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Millán M. Millán


Role in CIRCLE-2: Advisory Board Member

Institution: Mediterranean Centre for Environmental studies - Fundación CEAM, Spain


Professor Millán M. Millán is the Executive Director of CEAM (Centre for Environmental Studies in the Mediterranean Foundation) and a visiting Professor of Atmospheric Fluid Mechanics and Air Pollution Meteorology in the Bilbao School of Engineering.  He is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and several book chapters.  He is a member of several European and international scientific committees and has been awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa degree by the University of Elche (Alicante, Spain).  From 1966 to 1972, and from 1979 to 1981, he worked at Barringer Research Ltd. (BRL) of Toronto, Ontario, where he designed the system currently used as a metal detector in airport security gates, as well as the COSPEC (COrrelation SPECtrometer) for the remote measurement of gases in the atmosphere. For the latter work he was awarded the "Best paper of the year 1970" by the IEEE, and the IR-100 "to one of the 100 most outstanding instrumental designs of 1970 ", by a panel of Nobel Prize winners.

The COSPEC has been used to document the dispersion of SO2 plumes from tall stacks and in many other air pollution dispersion studies.  After 40 years of continuous use, the COSPEC is also considered a key instrument for the study of volcanic emissions (references in Science and Nature, the film "Dante's Peak", etc.).  In 1997, after several aircraft accidents in the Pacific area, the COSPEC signal processing algorithms were used in the TOMS (Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer) data to alert civil aviation of dangerous volcanic plumes.

Millán joined the Canadian Atmospheric Environment Service in 1972.  In 1974, at the request of the Commission of the European Communities, the Canadian Government nominated him to help the CEC to launch their programmes in Air Pollution and Climate.  Since 1974, he has personally coordinated or participated in 14 EC research projects, and has participated "ad personam" in several EC external advisory groups.  The results of his research have been used to select priority themes in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd EC programmes in Environment.  He has likewise contributed to defining scientific priorities in topics related to Environment and Climate (Global Change and Ecosystems) in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and current 7th European Framework Programmes for Research.  He has also participated in the elaboration of the European Air Quality Directives.

In December 1990, he was asked to head the CEAM, created in 1991 by the Spanish Government and the Valencia Region with the support of the EC (DG XII).  Since then, the CEAM has been a lead institution in more than 50 EC research projects related to atmospheric dynamics, climate, air pollution chemistry, air pollution effects on crops and forests, and reclamation of Mediterranean ecosystems affected by wildfires.  His most important (personal) scientific contribution has been to discover the Mediterranean Accumulation Mode of water vapour and pollutants, which links the high levels of ozone in the Western Mediterranean basin in summer, the loss of summer storms in the regions surrounding the Mediterranean, the intense summer rains in Eastern Central Europe, and the increase in torrential rains in the Mediterranean in autumn-winter.  The results of this work also suggest that a rethinking of the watershed concept is urgently required for Climate Change mitigation and adaptation in Southern Europe.  These results have been presented by the EC at COP meetings (UN Climate Change) in Moscow and Nairobi, as well as in the European Parliament.


1967: B.A.Sc. Aeronautical Engineering (Fluid Mechanics), University of Toronto

1969: M.A.Sc Aerospace Science, University of Toronto, Canada

1972: Ph.D. Atmospheric Physics and Spectroscopy, University of Toronto, Canada

1974: M.Sc. (Equiv.) Synoptic Meteorology and Weather Forecasting, AES (CMS), Toronto

1986: Dr. Ing. Industrial Engineering (Chemistry), School of Engineering, Bilbao, Spain