BIRA-IASB monitors the ozone layer
Ground based observations
Using ground spectrometers working in the visible and infrared spectral ranges, BIRA-IASB measures the atmosphere composition from stations in the Swiss and the French Alps, in Norway and in the Ile de La Reunion.
Those stations are part of the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC), a network taken on by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP).
BIRA-IASB is also involved in the definition and development of several satellite instruments, which enable the Institute to extend to the global scale the detailed analysis made in the stations.
After submitting and tracking the implementation of the GOME spectrometer, the first European instrument in orbit dedicated to the study of the ozone layer, and of its successor, SCIAMACHY, a contribution of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands to the ESA ENVISAT satellite, BIRA-IASB is now carrying on with its long-term ozone monitoring mission with the GOME-2 and IASI instruments onboard the EUMETSAT meteorological satellites.
To fill the dramatic gap expected in the number of atmospheric vertical sounders that will be operating in the next 5 years, BIRA-IASB is devellopping ALTIUS, a limb imaging spectrometer on a micro-satellite platform.
Observations show stabilisation
Ground based and satellite observations above Europe have shown a recent stabilisation of the ozone layer which, even though it is still not reformed, has at least stopped the regular depletion it had initiated in the early 1980s. It will still take a long time before an effect would be noticed on the Antarctic ozone hole, which keeps appearing each spring and vanishes in November.