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The Izana Atmospheric Research Center, which is part of the Department of Planning, Strategy and Business Development of the Meteorological State Agency of Spain (AEMET), carries out, among other activities, environmental developments and international research projects (Article 16 of AEMET´s Statute; Royal Decree/Parliamentary Act 186/2008, February 8, in which AEMET´s Statute is approved).

The IARC conducts monitoring and research related to atmospheric constituents that are capable of forcing change in the climate of the Earth (greenhouse gases and aerosols), and may cause depletion of the global ozone layer, and those play key roles in air quality from local to global scale. These topics fit in the activities of the Meteorological State Agency of Spain (AEMET) of support to the policies of air quality and environment, and the study and evaluation of the effects produced by climate change. These activities constitute high-priority lines of the Secretary of State for Climate Change of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing, Food and Environment.

The IARC is an Associated Unit of the “Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas” (CSIC), the National Research Council, through the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA). The main goal of the Associated Unit “Group for Atmospheric Pollution Studies” is to perform atmospheric air quality research in both rural and urban environments.

The IARC contributes to the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) system with the high altitude Izaña Atmospheric Observatory (IZO) and to the GURME program with the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Observatory (SCO). The WMO GAW system was established in 1989 and has integrated a number of WMO research and monitoring activities in the field of atmospheric environment. The main objective of GAW is to provide data and other information on the chemical composition and related physical characteristics of the atmosphere and their trends, required to improve understanding of the behaviour of the atmosphere and its interactions with the oceans and the biosphere. The data collected at the GAW monitoring stations are particularly essential to understand the relationship between changing atmospheric composition and changes of global and regional climate.

IZO is also an observing site for the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC), former Network for the Detection the Stratospheric Change (NDSC). The NDACC is a set of high-quality remote-sounding research stations for observing and understanding the physical and chemical state of the stratosphere. Ozone and key ozone-related chemical compounds and parameters are targeted for measurement. The NDACC is a major component of the international upper atmosphere research effort and has been endorsed by national and international scientific agencies, including the International Ozone Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).