Ozone, UV and Aerosol studies

50 years of ozonesonde measurements at Uccle

On 19 September 2019, the RMI hosted a scientific symposium celebrating the 50 years of ozonesonde measurements at Uccle.

After some years of testing - the earliest ozonesonde measurements at Uccle in the WOUDC database date back to 1965, 1966 and 1967 - the operational ozonesonde programme at the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) of Belgium in Uccle started in January 1969, with a launch frequency of three times a week, year around. In 2019, after more than 6800 launches covering 50 years of measurements, we wanted to highlight the value of this tremendous effort, of this long-term dataset, for the past, present and future. 

Therefore, a celebration event was organized at the Uccle launch site on Thursday, 19 September 2019. Since ozone is a trace gas that has different impacts on life on Earth, depending on its location in the atmosphere (UV blocker, greenhouse gas, air quality), the event was open to a wide range of interested people, from data users, policy makers, environmental agencies and the media, to of course scientists with interests in ozone research. A total of 95 participants attended the meeting, about two third from Belgium, but also from neighbouring countries (Netherlands, France, Germany), other European countries (Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy), and even from Canada and the United States.


The program can be found here.


  • Daniel Gellens (General Director a.i. of the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) of Belgium)

Morning session: "50 years of ozone research: highlights and challenges"

  • Sophie Godin-Beekmann (president of the International Ozone Commission):"The important role of ozone in the atmosphere (UNEP+TOAR)" (pdf)
  • Dirk De Muer (RMI): "History of 50 years of ozonesonde measurements at Uccle: the early years" (odp)
  • Hugo De Backer (RMI): "History of 50 years of ozonesonde measurements at Uccle: change from BM to ECC sonde type" (pptx)
  • Roeland Van Malderen (RMI): "The importance of the Uccle ozone time series in ozone research" (pdf)
  • Petteri Taalas (WMO Secretary-General): "The WMO and its support to ozone research"
  • Martine De Mazière (co-chair of the Network for Detection of Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change, NDACC): "The NDACC and its essential contributions to ozone research" (ppsx)
  • Herman Smit (World Calibration Centre for Ozone Sondes, WCCOS): "Achievements and future challenges for the WCCOS" (pptx)
  • Anne Thompson (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center): "SHADOZ and the Special Role of Tropical Ozonesonde Data" (pdf)
  • Guy Brasseur (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg): "History of ozone research: how the vertical profile of ozone was established" (pptx)

Afternoon Session: "Recent developments in ozone research and measuring ozone"

  • Federico Fierli (EUMETSAT): "Ozone monitoring from space and the EUMETSAT contribution" (pdf)
  • Piet Stammes (KNMI): "Tropospheric ozone monitoring from space with TROPOMI" (pdf)
  • Valérie Thouret (CNRS - Laboratoire d'Aérologie & Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse): "IAGOS: 25 years of tropospheric ozone monitoring on board of commercial aircraft" (pptx)
  • Daan Hubert (BIRA): "Ozone research at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy" (pptx)
  • Guy Brasseur (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg): "Ozone and climate change" (pdf)




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