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: