We will create an unprecedented three-dimensional picture of the great “skies over Holland”, pioneered in canvas and paint by the famous 17th-century artist Jacob van Ruisdael.
Changes in atmospheric composition impact the atmosphere on various time scales. We have at present no adequate understanding of how the atmosphere might evolve in the future. The weather forecast is limited to days – partly due to the chaotic nature of weather itself – but also because we lack sufficient insight into the physics and chemistry of small-scale processes and how they are coupled to larger scale phenomena in the atmosphere.
Apart from the daily weather forecast, we also need to know the long-term trends of the weather, its variability and its extremes. How is the changing atmosphere affecting our climate, and consequently: our living environment? The science to address these issues requires data at different spatial and temporal scales in different environments, ranging from urban centres to forests or grass lands.
With the increasing availability of computational power and observational tools the atmospheric community is now at the brink of a new revolution. With the coupling of large flows of detailed observations to high resolution atmospheric model simulations, we are getting close to the realm of first principles: characterizing and predicting the state of the atmosphere based on the laws of nature with a minimized need for approximations of small-scale phenomena.
Atmospheric science encompasses many different disciplines from weather prediction to climatology, from air quality and greenhouse gas budgets to water cycle research and large-scale circulation. However, important breakthroughs in the most pressing scientific questions in many of these diverse disciplines require similar methodological advances:
The Ruisdael Observatory will provide the facilities to meet this goal. It will be operational in rural and urban areas to investigate the interaction between the heterogeneous mosaic landscape and the atmosphere. Observations and models will be merged in real time, integrating a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, to form a virtual laboratory for understanding multi-scale processes in atmospheric chemistry and physics, and by doing so improve the accuracy of climate, weather and air quality models on the regional scale. These key advances will lead to new knowledge of how the atmospheric processes at these scales are influenced by
which will allow to develop an explicit representation of atmospheric processes on the regional scale for weather, climate and air quality and as consequence advance our understanding of some of the most pressing questions in atmospheric science:
We will create an unprecedented three-dimensional picture of the great “skies over Holland”, pioneered in canvas and paint by the famous 17th-century artist Jacob van Ruisdael, and study the atmospheric processes using a combination of advanced sensors and high-resolution models. The location of Ruisdael Observatory – in a coastal climate and amidst major European industrial areas and cities - implies that a large variety of air masses and weather types are available for research. The Dutch landscape and human activities in it are well documented and intensively monitored. This unique combination of features makes the Ruisdael Observatory particularly attractive to international researchers working on improvement of both observational capabilities and modelling tools for climate change predictions for regions around the world. This will give us the novel insights we need to understand the atmosphere of today, predict that of tomorrow and of the decades to come. The Ruisdael Observatory is an integral part of the ESFRI infrastructures ICOS and ACTRIS in Europe.
Ruisdael Observatory is a collaboration between KNMI, TU-Delft, Wageningen University and Research, University Utrecht, TNO, RIVM, University of Groningen and VU-Amsterdam.