EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A decade of atmospheric composition observations in the undersampled Central Andes

Marcos Andrade1,2, Diego Aliaga3, Luis Blacutt1, Ricardo Forno1, René Gutierrez1, Fernando Velarde1, Isabel Moreno1, Laura Ticona1, Alfred Wiedensohler4, Radek Krejci5, Michel Ramonet6, Olivier Laurent6, David Whiteman7, Claudia Mohr5, and Paolo Laj8
Marcos Andrade et al.
  • 1University Mayor de San Andres, Institute for Physics Research, Physics, La Paz, Bolivia (
  • 2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, 00014, Finland
  • 4Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 5Department of Environmental Science, Bolin Centre of Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm 10691, Sweden
  • 6Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 7Howard University, Washington, DC USA
  • 8Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, Grenoble, France

Ten years of almost continuous observations at the highest Global Atmosphere Watch Regional station in the world are presented here. The Chacaltaya observatory (5240 m asl, 16.3ºS, 68.1ºW) was set up in December 2011. It is currently the only operational station characterizing optical and chemical properties of climate-relevant aerosol and gases in Bolivia and in a radius of about 1500 kilometers from the station. The observations show a clear influence of the well-marked dry and wet meteorological seasons. In addition, the impact on the Andean mountains of long and mid-range transport of biomass burning products from the lowlands is clearly recorded in different parameters measured at the station. Furthermore, the nearby presence of the largest metropolitan area in the region (~1.8 million inhabitants) is observed almost on a daily basis, and therefore different campaigns were carried out to characterize the area and its influence on our measurements. Specific results from these campaigns are discussed elsewhere. Finally, the topographic complexity represents an important challenge for modeling efforts in order to understand sources and sinks (and associated processes) of the observed parameters, requiring not only high spatial resolution and the correct choice of model options, but a novel way of interpreting these results. The decade of collaboration of an international consortium made it possible to keep the station running successfully. The challenge is now to preserve its functioning for the coming decades in a region with historically few high-quality observations while disrupting environmental and socio-economic changes take place.

How to cite: Andrade, M., Aliaga, D., Blacutt, L., Forno, R., Gutierrez, R., Velarde, F., Moreno, I., Ticona, L., Wiedensohler, A., Krejci, R., Ramonet, M., Laurent, O., Whiteman, D., Mohr, C., and Laj, P.: A decade of atmospheric composition observations in the undersampled Central Andes, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10801,, 2022.