Keeping an Eye on the Ozone Layer

Longueuil, August 12, 2008 - Operating well beyond its planned lifetime of two years, Canada's SCISAT celebrates its fifth birthday today in service to science and Canada.

Since its launch in 2003, SCISAT has been operated by the CSA team, which continues to make a significant contribution to the capture and analysis of critical atmospheric data. SCISAT provides high-precision information on the condition of the ozone layer and atmospheric changes. In 2006, data collected by SCISAT played a key role in helping scientists better understand the loss of ozone over the Northern hemisphere.

SCISAT provided new evidence that the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement with the objective of protecting the ozone layer, is yielding good results. It is also the only satellite capable of 3D surveillance of the gases regulated by the Montreal Protocol, which is of great importance to decision-makers. The data collected by SCISAT over the past five years clearly show that levels of atmospheric chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)-the main chemicals that destroy ozone-are falling and that the threat of overall ozone depletion is decreasing.

Canadian Space Agency President Guy Bujold stated "the creation of the small-sat bus, or spacecraft, used for the SCISAT satellite has enabled the CSA to acquire and improve its expertise in small satellite operation. The data collected by SCISAT aids scientists in better understanding the impact pollutants have on the upper atmosphere and ozone layer, which is of particular interest to Canadians and especially important for the High Arctic".

SCISAT has proven its ability to collect long-term data on the significant gases in the atmosphere. The satellite owes much of its success to the performance of its two instruments, which were both designed and manufactured in Canada: MAESTRO, developed by Environment Canada, the University of Toronto and EMS Technologies of Ottawa, and the Fourier-Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS), developed by ABB BOMEM of Quebec City. The two instruments are continuing to collect valuable and precise data even though they have greatly exceeded their expected lifespan.

The science centre for SCISAT data is located at the University of Waterloo under the direction of Principal Investigator Dr. Peter Bernath.

For More Information:

Media Relations
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4370