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Research and public service in the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets, and of outer space.

Although the emissions of key air pollutants caused by human activities (traffic, industry etc.) have sharply decreased in response to COVID-19 disruptions, the atmospheric levels of secondary pollutants like ozone have been found to increase in several places around the world. BIRA-IASB researchers contributed to the first global model study aimed at elucidating and quantifying the causes for this apparent paradox.

BIRA-IASB is preparing a new space instrument, 3DEES, in consortium with the Université Catholique de Louvain and QinetiQ Space, to study the Earth's space radiation environment on board ESA's PROBA-3 satellite.

Stratospheric aerosols originate for the most part from volcanic eruptions and have a large influence on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. BIRA-IASB is involved in the monitoring of these aerosols, delivering high quality data to centralised databases like the Copernicus programme, to be integrated in climatological models, among other things.

March 21st is International Forest Day, an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests. Trees emit isoprene, which strongly affects atmospheric chemistry and Earth's climate. BIRA-IASB scientists work on estimating how much isoprene is released, an important element in climate modelling and tackling climate change.

February 11th is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Why did the United Nations establish this yearly event? How have women researchers been impacted differently by the COVID-19 pandemic? And did you know about the gender gap on Wikipedia, the internet’s most beloved source of encyclopedic information? In this video, we have an open exchange about these topics.

ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has detected a new gas for the first time. Sea salt embedded in the dusty surface of Mars and lofted into the planet’s atmosphere has led to the discovery of hydrogen chloride. The spacecraft is also providing new information about how Mars is losing its water.