DIAPASON is a demonstrative and innovative Project in the field of air-quality assessment. It deals with the improvement of the existing tools to assess the desert dust contribution to PM levels. In Southern Europe such contribution can often cause the PM10 concentrations in ambient air to exceed the air quality limit values set by the EU Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC.
The European legislation allows Member States to subtract the contribution of natural sources to PM10 levels by means of specific guidelines. DIAPASON intends to strengthen such EU guidelines by means of innovative and affordable technologies, partly prototyped within the project (Polarization Lidar-Ceilometer, PLC) and by Optical Particle Counters (OPC). PLCs are laser radars capable of detecting and profiling dust clouds from near ground up to 10 km altitude. The same instruments can be used to retrieve vertical profiles of volcanic and wildfire plumes (civil defence applications) as well as to provide height, phase and depth of clouds and fogs (meteorology and air traffic security).
The DIAPASON methodology for desert dust will be first implemented and demonstrated at three monitoring stations in the Rome metropolitan area. Continuous cooperation with important EU and national environmental agencies as well as networking with relevant Institutions/Projects in Europe is fundamental to the success of the Project. A Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) will provide guidance, targeting Project results to stakeholders’ requirements. Networking activities will be devoted to create a network of Institutions and relevant stakeholders to exchange knowledge and results.