The station open again for the 2017 season

Power and remote communication at the station were restored on June 22nd.  Current measurements include:

  • Aerosol light scattering and backscattering at 3 wavelengths
  • Optical particle count at two sizes (>0.3 microns and >0.4 microns)
  • Ozone
  • Black carbon
  • Aerosol sample collection for off-line microscopy analysis

Other instruments are planned to be installed soon. The intensive field campaign period will take place in July.

The Pico Mountain caldera lying above the clouds as seen from the aircraft on the way to Horta (20 June 2017)
Inspecting the power cable (21 June 2017)
Beautiful day at the station (21 June 2017)

Ilha Maior Newspaper Story – English Version

Andrea Baccarini, Claudio Mazzoleni and Lynn Mazzoleni were interviewed by David Borges,  a local newspaper reporter in Madalena, in July 2015. Here’s the newspaper story that resulted from our talk.

Published on September 4, 2015 (Versão em Português Disponível)

This story was translated using Google Translate.

‘Pico NARE’ is a reference station for scientists to study atmospheric pollution

Written by David Borges, Ilha Maior

The station ‘Pico NARE’ that is placed in the mountain crater remains an observatory of excellence to study air pollution that flows in the North Atlantic.

This importance was underlined in a statement to Ilha Maior by Claudio Mazzoleni. The scientist says that Pico is unique and is to Europe as Hawaii is to the American continent: “They are like sentinels that intersect each other pollution coming from the west. In the case of Pico it is a point in the middle of the Atlantic, a unique tower that provides access to the free troposphere, allowing the study of the properties of these particles. ”

The scientist Lynn Mazzoleni, which in recent years has used the observatory to develop various types of studies, said that despite the difficulties to ensure the necessary funding the observatory will not close. According to the scientist at Michigan Tech, in addition to the United States’ interest in all that relates to the climate, Portugal is also aware of the Observatory; there is even a large group linked to the investigation of the atmosphere and the chemistry that has a proposal to use station as a privileged place to develop various atmospheric studies.

“There are always new things to discover and want to know more and more. So far, we have already seen the transformation of particles in a way that had never been observed before because the morphology changes with transport and we suspect that it is a consequence of the clouds,” the North American scientist says. Adding that among the various ongoing studies at the station founded in 2001 by Richard Honrath, “scientists try to identify the second component in the atmosphere that contribute to warming and that can be a major cause of global warming resulting from fires or other types of combustion.”

In addition to this work, one of the currently ongoing studies at the ‘Pico NARE’ is being developed by a student of the Italian University of Trento.

The work consists of going up and down the mountain with portable instruments to improve the accuracy of measurements, trying to characterize the vertical composition of aerosols in the atmosphere.

The study is part of the final thesis for Andrea Baccarini, the student who opted to work at Pico and not only work in the laboratory: “Pico is an ideal place for such a study because it is a remote location outside the major cities where it is possible to make measurements in the free troposphere, which allows to make sure that what we measure is not spot on the island production, but from the northern United States, Canada and Alaska where there is a lot of lack of water and the particles that go to atmosphere get to reach this island. ”

The student of the Italian university said it would be possible to carry out the job at Pico Mountain, because the instruments can go in your backpack. However, he clarifies that the ‘Pico NARE’ station contributes to more accurately compare and confirm measurements with those of portable instruments.

Andrea Baccarini does not know when he will have to present conclusions, but he expects that by the end of the year have been able to work all the collected data and he will present the results as soon as possible.

See also – Story by Andrea Baccarini


Paulo Fialho

imagePaulo Fialho, Ph. D.

Professor of Chemistry at Azores University

Research Gate Profile


Dr. Fialho is a founding collaborator of the Pico Mountain Observatory.  He has been measuring black carbon at the site since 2001.

Dr. Fialho is the primary point of contact for activities at the Pico Mountain Observatory.

Ilha Maior Artigo de Jornal – Portuguese Versão

Kendra Wright, Lorentyna Harkness , Claudio Mazzoleni e Lynn Mazzoleni  foram entrevistados por David Borges, um repórter de um jornal local em Madalena, em julho de 2013. Aqui está a história jornal que resultou da nossa conversa.

Publicado em 16 de agosto de 2013  (English Version Available)

Escrito por David Borges

A Universidade Tecnológica do Michigan, com o apoio da Fundação Nacional de Ciência, do Departamento de Energia dos Estados Unidos e da NASA, está a desenvolver dois novos projetos na estação Pico Nare instalada no topo da montanha do Pico para estudar o efeito climático dos aerossóis. Os projetos, com dois e três anos de duração, baseiam-se no estudo das propriedades químicas e também das características óticas das partículas como a cor e a forma que determinam a sua interação com a luz solar.

Na estação colocada desde 2001 na cratera da montanha os especialistas esperam observar aerossóis provenientes do continente americano, resultantes por exemplo do fumo de grandes incêndios localizados sobretudo na parte norte do continente, com origem no Canadá e/ou Estados Unidos da América.

Continue reading Ilha Maior Artigo de Jornal – Portuguese Versão

Ilha Maior Newspaper Story – English Version

Kendra Wright, Lorentyna Harkness, Claudio Mazzoleni and Lynn Mazzoleni were interviewed by David Borges,  a local newspaper reporter in Madalena, in July 2013. Here’s the newspaper story that resulted from our talk.

Published on August 16, 2013 (Versão em Português Disponível)

This story was translated using Google Translate.

Mountain Station Assesses Climate Change 

Written by David Borges

The Michigan Technological University, with support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy of the United States and NASA, is developing two new projects in the Pico Nare station installed at the top of Pico Mountain to study the climatic effect of aerosols. The projects, with two and three years in duration, based on the study of chemical properties and also the optical characteristics of the particles as color and shape that determine their interaction with sunlight.
Placed at the station since 2001 in the crater of the mountain experts expect to observe aerosols from the Americas, resulting eg smoke from large fires mainly located in the northern part of the continent, from Canada and/or the United States of America.

Up in the Air

Lynn and Claudio Mazzoleni were interviewed by Kevin Hodur for the  2015 Michigan Tech Research Magazine article.

Here’s an excerpt of the story.

Written by Kevin Hodur

Deep in the eastern Atlantic, roughly 900 miles west of Portugal, lies the tiny island of Pico. On maps, it looks like nothing— hardly more than a pinpoint in a sea of blue. But to atmospheric researchers, the remote island’s towering Pico Mountain holds the key to understanding how aerosols may impact climate change.

Pico Mountain is one of nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores archipelago. Its size, however, sets it apart: at nearly 8,000 feet, it’s one of the highest mountains in the Atlantic and more than twice the elevation of neighboring peaks. To hike to the top is to enter an entirely new world, up in the clouds.

It is the high altitude—along with Pico Mountain’s isolated Atlantic location—that make it the ideal place to study aerosols. These high-in-the-sky aerosol particles are what interest Michigan Tech researchers. For years, they have worked with collaborators to sample particles atop the peak at the Pico Mountain Observatory, learning more about the sources and characteristics of aerosols. These aerosols have a large but not completely understood influence on our atmosphere.

Continue reading Up in the Air

Claudio Mazzoleni

IMG_4386Claudio Mazzoleni, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Physics at Michigan Tech

Research Group Webpage

Google Scholar Profile

Dr. Mazzoleni is the principal investigator of the Department of Energy funded research at the Pico Mountain Observatory to study the optical properties of aerosol above marine clouds.  His group’s most recent technical publications from this work include: “Morphology and mixing state of aged soot particles at a remote marine free troposphere site: Implications for optical properties” and “Perturbations of the optical properties of mineral dust particles by mixing with black carbon: a numerical simulation study“.

Lynn Mazzoleni

IMG_5515 Lynn Mazzoleni, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry at Michigan Tech

Research Group Webpage

Google Scholar Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Dr. Mazzoleni is the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation funded work at the Pico Mountain Observatory to study long-range transported aerosol.  Her group’s most recent technical publication from this work is titled, Molecular Characterization of Free Tropospheric Aerosol Collected at the Pico Mountain Observatory: A Case Study with a Long Range Transported Biomass Burning Plume. (Read more)

Detlev Helmig

 dhelmigDetlev Helmig, Ph. D.

Associate Research Professor at the  Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)

Research Group Webpage

Pico Mountain Research Webpage


Dr. Helmig has been working at the Pico Mountain Observatory since 2004.  His expertise involves measuring trace gases at very low concentrations in remote environments.  His group’s most recent publication from research at the Pico Mountain Observatory is titled, “Climatology and Atmospheric Chemistry of Non-Methane Hydrocarbons Ethane and Propane over the North Atlantic” to be published in Elementa.

K-12 Education Outreach

IMG_1407“I was out in the field on the island with the team for part of last summer,” Harkness says.

Lorentyna Harkness and Lynn Mazzoleni sat down with Michigan Tech reporter, Danny Messinger, to talk about our outreach activities for this project. Here’s an excerpt of the story.

Written by Danny Messinger

If you ask an eighth or ninth grader what a scientist really does, you’re likely to hear plenty about wearing lab goggles and white coats, watching bubbling beakers, and preparing microscope slides. But besides surface-level attributes, many students have trouble explaining what being a scientist actually entails.

That’s exactly the issue Lorentyna Harkness aims to tackle. Harkness is a high school science teacher earning a master’s in applied science education at Michigan Technological University. As part of her degree program, she is teaming up with Tech chemistry and physics faculty to break complex scientific principles into bite-sized chunks for teenage students and to clarify what scientists actually do. And that’s music to Lynn Mazzoleni’s ears.

Continue reading K-12 Education Outreach

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