The idea of establishment of Lulin Atmospheric Background Station (LABS) began in 1988. The EPA was supported by Chinese Petroleum Corp. (CPC) to start Skynet Project. One compartment of the program was to increase 19 air quality-monitoring stations in present to 66 stations. These stations will be classified as general, traffic, industry, background or national park air quality monitoring stations depend on their purpose. Among these stations, Yangmingshan, Taroko (Sibau Farm), Kenting and Mt. Jade (Mt. Lulin) were classified as national park air quality monitoring stations in the beginning, but only Yangmingshan and Kenting National Park were included in the monitoring network finally.
The survey for a proper station undertook during 1989 to 1990. Mt. Lulin is located in Mt. Jade National Park and is an independent hilltop and a platform, which is not effect by tourists compared with Tataka or Anbu. Beside, the traffic is not so difficult and the geographical circumstance is excellent, therefore, Mt. Lulin was selected. At the same time, The Forestry Bureau also released the permission for the utilization of the land. Shuenn-Chin Chang is one of the major participants for the location-selecting of Mt. Lulin. He recalled the first time he went to Mt. Lulin; the car can only drive to Lulin Lodge and stayed a night in lodge for one night. The next day he arrived to the hilltop of Mt. Lulin, where a flat platform was filled of weeds with excellent view and is very different form now.
The establishment was postponed because the consideration of cost. Te idea to set up LABS was approved by the colleague in EPA and the station will represent the highest air quality monitoring station in Taiwan. However, after a careful assessment, the cost will reach to 10 million for applying the electricity and data transmissions that is much higher than usual stations. Furthermore, supplementary of instrument and human resources is much complicated and it will cost nearly 10 million to maintain the station. Therefore, the plan was postponed. Maybe Chang might feel regretful for that. However, though the station was set up, a complete instrument and technology supporting were still deficient. The accuracy of instruments for monitoring the background of high mountain should be higher, and the instruments at that time were applied for normal ground monitoring, which are not sufficient for trace gases. Therefore, the EPA postponed the plan, and the Forestry Bureau took back the permission. After that, the National Central University applied the permission and set up Lulin Observatory of National Central University.
In 1999, Prof. Neng-Huei Lin went to University of Hawaii to attend conference of APARE. At that time, NASA raised TRACE-P (Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific), and University of Hawaii was also supported by the National Academies of the U.S. to carry out ACE-Asia. The purpose of the two large experiments was focus on regional air pollutants and dust storm in Asia, and they were seeking for assistant and participation from Asian countries by this conference. Our country also attended national science community since this time. After the conference, the sponsor arranged a visit to Mauna Loa station that is very famous in Hawaii. The station is located in the northern hillside of Mauna Loa, with an altitude of 3397 m and is maintained and operated by CMDL, which belongs to NOAA. The monitoring items included meteorology, gas chemistry, aerosol chemistry, precipitation chemistry and atmospheric radiation. According to the memory of Prof. Lin, they took a small bus to the mountain and the view was getting wilder. Since Prof. Lin studied in the U.S., he has worked on the experiment about physical and chemical properties of cloud in high mountains and researches related to high-mountain monitoring stations and long-range transportation. After he came back to Taiwan, he also focused on the issue of air pollutants and long-range transportation. When he arrived to Mauna Loa Station, he was impressive by the international stations with its organized and complete equipments that provide a professional platform for different related organizations to participate. He thought that Taiwan is an island with lot of high mountains like Hawaii, and is located in the boundary of tropical and subtropical zone so is the boundary of land and ocean. Taiwan must have the potential to become an international high-mountain station. Since then, the idea has been growing in his mind.
The same year after the Professor Lin return from Hawaii, while Professor Lin discussing the future development of atmosphere science in atmosphere science conference, he proposed the research of Yangmingshan’s cloud chemistry persisting Observation as a long-range transportation of pollutants. He also proposed the idea of building a high mountain background station for the free atmospheric monitoring on the central mountain area. At 2000 year, coincides with the Ministry of Education’s first generation Excellence program, which planning by National Central University. At the time he tried to add the idea of the central mountain observation station , he also informed the Guaduate Institute of Astronomy NCU had established an observatory at Lulin Mountain , and it also completed the hardware and software infrastructure. After visiting the observatory in person, he found it’s quite suitable for atmospheric background monitoring. Therefore he changed the central mountains station to Lulin Mountain in Excellence program. While the first generation of excellence program wasn’t adopted at last. But this is the first time he publicly presented the plan of LABS.
At 2000 year, Professor Lin promoted the ACE-Asia in Taiwan’s work; therefore he is close to the department of Environmental Monitoring and Information. He and Young, Chea-Yuan, Zhang, Shun-Qin, promoted the 2001 year’s ACE-Asia observation experiment. At the same time, the department of Environmental Monitoring and Information also aimed an integrated program, to study the impact of dust storm on Taiwan for this year. Thus, this program planed for more than one year, included plan the International Cooperation and the study group for the dust storms. The participators included the National Central University, National Taiwan University, Chinese Culture University, and Academia Sinica.
At 2001, LABS has a new change. Before 1993, the EPA has continued establishing 66 air quality monitoring stations. During 1993-2001 they continued strived for the funds for monitoring station’s replacement. At the same time, they also established new UV monitoring station on Ali Mountain for pre-research. In early 2001, Lin Ta-hsiung, Deputy Director of EPA, promoted the idea of building high mountain monitoring stations again. At 2001, Lin Ta-hsiung successfully took part in the TRACE-P and ACE-Asia experiment. At that time, because of participating in the experiment, NASA Dr.Cai Xiqi has the opportunity to return to Taiwan. During a meeting with EPA, Professor Lin and Dr.Cai promoted the idea of establishing LABS. They hoped that EPA can take over the estabilishing of LABS. This idea chimes in easily with EPA’s plans. At that time, Yang Director and TSE Ping Fai section chief are the main participants. June 2001, the department of Environmental Monitoring and Information bring up monitoring network replacement plan, started at the same year , and re-inclusion the plan of LABS.
2002-2005 Professor Lin commission NCU to proceed the project “Impact study of the long-range transport of air pollutants on air quality in Taiwan”. This is the first step study of LABS, including rainfall and aerosol sampling. Rainfall using NADP (National Atmospheric Deposition Program) standards for the weekly sample, while the aerosol samples by mobility incidence of sampling was charged by Professor Li Chong-De. At the same time EPA actively contact with the relevant units of foreign country, including the U.S. EPA, NASA, NOAA and so on, in order to conduct an unity plan. After this period of cooperation, both Central University and the EPA have more specific ideas. In April 2004, EPA National Central University was commissioned to proceed to the program of construct and evaluation LABS. At the same year of December 3, they signed a LABS building cooperation agreement, based on the National Central University Observatory’s present work, start to build up the background station. In 2004, National Central University apply to rent the Yushan Area 18 forest tracts, area 120 square meters, in the cause of the establishment of atmospheric environmental monitoring and air quality background stations one after another to the Council of Agriculture Forest Service and other units. National Central University assists the EPA's evaluation and the planning of LABS, which was started in September 2005, and completed in December that year, and opening in April 13, 2006.