The Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre (IARC) from the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) develops R and D activities that are part of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch Programme (GAW).
The GAW programme includes a comprehensive plan for the monitoring and investigation of greenhouse gases, the ozone layer and ozone depleting stratospheric compounds, reactive gases, solar radiation, and chemical and physical properties of atmospheric aerosols. The IARC contributes to the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC), consisting of a group of very high quality stations equipped with remote sensing instruments for observing and understanding the physical and chemical state of the stratosphere. NDACC is an important component of the international effort to investigate the upper atmosphere backed by national and international scientific agencies such as the International Ozone Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WMO. Izaña also provides an international platform on which specific measures used to assess measures carried on board satellites and simulations of chemical transport models are carried out. The IARC also is an international platform for specific measurements used for assessment of observations on board satellites and simulations of chemical transport models.
The IARC is a WMO CIMO (Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observation) Testbed for Aerosols and Water Vapour Remote Sensing Instruments, the Regional Brewer Calibration Centre for Europe (RBCC-E), and plays an important role as an absolute calibration centre in global observation networks not belonging to the GAW programme, as AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) or PANDONIA (European Space Agency). The IARC is actively involved in the co-management of the WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS) Regional Centre for Northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe, shared between the WMO World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) and the GAW Programme, and maintained by AEMET and the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC).
The IARC is an Associate Unit of the National R+D Council through the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA) Institute. The main objective of the "Study Group on Air Pollution" Associate Unit is to conduct research of air quality, both in rural and urban environments.
The Izaña Atmospheric Observatory was inaugurated in its current location on January 1st, 1916, conducting continuous meteorological and climatological observations until today. The first scientific studies focused on the study of the upper atmosphere through aerological observations and solar radiation, as well as related investigations with conventional meteorological parameters. In 1984, the governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and Spain signed an agreement at the level of Foreign Ministers, approving the observatory became a Background Air Pollution Monitoring Network (BAPMoN), predecessor of GAW programme.