The Mount Curcio CNR-IIA Climatic-Environmental Atmospheric Observatory is located in a strategic and isolated position within the Sila Grande area, one of the main three areas making-up the Sila National Park, which is officially recognized, since June 2014, as the Tenth Reserve of Italian Biosphere. It is characterized by no local sources of contamination and no access by road and it is 200 m from a ski resort and from the cable car arrival point of the surrounding ski area. The observatory is situated at 1780 m a.s.l. on a southern Apennine mountain peak with completely free horizon, thus allowing to gain atmospheric monitoring measurements with a large spatial representativeness. It is interestingly placed on the middle of the Mediterranean basin, around 30 and 60 km from the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian Sea, respectively.
Due to its elevation and position, the Mt. Curcio atmospheric observatory is even able to intercept dust plumes from the Saharan desert as well as volcanic ashes and gases from Stromboli and Mt. Etna volcanoes, located at around 120 km south-easterly and 220 km south-south easterly from the atmospheric monitoring site, respectively. The observatory is part of the Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) of the World Meteorological Organization to assess the “state of health” of the atmosphere and to support good environmental policies. The observatory performs measurements on chemical composition, trace and clima-altering gases, and meteorological parameters.
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