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Activities under the Vienna Convention Trust Fund for Research and Systematic Observation

Activities under the Vienna Convention Trust Fund for Research and Systematic Observation

Launch of a radiosonde instrument at Ushuaiain Argentina to measure ozone concentration.
Photo Credit: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, Argentina



Planned activities

Relocation of Dobson no. 8 (formerly deployed in Spitzbergen, Norway) to an interested party(to be determined)

Dobson intercomparison campaign in Melbourne, Australia.
Photo Credit: Matt Tully, Australian Bureau of Meteorology


Ongoing activities


Completed activities

The main purpose of the activity was to expand monitoring capabilities to regions where observations of atmospheric constituents are scarce and will provide the ozone science community with a unique set of data from a geographically relevant region of the world. An additional year of operations of a recently built high-altitude atmospheric measurement station at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador were supported. 25 ozone sondes were launched from March 2020 to July 2021. Two papers were prepared and more analyses are on the way. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the completion of the activity was extended from 30 April 2020 to 30 June 2021.

The Dobson intercomparison campaign for southern Africa was held in South Africa from 7 to 18 October 2019.  The campaign was hosted by the South Africa Weather Service at the weather station in Irene. Eight Dobson instruments from six countries, Botswana, India, Germany, Kenya, South Africa and the United States, participated in the campaign. The participation of a Dobson instrument from Nigeria was not possible due to the operator’s visa being delayed, resulting in eight out of the nine originally planned Dobson instruments participating in the campaign. The number of participating instruments amounts to almost 10 per cent of the world’s operating Dobson spectrophotometers. The World Secondary Standard Dobson (United States) and the European Dobson Standard (Germany) were intercompared after more than three years. The experts used the World Secondary Standard Dobson (D 065) and the European Standard to intercompare the performance of the instruments. All Dobson spectrophotometers from different monitoring and research institutions in Southern Africa and India were inspected, serviced as necessary and calibrated. The Dobson instrument from India needed extensive work and its mirrors were renewed. The three South African and Kenyan Dobson spectrophotometers were serviced, intercompared, calibrated and are now in very good condition. The instrument from Botswana was cleaned and serviced and is now in good condition. All the participants were given as much training as possible, and with renewed and regular email contact with the South Africa Weather Service and between the members, the observations are expected to be of good quality. With strong commitment to maintaining regular contact, the operators from Botswana can be guided to resume the measurements at Maun. Through this activity, the data obtained at the measurement sites will be standardized and will be comparable locally and globally. The reports of individual instruments from this activity were prepared and shared with the community. The final combined report is under preparation. This event is part of WMO Global Atmosphere Watch quality control requirements for monitoring atmospheric total ozone.

The capacity-building initiative was designed for WMO region I and implemented in 2018 and 2019 to strengthen or develop the technical and scientific expertise required to maintain high quality measurements, data processing and analysis and relevant knowledge on the preparation and submission of observation data to relevant world data centres. The activity was supported by the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss), the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research, and the Observatory, Hradec Králové, Czechia, through the General Trust Fund for Financing Activities on Research and Systematic Observations Relevant to the Vienna Convention. It was implemented in two phases, involving staff of the Kenya Meteorological Department. The first part of the training course was focused on data management and instrument calibration and took place in Czechia (Hradec Králové) and in Switzerland (Payerne, Dubendorf and Zurich) from 17 June to 6 July 2018. Four Kenya Meteorological Department staff participated in full‑day training sessions, which included lectures, practical exercises and hands-on work. The staff gained theoretical and practical knowledge on the Dobson and Brewer spectrophotometer measurement techniques, service, maintenance and calibration of the instruments as well as on data archiving and analysis. The group also received intensive training and knowledge on ozonesondes including standard operating procedures for pre-flight preparation, launching, data acquisition, processing, analysis, transmission of data to twinning partners at MeteoSwiss, Payerne, and data archiving. The Observing System Capability Analysis and Review Tool of WMO was introduced, along with practical work on the metadata and specific information related to observations in Kenya. A separate session was dedicated to learning the R statistical program to help systematically analyse both vertical profiles and surface data. Part of the phase 1 training covered building competence in calibration of the TEI49i O3 analyser and Picarro instrument for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and water (H2O) measurements. The knowledge and skills gained during the training course were shared with colleagues and students at the WMO Regional Training Centre, Institute of Meteorological Training and Research, Nairobi, and have led to improved work performance at the Kenya Meteorological Department.

Subsequently, the competencies of eight operators and engineers from Nairobi and Mount Kenya Global Atmosphere Watch stations in Kenya were further advanced through a workshop on data management held from 17 to 29 March 2019. The objective of the second phase of the training was to enhance already acquired knowledge and skills in the operation of ozone-measuring instruments and data handling by reviewing best practices in conducting measurements, instrument calibrations, data management and documentation, as well as data submission to the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Radiation Data Centre. Specific sessions addressed working with the Observing Systems Capability Analysis and Review tool and WMO Integrated Global Observing System metadata related to the observations made from Kenyan Global Atmosphere Watch stations; operating, maintenance, and troubleshooting of ozonesondes and Brewer spectrophotometers; retrieving vertical profiles from ozonesonde flights and analysing data. At the end of the workshop, means to maintain and transfer the skills beyond the initially trained staff whenever appropriate were proposed. Knowledge gained during the training in 2019 improved the performance of the staff for the benefit of the quality of the observations made by the Kenya Meteorological Department and has assisted in sustaining the quality of the regional and global monitoring activities.

The international comparison of Dobson spectrophotometers of WMO Global Atmosphere Watch region III took place at the Villa Ortúzar Observatory, Buenos Aires, from 4 to 22 March 2019. The intercomparison was organized by the WMO secretariat, Argentina’s National Meteorological Service, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Monitoring Division, and the University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Environmental Research. Participants included operators from: Argentina, Brazil (Dobson D 093 from Natal and Dobson D 114 from Cachoeira Paulista – São Paulo, both supported by the Brazilian Space Agency), Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s travelling standard instrument. The primary purpose of the event was to check and harmonize calibrations and perform maintenance of Dobson spectrophotometers operated within WMO region III, as well as two instruments from region IV which also took part in the intercomparison. Overall, 12 Dobson instruments participated in the intercomparison campaign: D 065 (the World Secondary Standard instrument), D 067, D 070, D 087, D 093, D 097, D 098, D 099, D 114, D 131, D 133, D 134. All 11 Dobson spectrophotometers from 6 different monitoring and research institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean were inspected, serviced and calibrated, as necessary, so that data obtained at the measurement sites could be standardized and comparable locally and globally. The Regional Dobson Standard for South America was calibrated against the Word Secondary Standard stationed in Boulder, Colorado, United States. Instructions on the operation and routine maintenance of the instruments were provided to participants along with the final intercomparison to ensure that calibrations and repairs are correct and sufficient to bring instruments within an error of 1 per cent. The relative uncertainty of each Dobson was also estimated. This event is part of the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch quality control requirements for monitoring atmospheric total ozone and ensures the quality of total ozone data sets. In addition to the instruments participating in the Dobson intercomparison, the regional Brewer Ozone spectrophotometer and Pandora spectrometers, owned by NASA, conducted measurements at Villa Ortúzar during that period. Special Umkehr observations on the zenith sky were made by all participating instruments in the morning of 21 March 2019 to create a reliable data set for verification of different technologies used for processing these observations.

The project proposal was put forward by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) and has been supported by Switzerland through the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), KMD’s long-term twinning partner.

The main objective of the project was to further enhance the knowledge and skills of KMD GAW personnel in the operation of instruments and data management addressing competencies in measurements, instrument calibrations, analyses and data management of atmospheric composition, documentation with metadata and data submission.

The first part of the project involved training of four KMD GAW staff, first in the Czech Republic at the Solar and UV Observatory in Hradec Kralove (18-23 June 2018); and then in Switzerland at MeteoSwiss in Payerne (25-27 June 2018); at Empa in Dübendorf  (28 June-2 July 2018); and at MeteoSwiss in Zürich (3-6 July 2018).

Upon completion of the training, the KMD GAW staff:

  • Acquired skills, knowledge and experience on Dobson and Brewer spectrophotometer readings and measurements, standard and mercury lamps tests as well as on Dobson data processing and editing;
  • Gained sound scientific knowledge on better performance of the vertical ozone profile measurements, data archiving and carrying out statistical analysis on data as quality control tool.
  • Had practical exposure to air quality laboratories at EMPA, equipment and machines used in atmospheric air quality data collection;
  • Had the opportunity to interact with scientists from excellent centers of research with vast experience in atmospheric Chemistry, Meteorology and research.

During the second phase of the project, Swiss scientists will visit KMD to make sure the training received during the first phase is put into practice properly.

Project proposals

The listed proposals are currently under consideration by the Advisory Committee of the Trust Fund

Belarus: 1. Preparing and realizing intercomparison sessions of three instruments engineered and currently operated at NOMREC BSU to monitor total ozone and UV radiation in the Republic of Belarus
Brazil: 1. South American Brewer Spectrophotometer Network
China: 1. International Integration and Capacity Building for Observations of Controlled Substances in Asian Developing Countries
2. International and Domestic Communication on ODS and HFCS Monitoring Technology, Data Analysis and Quality Control Methods
1. Expanding ozone sounding operations in Ecuador from the Andes to the Galapagos Islands: the ECHOZ-SHADOZ synergy
2. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation and dermatological effects on people linked to productive sectors of the provinces of Pichincha, Guayas, Manabi, Pastaza and Galápagos, in Ecuador
3. Implementation of the Research Centre on Solar Energy and Ozone “Mitad Del Mundo”
1. Capacity Building and Awareness Workshop on Stratospheric and Tropospheric Ozone Measurements and Calibration of Ozone Measuring Equipment
2. Impact of trace gases emissions changes on the stratospheric ozone layer and the present day and future climate over South Asia
Mexico: Monitoring of Solar Ultraviolet Radiation Band" B "in Central America and the Caribbean