Media Releases

Celebrating the world’s leading climate change tracker

October 18, 2013

Canadian satellite mission has provided the world’s best measurements of chemicals impacting the ozone layer

TORONTO, ON – Scientists, government and industry partners are hosting a special media event on Tuesday, October 22 at the University of Toronto to celebrate a decade of success for Canada’s Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) SCISAT satellite mission.

SCISAT was launched in 2003 by NASA.  Two instruments on board measure more than 30 different molecules – more than have ever been measured from space before – and improve our understanding of the depletion of the ozone layer, especially the changes occurring over Canada and in the Arctic.  The Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) measures in the infrared, while MAESTRO (Measurements of Aerosol Extinction in the Stratosphere and Troposphere Retrieved by Occultation) measures in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared.  SCISAT has lasted an extremely long time for space hardware and as a result of its longevity has been successful in providing critical, long-term trend information about the composition of the atmosphere.

Media are invited to meet the scientists and learn more about the mission’s achievements, including:

  • Data collected to validate the effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol to Control Ozone-depleting Substances.  The stabilization of the ozone layer and the changes in the concentrations of ozone-depleting substances have both been measured using ACE measurements.
  • Information gathered during the Black Saturday pyro-convective events associated with grass fires in Australia in 2009 that killed nearly 200 people and destroyed thousands of homes.  The fires were so intense that the plume rose up into the stratosphere where it was measured by the ACE instruments.
  • Observations of volcanic plumes, including sulfate aerosols from Kasatochi (Alaska, 2008), Merapi (Indonesia, 2010) and Grimsvötn (Iceland, 2011)  Note: ACE data has not contributed to the analysis of the impact of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 that disrupted air travel in Europe for weeks, another example that clearly underlines the importance of collecting data about volcanic events.
  • Displays and instrument data and demonstrations of ground-based instruments which are identical to the flight instruments.  These ground-based instruments travel to the high Arctic each spring to collect data to ensure the quality of the SCISAT measurements.
  • Tours of the thermal vacuum facility where the instruments were tested before the flight.

Participants will include: University of Waterloo’s Peter Bernath, mission scientist, University of Toronto’s Kaley Walker, deputy mission scientist, and York University’s Tom McElroy, MAESTRO principal investigator. The event marks the 10th anniversary of the day that the first solar measurements made by the two instruments on board the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) were transmitted down to the ground.

WHAT:                     ACE/SciSat 10th anniversary mission media event

WHERE:                   Room 110
McLennan Physics Building, 60 St. George Stree
University of Toronto

WHEN:                     Tuesday, October 22
11 a.m. – 12:30 pm


Kim Luke
Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science
University of Toronto


Additional information and materials:

SCISAT/ACE Mission Websites:
ACE Science Team at the University of Waterloo:
SCISAT at Canadian Space Agency:

Videos related to ACE can be obtained by FTP:
FTP site:
Login: scisat
Password: No password, just hit enter

Or from the web:
Download from ACE Science Team at University of Waterloo: