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Atmosphere and climate

Observatoriet på Zeppelinfjellet, Svalbard
© Konsta Punkka

Pollution in the atmosphere affects climate, health and the environment. To reduce air pollution and limit climate change, we must first understand how the atmosphere’s chemical and physical properties are affected by natural and anthropogenic emissions. NILU’s research in this discipline contributes to better knowledge about pollutants in the atmosphere, and what we can do to mitigate the problems they cause.

NILU began studying long-range transport of pollution in the early 1970s. This research subsequently resulted in the international Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). The convention includes several agreements on emission reductions. Under a related agreement, the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP), NILU is responsible for the Chemical Coordinating Centre of EMEP, which coordinates all measurements of long-range air pollution in Europe. NILU has played key advisory roles in national and international processes for organisations such as WMO, AMAP, EEA and others.

In addition to doing traditional research on greenhouse gases and air pollutants, we study the climate system itself (including meteorology and how surface properties affect the atmosphere). We also do research on the dispersal of volcanic ash and radionuclides.

Our scientists use observational data and models to study emissions, dispersion, transformation and deposition on regional and global scales. We also maintain open databases in which observations from monitoring stations all over the world are freely available.