The Institute IEK-8 explores the chemistry of the troposphere, performs global observations, and simulates atmospheric chemistry and transport processes by numerical models.

Anthropogenic activities, in particular increasing energy use and production, and natural processes release large quantities of trace substances into the atmosphere influencing living conditions on Earth. Since the beginning of the industrialisation in the 19th century, a significant increase of atmospheric trace gases and pollutants has been observed world-wide. On one side, changing greenhouse gases and aerosols perturb the energy balance of the atmosphere and thereby the climate system. On the other side, increasing air pollution levels constitute a threat to human and ecosystem health especially in industrialised countries and large cities.