The Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment

The Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) is a satellite mission on board the Canadian satellite SCISAT, that takes measurements of the Earth's atmosphere.

The measurements consist of spectra and images that are used to investigate chemical and dynamical processes in our atmosphere, with a particular emphasis on ozone depletion in the Arctic stratosphere.

Dr. Peter Bernath from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Waterloo is the Mission Scientist, which involves the collaboration of members from several universities, industries and other organizations in Canada and around the world.

Peter Bernath email:

September 25, 2021: Wildfire smoke destroys stratospheric ozone

The infrared spectrometer on the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) satellite has measured the spectra of smoke particles from the Black Summer Australian fires in late 2019 /early 2020. Large wildfires inject smoke and biomass burning products into the midlatitude stratosphere. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires.

Injected smoke particles and organic molecules perturb stratospheric chemistry decreasing the abundance of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, hydrochloric acid and increasing formaldehyde, chlorine nitrate, chlorine monoxide and hypochlorous acid. Further, the smoke particles likely catalyze the decline in nitrogen dioxide and hydrochloric acid, and the formation of hypochlorous acid. Large wildfires alter the Earth’s climate and affect the chemistry of the stratosphere.

Submitted to Science, ABM 5611 (in review)

August 13, 2013, SCISAT celebrated its 10th anniversary in orbit.

SCISAT was originally designed for a 2-year mission but has now surpassed expectations and continues to record measurements of Earth's atmosphere. To commemorate this special occasion, a tenth anniversary book has been published entitled The Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment ACE at 10: A Solar Occultation Anthology.

Funding for the ACE mission is primarily provided by the Canadian Space Agency.