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Permanent observation site of Castelporziano

Permanent observation site of Castelporziano


The Presidential Estate of Castelporziano represents a key area for the maintenance of environmentally friendly conditions with the growing urbanization of the Roman sea coast. As part of the research undertaken by the various research bodies, CREA-FL has developed climate monitoring through the installation of 5 fully equipped automatic agro-climatic stations, which allow a detailed real-time analysis of the environmental parameters. 

The meteo stations are located in "Tor Paterno" for a characterization of the coastal strip, in "Castello" for a characterization of the central area of the highly anthropized district, in "Trafusa" adjacent to Via Cristoforo Colombo, an area subject to pollution of different nature due to the intense vehicular traffic and finally in the "Contumaci" area for monitoring the influence of the via Pontina adjacent to the southern area of the estate. The data collected, in addition to being the object of immediate use for the verification of cyclical climatic phenomena, are included in the climate database created at the Mediterranean Observatory of Coastal Areas whose headquarters is at the center of Castello within the Estate. 

In addition to detecting the main meto-climatic parameters, the experimental site "Grotta di Piastra" located in the holm oak forest of Castelporziano hosts one of the most technologically equipped sites in Europe for the study of greenhouse gas exchanges between vegetation and atmosphere. In particular, the CREA FL biometeorology research group carries out micrometeorological investigations (Eddy Covariance) to study the ability of vegetation to remove ozone, particles, CO2 and methane, and at the same time the damage caused by air pollutants to the photosynthetic apparatus. 

The data collected at Castelporziano are used to parameterize complex models that simulate the relationships between the biosphere and the atmosphere in the Mediterranean area. These models offer users the opportunity to understand the effect of plant-atmosphere interactions as an improvement element of air quality, and in general the ecosystem services that Mediterranean periurban forests can offer to the community. 

The results obtained so far show how holm oak plays an important role as a carbon reservoir during the growing season although seasonal variations in rainfall and temperature perturb the carbon sequestration capacities, producing high inter-annual variation. Continuous monitoring of ozone fluxes has made it possible to verify that holm oak plays a role of phytoremediation of the atmosphere, removing ozone from polluted air from the city of Rome. 

Recently, the experimental site was nominated as an ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) site, a European Research Infrastructure that is one of those selected by the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures). The aim is to create a network of monitoring stations for greenhouse gas flows and concentrations (GHGs) at European level, and Castelporziano, together with 4 other national sites, will contribute with the research infrastructure to long-term environmental research . 

The experimental sites within the Estate contribute to the objectives of the MOTTLES - LIFE15 ENV / IT / 000183 (MOnitoring ozone injury for seTTing new critical LEvelS) project. The aim is to define new critical levels of ozone for the protection of forests, which are based on scientific evidence, using a long-term environmental monitoring strategy. A network of meteorological stations for the simultaneous measurement of ozone and climatic parameters allows to model the stomatal fluxes of ozone and simulate their behavior in response to climate change. Finally, the integration of monitoring, modeling and the study of ozone damage indicators on vegetation makes it possible to define new criteria and standards to protect forests from ozone. 

In addition to having generated scientific prodution internationally (such as "Nature" and "Global Change Biology"), the results of the research are included in an international context thanks to the European projects coordinated by Fares and Salvati. 

Contacts: Silvano Fares – Luca Salvati 

Page update Permanent observation site of Castelporziano

Last update: 09 Oct 2020

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