Climate: ENEA Observatory in Sicily joins the Global Atmosphere Watch network


WMO has recognized the ENEA Madonie Observatory (Palermo) as a regional station for the central Mediterranean area.

World-class “sentinels” for climate change to collect atmospheric data at high altitudes and monitor climate change. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has awarded the ENEA Madonie Observatory official recognition as a regional station for the entire central Mediterranean area as part of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), the worldwide network for the study of climate change which involves approximately 80 countries.

The news was released on the occasion of the World Meteorological Day which every 23 March commemorates the coming into force of the Convention that in 1950 established the UN’s World Meteorological Organization[1].

“This international recognition confirms Italy’s excellence in environmental protection research and will allow the station to play an increasingly important scientific role.

It also strengthens ENEA’s position in the global network: the Madonie Observatory, in fact, adds to the Lampedusa Observatory, in operation since 1992", Francesco Monteleone, researcher at the Laboratory of Observations and Measurements for the Environment and Climate, pointed out.

"The high altitude, geographical position, absence of local contamination and accuracy of measurements make the "Piano Battaglia" station an excellent site for global-scale monitoring and for studying the complex mechanisms of climate change, in accordance with the United Nations agenda for promoting the important role of mountain ecosystems as sentinels for climate change ”, Alcide di Sarra, researcher at the Laboratory of Observations and Measurements for the Environment and Climate said.

The ENEA station is located at about 1,700 meters above sea level, in the Piano Battaglia area of the municipality of Petralia Sottana (Palermo), on the southern slope of Pizzo Carbonara (1,979 meters above sea level), within the Madonie Regional Park (37.88 ° N , 14.03 ° E) - since 2015 UNESCO World Geopark - and currently the eighth greenhouse gas monitoring point in Italy and the only high altitude site in Sicily.

The Observatory is also a strategic element of the project PULVIRUS, launched last year to study the link between air pollution and the Covid-19 pandemic, the physico-chemical-biological interactions between fine particles and viruses and the effects of the "lockdown " on air pollution and greenhouse gases. The project comprises ENEA, the National Health Institute (ISS) and the National System for Environmental Protection (SNPA, composed of ISPRA and the Regional Agencies of the National System for Environmental Protection).

In 2005 the Observatory researchers started a program of meteorological data measurement and weekly sampling to monitor the concentration of the main greenhouse gases, like  carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), carbon dioxide. nitrogen (N2O) and carbon monoxide (CO). The observatory concerns a vast central area of the Mediterranean  stretching from the Tyrrhenian Sea to North Africa.

The air samples, collected in special 3-liter glass bottles through a pumping system, are then analyzed in the accredited laboratories of the ENEA Observatory in Lampedusa - also part of the GAW – and the European infrastructure networks ICOS, ACTRIS, EMSO and global measurement networks, including AERONET, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Cooperative Gas Sampling Network.

Over the years, the Observatory has developed thanks to the contribution of local institutions including: Municipality of Petralia Sottana, Madonie Park Authority, Forestry Corps, Department of Rural and Territorial Development of the Sicily Region and Regional Forestry Property.


For more information please contact:

Francesco Monteleone – ENEA Palermo Territorial Headquarters:

Alcide di Sarra –ENEA Frascati Research Center:

In-depths links:

[1]This year's edition, dedicated to "The Ocean, our Climate and Time", aims at raising awareness among member countries on the importance of these three elements which, when combined, determine the atmospheric and climate dynamics of our Planet and climate change impacts.



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