1National Observatory of Athens, V. Pavlou and I. Metaxa, P. Penteli, 15236, Athens, Greece
2Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Physics Department, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
3Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Athens, Greece
4Laboratory of Agronomy, Faculty of Plant Production, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens Greece
5University of Crete, Chemistry Department, Environmental and Chemical Processes Laboratory, Crete, Greece
6Department of Meteorology and Climatology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Abstract. This paper provides an overview of integrated, multi-disciplinary effort to study the effects of a total solar eclipse on the environment, with special focus on the atmosphere. On the occasion of the 29 March 2006 total solar eclipse, visible over the Eastern Mediterranean, several research and academic institutes organised co-ordinated experimental campaigns, at different distances from the totality and in various environments in terms of air quality. The detailed results are presented in a number of scientific papers included in a Special Issue of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The effects of the eclipse on the meteorology and the spectral solar radiation, the chemical response of the atmosphere to the abrupt "switch off" of the sun and the induced changes in the stratosphere and the ionosphere, have been among the issues covered. The rare event of a total solar eclipse provided the opportunity to evaluate 1-D and 3-D radiative transfer models (in the atmosphere and underwater), mesoscale meteorological, regional air quality and photochemical box models, against measurements. Within the challenging topics of this effort has been the investigation of eclipse impacts on ecosystems (field crops and marine plankton) and the identification of eclipse induced gravity waves, for the first time with simultaneous measurements at three altitudes namely the troposphere, the stratosphere and the ionosphere.