MAICA: Mediterranean Aerosol In Coastal Areas

User group PI: Jacques Piazzola, University of Toulon – Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO), France

Hosting infrastructure: CNR Acqua Alta Oceanographic Tower, Italy

Main Objectives

The estimation of the atmospheric aerosol impact on climate remains an important scientific challenge (e.g. IPCC, 2013). The aerosol particles can be emitted from natural and/or anthropogenic sources. Among them, sea-spray aerosols generated at the air-sea interface by wave breaking represent a major aerosol emission at global scale with a key role in the Earth radiation budget. Lining seven European countries, the Mediterranean Sea is a hot spot for climate change, a region sensitive for precipitation extreme events and its coastal areas constitute specific zones of a large variability for aerosol properties.

The present project deals with the spatio-temporal evolution of the aerosols in Mediterranean coastal areas on a basis of the implementation of a chain of grid-nested models dedicated to the aerosol sources and transport processes at local scale of coastal areas. To this end, physical-chemical aerosol data for different geographical locations over the Mediterranean are required. The present proposal follows the MAPOM project conducted previously in 2014 under the JERICO program (grant agreement n° 262584 FP7). This study focused on the sea-spray contribution and the anthropogenic influence in the coastal aerosol using measurements of aerosol size distributions acquired in the Northern Adriatic on board the Acqua Alta tower. By comparing with data recorded in the French Mediterranean, the results indicated a similar sea surface production of sea-spray aerosols issued from bubble bursting processes in these two locations. The sea-surface source function formulation proposed in Demoisson et al. (2013) can be then generalized to the whole Mediterranean (Piazzola et al., 2016). In addition, the Adriatic experiments confirmed the occurrence of interaction processes between sea-spray and anthropogenic components (Piazzola et al., 2016). The objectives of the present project are first to confirm the earlier results about the sea-spray source function and the sea-spray content of organic matter. In addition, this should go forward to establish an accurate formulation for the spume drops production and allows implementation and validation of a nested model chain dedicated to the aerosol transport in coastal areas in the Northern Adriatic. This will be achieved by addressing a more comprehensive understanding of:

1) the sea-spray production processes, more particularly the spume drops contribution;

2) the interaction between sea spray and anthropogenic pollutants using a chemical analysis of the organic matter, as OC (and biogenic component), BC, EC measurements and MSA.


Demoisson, A, Tedeschi, G and J. Piazzola (2013) A model for the atmospheric transport of sea-salt particles in coastal areas, Atmospheric Research, vol 132-133, pp. 144-153,

Piazzola, J., Mihalopoulos, N., Canepa, E., Tedeschi, G., Prati, P., Zarmpas, P., Bastianini, M., Missamou T. and L. Cavaleri (2016) Characterization of aerosols above the Northern Adriatic Sea: case studies of offshore and onshore wind conditions, Atmospheric Environment, n° 132. pp. 153–162, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.02.044.

DATA: (in construction)

Project Report:

MAICA Report Final (837.7 KiB)