SCAR programs of RiSCC, EVOLANTA, and EASIZ (see In particular, EBA studies the evolution and diversity of life in the Antarctic, and their influence on the properties and dynamics that currently exist in the Antarctic ecosystems and the Southern Ocean system. It attempts to make predictions on how organisms and communities respond to environmental change, both currently and in the future. By integrating research in marine, terrestrial, and freshwater ecosystems in a new manner, EBA hopes to advance evolutionary and ecological science globally, using model systems and organisms from the Antarctic.

Through a single web-portal, the SCAR Action Group on Marine Biodiversity Information (SCAR-MarBIN), mainly funded by the Belgian Science Policy, aims to offer free and open access to Antarctic Marine Biodiversity Data (see which also includes a variety of scientific and technical services. SCAR-MarBIN is a core of the International Polar Year (IPY, 20072008) initiative, and acts as the information component of the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML). For the atmosphere, databank web sites exist for each National Program, e.g., in Europe, Pangea of AWI, Germany,; NILU, Norway,; British Antarctic Survey (BAS) (2008), UK,; etc.

The management of this vast number of networks and databanks from across the globe, incorporating varying research strategies and types of instrumentation, requires a sizeable organization to efficiently install, maintain, and calibrate these instruments, ensuring quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), for data collected from international databanks (see WMO, 2006b; WMO, 2007 and its references; Tüg et al., 2003; Diaz et al., 2005; Lakkala et al., 2005; Bernhard, 2008). This is, however, beyond the limits of the present work.

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