According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
aerosol–cloud interactions represent the single largest uncertainty in
models for prediction of climate changes. Exploiting the recent and
rapid development of remote sensing instrumentation related to lidar,
radar and radiometry would be highly valuable. However, current
university curricula do not include these important techniques.
The 'Initial training for atmospheric remote sensing' (ITARS
project is fostering pan-European course development and training of a
new generation of scientists in academia and the private sector. With EU
support, the consortium is improving understanding and parameterisation
of aerosol and cloud processes in atmospheric models.
ITARS is fostering the synergistic use of various sensor systems
through its well-defined research agenda. Fellows become experts in the
use of one technology but combine it with at least one other instrument.
The project got off to a very dynamic start with a three-day
workshop featuring lectures by all the principal investigators and a
summer school focusing on instruments and the algorithms used for
interpretation of measurements. Transferable skills are an important
complement to technical ones when it comes to career success, so several
special courses have also been offered in science communication and
mentoring of doctoral students. Another on writing skills is on the
agenda for March 2015. The team is exploiting the well-established
learning platform Blackboard to which all members continuously
contribute online tutorials. During the second project period, another
summer school and two joint measurement campaigns organised largely by
the fellows themselves rounded out research and training programmes.
Network events and weekly e-seminars provide a valuable forum for
presenting research, detailing results and exchanging ideas. All
sessions are available on Blackboard.
Outreach began by raising awareness among the general public of
climate change and its potential impact. That is shifting as the project
moves forward to professional stakeholders and potential career
opportunities for the fellows. In October 2015 the ITARS fellows will
present themselves on a booth of the World Meteorological Technology
Expo in Brussels, an important meeting point of industry and academia in
the field of atmospheric remote sensing. The final event will showcase
fellows' work to the scientific community, manufacturers of
meteorological instruments and the media. A new era in observing and
understanding of aerosol–cloud interactions in support of climate
modelling is on the horizon.