Installing a monitoring network of UV ground stations
In early 1980, following the discovery of the "ozone hole" (.pdf) above Antarctica scientists began to worry about the risks threatening populations, due to a potential increase of UV rays in surface.
The group "Solar Radiation" of the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) decided to establish a network of measuring ground stations allowing quasi real time tracking (monitoring) of UV-A, UV-B and visible range.
Goal is to verify the potential for increased UV-B on the ground, better understand the mechanisms of penetration through the atmosphere and to finally establish a climatology, both reliable and continuous.
From the outset, this network aimed to achieve:
Other measurements such as the total column of ozone or SO2 and the main meteorological parameters: temperature, air pressure, moisture, wind speed and direction, rainfall, cloud cover (in the visible and IR) etc.
Complete information on direct and diffuse components and global solar radiation of UV-Visible at the surface allowed researchers of BIRA-IASB to demonstrate, for example, the correlation between a decrease in stratospheric ozone and an increase in UV-B on surface.
Since then, five other stations were added to the monitoring network in Belgium. The BIRA-IASB is also collaborating with the stations in Diekirch and Luxembourg.