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  • Plasmasphere and radiation belts | BIRA-IASB
    the magnetosphere Radiation belts energetic particles encircling the Earth The radiation belts also known as the van Allen belts are toroidal regions encircling the Earth in which very energetic that is very fast particles are found These particles are essentially trapped in the geomagnetic field One can consider these particles to be a form of ionising radiation As such these particles constitute a real danger for humans and for spacecraft in orbit around the Earth Read complete article Radiation Belts or Van Allen Belts The BIRA IASB is very active in its study of the mechanisms by which these radiation belts are replenished during magnetic storms as well as of the different pathways along which the particles leak away thereby slowly emptying the belts Together with the CSR Centre for Space Radiations of the UCL the BIRA IASB prepares a new instrument that is able to measure this kind of radiation the Energetic Particle Telescope The plasmasphere a plasma cloud around the Earth The plasmasphere is the upward extension of the Earth s atmosphere at equatorial and mid latitudes It forms a plasma cloud that enshrouds the Earth At the BIRA IASB we have built a 3D model to determine

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/solarsystem/radiationbelts.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • BIRA-IASB Comets, Asteroids, Meteors and Dust
    a very peculiar spectacle Although they often do not glitter spectacularly they can have a long tail that lights up a large part of the sky whenever they are observed from a dark place with few light pollution The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy BIRA IASB is engaged in research on comets as part of the Rosetta project Read complete article Comets a very peculiar spectacle Meteors A meteoroid

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/solarsystem/comet-asteroid-meteor-dust.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Ionosphere | BIRA-IASB
    missions Mission scenarios Instrument design and technology Mission operations Data management Ionosphere Energy in the upper layer of the atmosphere resulting in auroras The ionosphere is the upper layer of the Earth s atmosphere The atmosphere is partly ionised by solar UV light and such ionisation can persist at high altitude the ionosphere starts at about 80 km altitude and reaches up to more than 1000 km The ionosphere and the magnetosphere are connected to each other by the geomagnetic field lines Because these behave as very good electrical conductors electromagnetic energy can be transported from the magnetosphere down into the ionosphere through electric currents the so called Birkeland currents The aurora is the most spectacular manifestation of this energy transfer The physical mechanisms behind the aurora are still largely unknown Image credits Jan Curtis We know that auroras are produced by magnetospheric electrons that follow the magnetic field lines and that are accelerated by electric fields up to energies of several thousands of volts The acceleration mechanism itself however remains somewhat of a mystery When those accelerated electrons hit atoms and molecules in the tenuous upper atmosphere at 90 120 km altitude they excite or ionise them As a

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/earthsystem/ionosphere.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Atmospheric chemistry | BIRA-IASB
    absorb ultraviolet light from the Sun Visible light infrared and ultraviolet radiation which the Sun emits is indispensable for life on Earth However a part of this radiation can also be very harmful This applies to the Sun s ultraviolet rays which Earth s atmosphere for the most part filters out very efficiently Nitrogen oxygen and ozone molecules in the upper atmosphere and stratosphere absorb ultraviolet light from the Sun

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/earthsystem/atmosphericchemistry.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Atmosphere & biosphere | BIRA-IASB
    s with laboratory studies so as to be able to model the fundamental physico chemical processes in support of the measurement techniques In recent years mass spectrometric laboratory studies and field measurements have mainly focused on quantifying the emissions of Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds BVOCs produced from trees On a global scale huge amounts of these highly reactive compounds are released in the atmosphere Their oxidation in the presence of

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/earthsystem/atmosphere-biosphere.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Electromagnetic solar radiation | BIRA-IASB
    as ultraviolet Corpuscular radiation is made up of charged particles ions and electrons Solar Wind Energy from the Sun at the speed of light in the form of a wave Electromagnetic solar radiation is a phenomenon by which energy escapes from the Sun at the speed of light in the form of a wave There are several types of radiation that can be expressed in terms of energy wavelength or

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/earthsystem/electromagneticradiation.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • Atmospheric change | BIRA-IASB
    infrared spectral domain From such observations one can derive the atmospheric abundance of a number of greenhouse gases like CO2 CH4 N2O By performing such measurements continuously for years long term trends of greenhouse gas concentrations can be detected BIRA IASB has been performing such measurements on the Ile de La Réunion in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar since 2002 These observations are obtained using a ground based Fourier

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/globalchange/atmosphericchange.htm (2016-04-27)
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  • International protocols | BIRA-IASB
    Mission operations Data management International protocols Space agencies involved in climate observation Preservation of remote sensing data obtained from Space for long periods of time is not guaranteed For this reason a formal dialogue has been initiated between the entities defining the needs for climate observation and space agencies ESA NASA etc in order to define a coherent set of specifications agreed upon by all Established in 1992 the Global Climate Observing System GCOS has become the recognised mechanism to facilitate these commitments The GCOS has published two reports on the global climate observing system In its second report in 2003 it established a list of Essential Climate Variables ECV where observation was recognized as a priority To answer to these needs the European Space Agency ESA has started a new programme the Monitoring of Essential Climate Variables known as Climate Change Initiative or CCI whose ambition is to bring new satellite datasets Read complete article ESA starts the Climate Change Initiative BIRA IASB monitors effect of Montreal Protocol The stratospheric ozone layer protects the Earth s biosphere from a large part of the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun Appearing in the beginning of he 1980s two spectacular phenomena

    Original URL path: http://www.bira-iasb.be/en/topics/globalchange/internationalprotocols.htm (2016-04-27)
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