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The Atmospheric Environment Center (CEREA), which was founded in 2003, is a joint laboratory of école des Ponts ParisTech, one of the premier civil and engineering schools in France, and EDF R&D, a major energy group. It is based in two locations near Paris, Champs-sur-Marne in Seine-et-Marne and Chatou in Yvelines.

CEREA has over 30 staff members, including permanent research scientists (~25%), permanent engineers, technicians and administrative staff (~25%), and post-docs, research engineers and Ph.D. students (~50%).

Research themes

Research activities focus on three major areas and include transverse activities among those:

  • Physico-chemical processes of air pollution
  • Physical processes of the atmospheric boundary layer
  • Data assimilation and inverse modeling in geosciences

The main objective is to improve our understanding of the physics and chemistry of air pollution and of the dynamic processes of the lower layers of the atmosphere, as well as to develop novel methods for data assimilation and inverse modeling. The overall strategy is based on constant interactions between theory and measurements. Data available from laboratory and/or field experiments are used to develop new numerical models, which are later evaluated with new measurements. Improvements in our understanding of the fundamental processes result from this iterative process. The main topics being addressed at CEREA include atmospheric particulate matter, deposition and re-emission of atmospheric pollutants, numerical modeling of air pollution at various spatio-temporal scales, heat transfer between buildings and the atmosphere, and numerical modeling of turbulent flows in complex settings. Data assimilation allows one to improve the performance of numerical models by combining the theoretical basis of models with the practical aspect of measurements and by taking into account the associated uncertainties. Applications include for example the improvement of weather and air quality forecasts, the identification of source terms, and optimal network design.

CEREA conducts meteorological and tracer measurements that are used to better understand processes that govern for example atmospheric flows, pollutant dispersion, and fog formation. CEREA does not perform any air pollution measurements, but we collaborate closely with other laboratories that offer that expertise.

Main international projects

CEREA is involved in several international projects, such as:

  • ChArMEx (The chemistry aerosol Mediterranean experiment)
  • Climate-KIC FuME (Fugitive methane emissions)
  • Several COST actions (European cooperation in science and technology)


Many activities at CEREA are conducted in the context of large national and international research programs and they involve strong interactions between modeling and measurements. Collaborations occur with most French atmospheric science laboratories (including of course those from IPSL) as well as with some European and U.S. laboratories.

Methods and tools / instrumental developments

  • Polyphemus air pollution modeling platform
  • Code_Saturne computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code
  • Instrumentation for meteorological and tracer measurements, located for example at the « Site Instrumental de Recherche par Télédétection Atmosphérique » (SIRTA)

Management team

Director : Christian Seigneur ( seigneur@cerea.enpc.fr )

Deputy directors :

Luc Musson-Genon ( luc.musson-genon@edf.fr )

Marc Bocquet ( bocquet@cerea.enpc.fr )


CEREA – Ecole des Ponts ParisTech              

6-8 avenue Blaise Pascal                                        

Cité Descartes, Champs-sur-Marne                         

Marne-la-Vallée, 77455 cedex 2                          


6 quai Watier

BP 49

78401 Chatou cedex

Access to  CEREA web site

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