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Chemical composition and climate

Methane bubbles trapped in frozen river
Improving our understanding of methane (CH4), an important greenhouse gas, from space, using ground-based instruments and performing satellite quality control studies.
world map ground-based FTIR stations and HCHO data
A homogenized formaldehyde (HCHO) data set from FTIR measurements has been developed including more than 25 stations over the world.
Tropospheric Ozone
Monitoring tropospheric ozone is key to verifying whether scientific understanding and regulations are sufficient to protect public health and ecosystems.
Endeavour Space Shuttle in front of atmosphere
To study the impact of global atmospheric currents in the stratosphere and mesosphere on the ozone layer and on nitrous oxide (N2O) we compared datasets.
Simulated surface CO concentration by WRF-GHG”
BIRA-IASB implemented the WRF-GHG model to simulate the transport and surface fluxes of CO2, CH4 and CO with a spatial resolution up to 1 km2.
Maïdo observatory Reunion Island
European research infrastructures ensure long-term state-of the-art measurements of atmospheric constituents from ground-based instruments.
Maïdo observatory with ocean and clouds
VOC measurements in La Réunion to search for clues on missing sources of VOCs in biomass burning plumes from Africa.
Tree cover distribution in 2000
Satellite observations might help to answer that question and better account for human-driven land use practices (forest to crop or pasture conversion, logging and urbanization).
Wildfires key source of aerosols
Understanding aerosols, and in particular the particle size, is a major issue for the study and modelling of climate change.
Reddish sunsets or sunrises aerosol particles
BIRA-IASB provides atmospheric data to the European Copernicus programme for various atmospheric species, including stratospheric aerosols.
Large explosive volcanic eruptions such as the one of the Souffriere Hills in May 2006 (this picture) inject huge amount of ashes and sulfur gases into the atmosphere, which remain durably in the stratosphere and influence the dynamics and chemistry of the stratosphere, as well as the evolution of the climate.
Stratospheric aerosols play an important role for the climate, since they affect the propagation and absorption of sunlight. This is why climate models have to take them into account as precisely as possible.
ICOS network
To consolidate the quality, consistency and long-term availability of ground-based (remote sensing) data needed for satellite validation and model use, it is essential to develop and maintain research infrastructures.
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest is a large source of biogenic and biomass burning species affecting the air quality and the global climate. To monitor these species, BIRA-IASB installed a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer at Porto Velho, in Brazil.
Desert dust particles
Dust particles influence the climate directly by modifying the energy balance (cooling or heating, depending on the conditions) and indirectly through an effect on wind patterns, clouds and rain.
High-quality air quality and climate change observations
Climate Data Records of various atmospheric pollutants have been generated, quality-assessed, and used in support of scientific studies, environmental assessments, and for raising general public awareness.
Quality Assurance for Essential Climate Variables (QA4ECV)
The Quality Assurance for Essential Climate Variables (QA4ECV) project prototyped a generic system for the implementation and evaluation of quality assurance (QA) measures for satellite-derived climate data records.
The hydroxyl radical (OH)
The hydroxyl radical (OH) is the main detergent in the atmosphere as its abundance controls the concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO), a primary pollutant.
Isoprene emissions
Isoprene is the dominant biogenic hydrocarbon released into the atmosphere. It plays a key role in the composition of the atmosphere because of its influence on tropospheric ozone and its contribution to the formation of fine particles.
Biogenic emission fluxes
A major feedback between climate and atmospheric chemistry lies in the dependence of the biogenic emission fluxes into the atmosphere on the meteorological conditions.
Maido Observatory
Although volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have a large impact on the oxidative capacity of the atmosphere and on climate, their sources and sinks are not well constrained, especially over tropical marine regions.
Cows grazing by the measuring equipment
Although half of the world's agricultural land is grazing land, grazing-induced flux measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOC) have not been reported yet. Researchers from BIRA-IASB therefore investigated it.