RuisdaelRuisdael Observatory for Atmospheric Research


Prof. Herman Russchenberg
Mekelweg 15, 2629 JB Delft
KNMI, RIVM, TNO, TU Delft, University Utrecht, University Groningen, Vrije Universiteit, Wageningen University

Long-term emissions of greenhouse and other trace gases as well as particulate matter have made structural changes to the earth's atmosphere, leaving many questions on the future development of the atmosphere unanswered. The Ruisdael Observatory will measure and model the atmosphere above the Netherlands in a very precise way. The Ruisdael Infrastructure consists of a dense nationwide network of measuring points, comprising a fixed measuring network, mobile sensors and comprehensive ground stations that will provide data on the physical and chemical properties of the atmosphere and its interaction with the earth's surface. A new computational facility processes the observed data in real-time models. In this way, the Ruisdael Observatory provides a detailed 3D picture of changes in local weather, climate and air quality, and address the great challenge for the atmospheric sciences: to make short-term, local and detailed forecasts as well as predicting the future of the atmosphere.

The concept of Ruisdael Observatory is optimized to address the challenges the atmospheric sciences face in a very diverse and heterogeneous setting. The Dutch emission landscape is a perfect example of the situation expected to develop in many urbanized regions of the world. Emissions of CO2 are strongly linked to people’s daily activities. Food production close to urban areas incurs large emissions of methane from livestock husbandry, while intensive agriculture typically comes with high emissions of ammonia. Industry, gas and oil production, and freight transport are all of vital economic importance, but each comes with their own emissions. Ultra-fine aerosol particles are directly emitted by traffic and industrial sources, but also result from new particle formation in the atmosphere. Together this constitutes a typical ‘urban landscape’, where interactions between processes are expected to function in a different way than in more homogeneous landscapes, because of the small scale of heterogeneity.
Present facilities to study atmospheric processes lack the ability to routinely link data and models at different spatial and temporal scales, which is essential for the improvement of the reliability of climate change predictions and sink/source attribution. This gap will be filled by the Ruisdael Observatory. Observations and models will be merged in real time to extrapolate the spatial representativity of local observations and form a virtual laboratory for studying multi-scale processes in atmospheric chemistry and physics, and by doing so improve the accuracy of climate, weather and air quality models. This merger of observations and models within Ruisdael involves:
- the deployment of sensor networks for attribution of spatial variability of aerosols, greenhouse and
other trace gases to sources and sinks, incl. in situ support for the use of satellite data;
- transforming measurement profiles from 1D vertical profiles of wind, temperature, humidity, clouds and rain to true 3D volume scans to get a realistic representation of the atmospheric variability and dynamics influencing the small-scale processes;
- introducing the observational capability to study fundamental small-scale processes;
- simultaneous coupling of models to the observational data acquired at different spatial and temporal scales on ground, in the atmosphere as well as from space.

The Ruisdael Observatory is an advancement and extension of existing facilities. It consists of:
-The CESAR Observatory in Cabauw, coordinated by KNMI. This is one of the most advanced and complete atmospheric monitoring stations worldwide which is part of many international networks, including ICOS and ACTRIS;
-The coastal atmospheric monitoring station Lutjewad in the North of the country, coordinated by University of Groningen. Lutjewad is incorporated in the European ICOS network and a proposed site for ACTRIS;
- A forest station in Loobos, coordinated by Wageningen University, for measuring the atmosphere–land interaction of CO2, H2O, biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), and ozone, also part of ICOS, in an environment different from Cabauw;
- A distributed urban network in and around Rotterdam, coordinated by TNO;
- Mobile facilities (instrumented van and trailer, aircraft, drone AirCore, transportable cloud profiler, scintillometer network) for measurements between the fixed stations and for routinely mapping GHG concentrations, coordinated by TNO;
- The computational capability for real-time Large-Eddy simulations;
- A world class facility to collect and store all data obtained from the various observational sites. The database of Ruisdael will be connected to observational facilities of public agencies and universities and EU infrastructures ACTRIS and ICOS.

Both CESAR and ICOS-NL from the 2016 National Roadmap for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure are integrated in the Ruisdael Observatory.

Aansluiting bij strategische ontwikkelingen