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Juan Carlos Antuña Marrero, René Estevan Arredondo, and Boris Barja González

Optical properties of stratospheric aerosols and cirrus clouds and their radiative effects are currently important subjects of research worldwide. Those investigations are typical of developed countries, conducted by several highly specialized groups dedicated separately to instrumental observations, their interpretation in the context of the weather and climate, and the numerical simulation of their radiative effects. In Camagüey, Cuba, the Grupo de Óptica Atmosférica de Camagüey [Optics Atmospheric Group of Camagüey (GOAC)] has been conducting all those research projects together for a little more than 20 years, following a self-designed long-term strategy. The results of the strategy applied by GOAC demonstrates that, even in the conditions of an underdeveloped country, it is possible to build local scientific and technical capacities for conducting state-of-the-art research for the benefit of society, both locally and worldwide.

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Richard Anthes, Alan Robock, Juan Carlos Antuña-Marrero, Oswaldo García, John J. Braun, and René Estevan Arredondo

Abstract

In May 2014 a team of atmospheric and geodetic scientists from UNAVCO and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) sent and helped set up a global positioning system (GPS) receiver to measure atmospheric water vapor at the Grupo de Óptica Atmosférica de Camagüey (GOAC) at the Camagüey Meteorological Center in Camagüey, Cuba. The GPS receiver immediately began to produce observations of precipitable water, which are being shared with the international meteorological community. Obtaining permission from both sides to send a highly sensitive instrument from the United States to Cuba was not easy. This paper describes the series of events that led to this achievement, beginning with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) workshop in Rome, Italy, in 1994 in which Alan Robock met a young Cuban scientist named Juan Carlos Antuña and accepted him as a graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park. The GPS meteorology connection began with a March 2007 visit of a delegation from the United States headed by then American Meteorological Society (AMS) President Richard Anthes to Havana, Cuba, at the invitation of the Cuban Meteorological Society president, Andrés Planas. These two threads led to this remarkable cooperation between Cuban and U.S. scientists. Several visits to Cuba beginning in 2010 by Robock, who met former President of Cuba Fidel Castro and the science advisor to the president of Cuba, played a significant role.

This is another instance (the visit of the AMS delegation to China in 1974 was a prime example) of how communication and visits between meteorologists in countries that are at odds on many other issues can lead to lasting collaborations that benefit both countries as well as the international community.

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Juan Carlos Antuña, Aramis Fonte, René Estevan, Boris Barja, Roberto Acea, and Juan Carlos Antuña Jr.
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Juan Carlos Antuña-Marrero, Eduardo Landulfo, René Estevan, Boris Barja, Alan Robock, Elián Wolfram, Pablo Ristori, Barclay Clemesha, Francesco Zaratti, Ricardo Forno, Errico Armandillo, Álvaro E. Bastidas, Ángel M. de Frutos Baraja, David N. Whiteman, Eduardo Quel, Henrique M. J. Barbosa, Fabio Lopes, Elena Montilla-Rosero, and Juan L. Guerrero-Rascado

Abstract

Sustained and coordinated efforts of lidar teams in Latin America at the beginning of the twenty-first century have built the Latin American Lidar Network (LALINET), the only observational network in Latin America created by the agreement and commitment of Latin American scientists. They worked with limited funding but an abundance of enthusiasm and commitment toward their joint goal. Before LALINET, there were a few pioneering lidar stations operating in Latin America, described briefly here. Biannual Latin American lidar workshops, held from 2001 to the present, supported both the development of the regional lidar community and LALINET. At those meetings, lidar researchers from Latin America met to conduct regular scientific and technical exchanges among themselves and with experts from the rest of the world. Regional and international scientific cooperation has played an important role in the development of both the individual teams and the network. The current LALINET status and activities are described, emphasizing the processes of standardization of the measurements, methodologies, calibration protocols, and retrieval algorithms. Failures and successes achieved in the buildup of LALINET are presented. In addition, the first LALINET joint measurement campaign and a set of aerosol extinction profile measurements obtained from the aerosol plume produced by the Calbuco volcano eruption on 22 April 2015 are described and discussed.

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