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Pic du Midi Observatory (2877m)

panorama Pic 5

Pic - 1882 photo

The Pic du Midi Observatory was created in 1878 for the purpose of meteorological and other diverse scientific observations. Astronomy followed little after and the first domed telescope was built in 1906. During the 20th century both astronomic and atmospheric chemistry observations have expanded and created a unique high altitude observatory. The longest time series of ozone measurements (ozone is a pollutant in the lower atmosphere) has been made at the Pic du Midi, from 1874 to today. Modern atmospheric chemistry measurements are undertaken at the Plateforme Pyrénéenne d'Observations Atmosphériques ( P2OA) and include continuous monitoring of ozone, carbon monoxide, black carbon, particles, optical aerosol density and meteorology.

Pic - 1920 photo
Mercury @ Pic du Midi.

In May 2011 we installed automated atmospheric Hg speciation sensors for gaseous elemental Hg (GEM), gaseous oxidized Hg (GOM) and particulate-bound Hg (PBM). The Pic du Midi station joined the FP7 funded Global Mercury Observation System ( project as an external site in 2012.

The scientific objectives regarding Hg are two-fold:

  • study the diurnal and seasonal tropospheric dynamics of Hg speciation
  • combine observations on Hg speciation with observations on atmospheric oxidants, such as ozone, Br and I radicals, by using DOAS.
  • study the variations in Hg stable isotope compositions associated with in situ tropospheric chemistry and with long-range transport of air masses.
Pic - 2000 photo

Hg speciation observations at the Pic du Midi are unique because of its high altitude location. Each month multiple intrusions of upper tropospheric air occur and GOM concentrations increase up to 500 pg/m3. The Pic du Midi is therefore ideal to test new methods for GOM observations.

If you are interested in expanding our list of observational parameters, please contact Jeroen Sonke: or tel# +33(0)561332606

We are currently looking for specialists in:

  • rain, snow and dry deposition sampling for Hg

Your participation can range from month to year to multi-year observations.

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