Upgrade of Frederick Research Center's infrastructure for predicting extreme weather phenomena

Dr. Christina Economou is coordinating the CYGMEN proposal, which secured funding of 1.5 million euros from the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF) to enhance the existing infrastructure of Frederick Research Center for monitoring extreme weather phenomena.

The CYGMEN project (Cyprus GNSS Meteorology Enhancement), will contribute to monitoring extreme weather phenomena and has secured funding of 1.5 million euros from the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF). The project is coordinated by Dr. Christina Economou, a researcher at the Frederick Research Center and a member of the Cyprus Ionospheric Research Group (CyIRG).

CYGMEN is one of only five projects that received funding nationwide after submitting proposals to RIF's Call for Strategic Research Infrastructure. It's worth noting that our University's Mobile Devices Laboratory (MDL) and the Computational Intelligence Research Lab are partners in another successful proposal at the same call: Phenotypos project, coordinated by the University of Cyprus, secured funding of 2.2 million euros.

The CYGMEN project falls under the "Environment" thematic and aims to develop meteorological infrastructure to promote scientific excellence in weather forecasting and meteorology in Cyprus. Through CYGMEN, the creation of a Cyprus Meteorological System (CyMETEO) is proposed to strategically enhance the existing infrastructure of both Frederick Research Center and the Department of Meteorology in Cyprus. This upgrade will be achieved through the installation of a) a dense lighting detection network, b) a dense GNSS network for atmospheric water vapor estimation (supported by Cloudwater Ltd and the Nicosia Development Agency), c) a Radar Wind Profiler (RWP) and d) a Microwave Radiometer (MWR) for thermodynamical profiling.

"It's a set of significant tools that will allow us to comprehensively monitor severe weather conditions and provide short-term forecasts for rapidly developing storms in the region of Cyprus," explains Dr. Christina Economou. "It's important to note that through the upgrade of our research infrastructure, the work of the Department of Meteorology and other research centers in short-term weather forecasting will be strengthened. All the data we collect will be integrated into the Meteorological Service's system to provide more accurate predictions for extreme rainfall events."

In the long-term, this strategic infrastructure is expected to enhance the scientific capabilities of CYGMEN project partners and encourage future collaborations with European networks and neighboring African countries with compatible or complementary weather monitoring capabilities.

The CYGMEN project partners include Cloudwater Ltd, the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, and Environment's Department of Meteorology and the Nicosia Development Agency. Additionally, the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) is involved in the project as a Scientific Collaborator through the Observatory's METEO group. NOA's contribution is a key factor for the success of the project based on its long-term research experience in atmospheric physics, operational meteorology, and numerical weather prediction.

The Cyprus Ionospheric Research Group (CyIRG) has been operating at Frederick University since 2008, under the leadership of Dr. Haris Haralambous, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Informatics. The Unit's research focus is on monitoring and timely prediction of the impact of Space Weather on the upper atmosphere, specifically on the Ionosphere, and, by extension, on terrestrial and satellite telecommunication and positioning technological systems. The CYGMEN project is part of the strategic expansion of CyIRG's research activities into the monitoring of intense rainfall phenomena in the lower atmosphere.

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