The high-tech atmospheric research observatory in Romania is ready for operation, thanks to a €2.43 million grant from Norway and €0.44 million co-financing from National Agency for Scientific Research. The opening is scheduled for September 28, 2011 in Magurele, Ilfov county. His Excellency Mr. Oystein Hovdkinn, the Ambassador of Norway, and Mr. Ciaran Dearle from the European Commission, together with more than 70 guests will attend to the event.

The new building of the Romanian Atmospheric Observatory (RADO) was constructed in less than 1 year, and hosts the observatory's Data Center and the Science Center. The Observatory is in fact a common initiative of 6 Romanian partners (National Institute of R&D for Optoelectronics, "A. I Cuza" University of Iasi, "Babes Bolyai" University of Cluj-Napoca, "Horia Hulubei" National Institute of Research and Development for Physical and Nuclear Engineering, National Meteorological Administration, Politechnica University of Timisoara, University of Bucharest - Faculty of Physics) under the advice of a well-know Norwegian research Institute - NILU.

Main functions of the observatory are experimental and theoretical research for atmospheric composition and air quality assessment including both operational activities (monitoring) and scientific activities (studies, analysis). Students and young researchers have a great and unique data resource for their research. The novelty of the measurements consists in the cutting-edge instruments (lidars, sunphotometers, microwave radiometer, sodar) that are monitoring the atmosphere.

High-tech laser beams traveling up to 15Km above the surface of the earth are already being used in 5 points (Magurele, Baneasa, Iasi, Cluj and Timisoara) and provide near real time information on atmosphere layers, clouds and plumes. RADO is watching the sky and senses volcanic ash, Saharan dust and biomass burning, whatever the plumes reach the ground or stay suspended at kilometers altitude. Magurele hosts the Faculty of Physics as well as research institutes in nuclear physics, earth physics, astronomy and cutting-edge technologies for measuring pollution indicators. Therefore, it is the best place for RADO to develop its educational programs for children, students and graduates, but also the right place to perform high quality research on atmospheric physics.

The Remote Sensing Dept. in INOE is the main promoter of the RADO project, which we hope is just the beginning of a long-term operation research infrastructure.