The Earth’s atmosphere is more than just the air we breathe. It’s also a buffer that keeps us from being peppered by meteorites, a screen against deadly radiation, and the reason radio waves can be bounced for long distances around the planet. Many people think that life is only affected by the air near the ground. We are here to prove them wrong.
The atmosphere is 600Km depth. Weather phenomena occurs bellow 10Km, civil aviation is flying at 13Km altitude, protective ozone layer is manly located at 30Km altitude, while meteorites burn at 60Km. Radio waves are reflected by the ionosphere, above 100Km. We cannot fully understand the effects near the ground if we don't know what happens in the upper atmosphere.
Today, ground-based, airborne or satellite based instruments are screening the sky to collect information on atmosphere composition and dynamics. This data are used to forecast the weather and air quality, to understand climate's trends, and to assess the impact of volcanic eruptions, forest fires, pollution, and extreme weather.
Scientists all over the world recognized many decades ago the importance of observing the behavior of the whole atmosphere. They acknowledge that not only climate & weather, but also the quality of the air we are breathing cannot be forecasted unless the physics and the chemistry of the atmosphere is known in detail, from the ground to the upper layers. Since it is too expensive to probe all the time and at each altitude the air, researchers took advantage of new technologies such as remote sensing: multiwavelength imagery or radiometry, laser or radio sounding.