Located in a valley in the Montseny range, Barcelona. It is placed at the Vilar de la Castanya (41°46’45.63″N, 02°21’28.92″E, 720 m a.s.l), a research state belonging to the Generalitat de Catalunya.

The MSY observatory consists of two sites, 200 m distant: the Mas de l’Adrobau and the Vilar de la Castanya.


Mas del Vilar de la Castanya

The Vilar de la Castanya consists of two floors. There is a laboratory for sample preparation and two big rooms which will be used to install instruments, but also a kitchen, a living room, five dormitories and bathrooms.

The Vilar de la Castanya is integrated in the Montseny experimental site and designated to:

  1. Improve the infrastructure of the Montseny monitoring site
  2. Allow the installation of new equipment as an extension of the Mas de l’Adrobau station.
  3. Organization of field campaigns, scientific meetings, seminars or workshops.
  4. Allow the access and accommodation of external researchers during campaigns, meetings or workshops

Mas de L’Adrobau

The Montseny monitoring site for atmospheric pollution is located in the Mas de l’Adrobau and includes:

1. Unit from the Generalitat de Catalunya (3x3x3 m)

Equipped with:

  1. Automatic analysers for NOx, O3, SO2 and CO.
  2. Optical particle counter for particle number and mass concentrations in different size ranges (0.4-30 µm).

2. Unit from IDAEA-CSIC (4x3x3 m)

This unit is equipped with different measurement equipment for the monitoring of physical and chemical aerosol parameters, which are interesting for air quality, climate and health, such as:

  1. Submicron particle number concentrations (>2.5nm) and size distributions (10-800 nm).
  2. BC concentrations, absorption coefficients.
  3. Scattering and backscattering coefficients.
  4. Real-time chemical speciation of non-refractory submicron aerosol.
  5. PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 sampling, gravimetry and chemical speciation.

This site is included in the European Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research InfraStructure network (ACTRIS) and the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) network, from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).



Research carried out at this site is included in the Air Quality and Exposure assessment research lines.

This research aims to:

  • Investigation of the origin and the major processes influencing the variability, composition and physical properties of atmospheric aerosols in the Western Mediterranean.
  • Interpret the spatial and temporal variability of physico-chemical and optical parameters of atmospheric aerosols in a regional background area frequently affected by the anthropogenic emissions from the Barcelona conurbation and Valles industrial area and by long range transport episodes.

  • Identify the source origin and atmospheric processes controlling aerosol levels and characteristics during the winter and summer PM pollution episodes in NE Spain, with special interest in organic aerosols.

  • Quantify the origin of mineral matter in regional aerosols in NE Spain.

This site is frequently affected by anthropogenic emissions from the Barcelona conurbation and Valles industrial areas. So can be considered as representative of regional environments in the Western Mediterranean Basin as demonstrated by a number of research publications.


PMx levels and PM speciation measurements obtained in the framework of the national research projects are available since 2002.
Records of more aerosol parameters and gaseous pollutants are available since 2008.

Parameter Instrument Time resolution Starting year
Continuous aerosol measurements
PMx size distribution, number, and mass concentration (0.3-30µm) GRIMM 180MC 5′ 2002
UF number concentration CPC TSI 3776 5′ 2012
UF size distribution (10-800nm) SMPS (TROPOS) 5′ 2009
Absorption coefficient Thermo Scientific 5012 MAAP 1′ 2009
Absorption coefficient AE33 Magee Aerosol doo 1′ 2012
Scattering coefficient Nephelometer Aurora 3000 1′ 2010
PM1 SO42- ACSM -Aerodyne 30′ 2012-2013
PM1 NO3- ACSM -Aerodyne 30′ 2012-2013
PM1 NH4+ ACSM -Aerodyne 30′ 2012-2013
PM1 Cl- ACSM -Aerodyne 30′ 2012-2013
PM1 Organics ACSM -Aerodyne 30′ 2012-2013
Gaseous compounds
NOx Model 42i-TL Chemiluminiscence 2008
CO Teledyne 300 EU Gas filter correlation 2008
SO2 Teledyne 100 EU UV fluorescence 2008
O3 MCV 48AV UV photometry 2008
CO2 / CH4 2014
For more information of offline paremeters and instruments visit Measurements

Data are periodically sent to GAW, ACTRIS and EMEP and stored in EBAS database managed by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU). These data are available and can be used by other research groups and are useful for the validation of atmospheric and climate models.