Happy Birthday Barbados Cloud Observatory!

Ten years ago, the department “The Atmosphere in the Earth System”, led by Prof Bjorn Stevens, at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) together with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Barbados Museum & Historical Society set up a research site at the east-most point of the island of Barbados to observe trade wind clouds with state-of-the-art remote sensing instruments.

On 1st of April 2020 the Barbados Cloud Observatory (BCO) turned 10 years old. Friedhelm Jansen, engineer at MPI-M and man of the first hours of BCO: “We are very satisfied with the past 10 years and look confidently into the future with the knowledge that we will be able to rely on the support of our cooperation partners”. Without him and his colleagues Björn Brügmann, Lutz Hirsch, Ilya Serikov (all MPI-M) and Marvin Forde (CIMH) the BCO would not have been installed and run so successfully during the last ten years. Thank you to all of them!

BCO 2010 (Photo: MPI-M)

Ten years later the site has grown and became really rusty, but only from outside. Two months ago, it served as the center point of the EUREC4A campaign and is bravely continuing to measure in these difficult times.

BCO 2020 measuring during the EUREC4A campaign
(Photo: Frederic Batier)
BCO 2020 (Photo: MPI-M)

Thanks go to all who made this project as successful as it is, especially to our colleagues on Barbados. Without their permanent support, technical or administrative, running BCO would not be possible.

As, due to the actual situation around the world, we cannot celebrate properly. But let us share this first quicklook of the first larger instrument running in April 2010.

Figure: MPI-M


More information:

Tropical cloud observation at MPI-M:







Stevens, B., et al. (2016) The Barbados Cloud Observatory: Anchoring Investigations of Clouds and Circulation on the Edge of the ITCZ. Bulletin AMS. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00247.1


Dr Lutz Hirsch

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

Phone: +49 (0) 40 41173 206

Email: lutz.hirsch@we dont want spammpimet.mpg.de