Measurements of Aerosol Profiles above Tirana have started

Leipzig, 15.11.2022

New insights into air quality and climate expected in the Western Balkans



Tirana/Leipzig. For the first time, a ground-based polarization lidar will explore the atmosphere above Albania by green laser light. The device was developed and built in Leipzig at the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS). The automated Raman lidar Polly was installed in November on the roof of the Agricultural University of Tirana by the Lidar Group of TROPOS. The Rector of the university and the Vice-Rector for science were among those present at the inauguration ceremony. The measurements are part of the cooperation between TROPOS and the Agricultural University of Tirana. The system should remain in Tirana for at least a year.

The measurements are the first of their kind ever in Albania. So far, such measurements are regularly carried out in the Western Balkans only in Belgrade (Serbia). But especially the mountainous south of the Western Balkans suffers from heavy air pollution in the winter months. The data from Tirana should therefore help to better understand the impact of aerosols and clouds on health and climate.


Aerosol particles in the atmosphere have a large impact on the global radiation budget, on clouds, on plants, and on the human health. These particles are produced or emitted by different processes and dispersed and transported locally, regionally, continentally, and even intercontinentally.
Especially, dust from deserts, smoke particles from biomass burning processes, anthropogenic particles from industrial and other human activities, and sea salt particles from the oceans are distributed worldwide and have a big impact on weather and climate.
The transport of aerosol particles occurs at different height levels in the atmosphere, from the ground layer up to the stratosphere in 10-15 km height. Only lidar systems are capable of capturing the vertical distribution of these particles and their impact on cloud formation and glaciation.
Mid November 2022, a laser radar system for vertically resolved aerosol measurements started its operation at the Agricultural University of Tirana. For the first time, such vertically-resolved measurements are performed in Albania by such a ground-based aerosol lidar. The installed system uses green laser light for the detection of the vertical structure of particle layers in the atmosphere and applies up-to-date techniques (depolarization measurement and Raman scattering) to discriminate the different particle types at the different altitudes in the atmosphere.
The researchers expect new insights into the vertical aerosol distribution above Albania close to the sea. This knowledge is important to understand air pollution, to study the distribution of aerosols, to feed climate models, and also to improve satellite observations of climate parameters from space.
This atmospheric research project is a cooperation between the Agricultural University of Tirana and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Germany.



Lidar data online
The lidar data from Tirana are online and open access within PollyNet:



Contacts for media:

Dr. Dietrich Althausen / Gladiola Malollari / Dr. Ronny Engelmann
Working Group Ground Based Remote Sensing, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS)
Phone +49 341 2717-7063
Phone +49 341 2717-7315
Dr Albert Ansmann
Leader of the Working Group Ground Based Remote Sensing, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS)
Phone +49 341 2717-7064

Tilo Arnhold
Public Relations, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS)
Phone: +49-341-2717-7189


Further information and links:

PollyNet - Worldwide Aersosol Characterization

Polarization lidar

Raman lidar


Press release of Agricultural University of Tirana

Universiteti Bujqësor i Tiranës (UBT)


Klan TV: Shqipëria nis matjen e ndotjes në hapësirë (Albania starts measuring pollution in the atmosphere) - Feature on Albanian Television Klan on the launch of the new PollyXT lidar in Tirana (13.11.22):

SCAN TV: Pasojat e ndotjes së ajrit në mjedis e shëndet (Environmental and Health Consequences of Air Pollution) - Interview with Gladiola Malollari (UBT/TROPOS) on Albanian Television SCAN on the launch of the new PollyXT lidar in Tirana (11.11.22):



The Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) is a member of the Leibniz Association, which connects 97 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services.
The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad.
They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder, employing some 20,500 individuals, including 11,500 researchers.
The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 2 billion euros. They are financed jointly by the Federal Government and the Länder. The basic funding of the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) is therefore financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Saxon State Ministry of Science and the Arts (SMWK). The Institute is co-financed with tax revenues on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.

Thumbs up for the start: The team from the Agricultural University of Tirana and TROPOS after successful installation. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS

PhD student Gladiola Malollari and supervisor Dr Ronny Engelmann setting up the technology. Gladiola Malollari studied physics at the University of Tirana and is now writing her dissertation at the Agricultural University of Tirana and TROPOS. The new cooperation is thanks to her commitment. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS

The Agricultural University is located in the suburb of Kamza in the north of the Albanian capital Tirana and has about 6000 students. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS

The lidar system from Leipzig was installed on the balcony of the library building of the Agricultural University. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS

Night in Tirana. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS

The green beam of the laser has been visible over Tirana since November. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS

The system is to remain in Tirana for at least a year and give new insights into particles in the atmosphere and their effects on air pollution and climate. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS

Lidars is the technical term for a light radar: a short laser light pulse is emitted 50 times per second and the radiation reflected back (backscatter) from the atmosphere is measured with time resolution. Photo: Dietrich Althausen, TROPOS