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Scientific Satellite Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (SciSAT) measures the chemical and dynamic processes.

A satellite launched 20 years ago to advance understanding of the depletion of the ozone layer! This mission is a collaboration between universities, government, and industry, and its success is due to the hard work of a team of Canadian and international scientists led by Dr. Peter Bernath at the University of Waterloo.

So, what is SCISAT? Well, it stands for “Satellite for Canadian Atmospheric Studies” and its primary purpose is to measure and understand the chemical processes that control the distribution of ozone in Earth’s atmosphere, particularly in the northern latitudes. The original two-year mission has now been extended until 2024, demonstrating the success of this mission thus far.

SCISAT has made numerous discoveries since it was launched back in 2003. For instance, it has detected that ozone levels over Canada and the Arctic have decreased significantly since 2003. This has been linked to air pollution from sources such as vehicles and factories. The satellite has also been used to measure air pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and aerosols. By providing detailed information about air pollution, SCISAT has helped to inform policies designed to reduce emissions and protect our planet.

One of the most exciting aspects of SCISAT is its ability to detect changes in Earth’s climate. As Earth’s climate shifts over time due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, SCISAT can detect these changes and help us to better understand how they may be impacting our planet. This data can be used to develop strategies for combating climate change and protecting our environment for future generations.

Tiny SCISAT Aims to Help Us Understand Ozone Layer Depletion.

The ozone layer is an integral part of our planet’s protective shield. It blocks the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation from reaching Earth’s surface and helps us stay healthy. Unfortunately, the ozone layer has been slowly depleting over the past several decades due to human activities. To better understand this process, a tiny satellite called SCISAT has been launched into space by Canada.
SCISAT is the first Canadian atmospheric research satellite since ISIS-2 was launched in the early 1970s. With a diameter of 112 cm, a height of 104 cm, and a total mass of only 150 kg, SCISAT is quite small. However, it is equipped with two scientific instruments – ACE-FTS and MAESTRO – that make it mighty in its goal to measure the gases and particles in the stratosphere.
The stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere in which the ozone layer lies. SCISAT is able to measure 70 different trace gases that affect ozone levels. This is more detailed than anything that has been done before. By measuring these gases, scientists will be able to better understand how they interact with one another and affect ozone levels. Knowing this information could help us mitigate damage to the ozone layer in the future.
SCISAT circles Earth 15 times a day along its 650-km-high polar orbit. This means that it covers most of Earth’s surface and collects data frequently. This data is then analyzed by scientists on the ground who can use it to create models for predicting ozone levels over time.
Are SCISATs an important asset for international environmental policy?
The international community is increasingly aware of the need for effective environmental policy aimed at protecting the ozone layer and curbing climate change. To that end, we have seen the Montreal Protocol banning certain CFCs, as well as the Kigali Amendment to the Protocol that limits HFC emissions. In order to gather the data necessary to inform these policies, scientists turn to SCISAT; an important asset for international environmental policy.
SCISAT stands for “Satellite for Observing the Earth’s Atmosphere from Space” and it is a high-inclination orbit satellite, which takes it over the polar regions of Earth, as well as tropical and mid-latitude locations. It is equipped with high-precision instruments that measure the absorption of solar light by the atmosphere at sunrise and sunset. SCISAT is able to identify different atmospheric constituents by their characteristic absorption wavelengths, which means that it can make extremely accurate measurements.
This data is making an important contribution to international environmental policy-making. For example, SCISAT has been used to determine the concentration of numerous HFCs in the atmosphere in order to inform climate change policies. Furthermore, scientists are continually refining their methods in order to detect new HFCs, which will allow policy makers to better regulate their emissions.
In addition to this, SCISAT observations are also helping scientists better understand the effects of atmospheric chemistry, clouds and aerosols on Earth’s climate.This will provide useful information for informing future environmental policies.
The trade-off for this precision is that SCISAT takes measurements in a limited number of locations. Other satellites do provide more global coverage, but their data is not as accurate. Thus, there is great value in combining data from both sources in order to provide a more thorough picture of our atmosphere.In short, SCISAT is an important asset for international environmental policy-making; one that we need in order to properly protect our environment and build a sustainable future for all.
SCISAT’s data at climate change and air pollution.
The SCISAT mission has been a great success in providing data related to ozone depletion. However, the mission has gone beyond this original mandate to provide a better understanding of climate change and air quality. As technology and understanding have developed, SCISAT has done an excellent job in providing evidence related to air pollution and wildfires.
The data gathered by SCISAT has provided a much more comprehensive picture of the levels of pollution across the globe, and has been critical in understanding the effects of air pollution on climate change. The data from SCISAT complements the observations from the MOPITT instrument, which has been used to measure the distribution of several molecules correlated with air pollution and wildfires. This data is invaluable for us to understand how these pollutants are affecting our climate.
Unfortunately, the data from both SCISAT and MOPITT also provides with a rather gloomy picture of global air pollution levels. The data shows that industrial activity is contributing heavily to air pollution, and this air pollution is travelling around the globe. This increases the complexity of understanding and tackling global air pollution, as emissions from one region can have an impact on another region.
With better data comes better understanding, which can lead to more effective policy measures. The data gathered by SCISAT has already been used by countries around the world to develop policies that will improve air quality and reduce emissions. For example, many countries have implemented policy measures such as emissions trading schemes, restrictive vehicle standards, renewable energy targets, fuel efficiency standards, and more.
The data gathered by SCISAT has also been used by organizations such as the World Bank to assess the potential economic costs of climate change. This kind of information can be used to guide public policy decisions on how to best address climate change both in terms of mitigation and adaptation.
Ultimately, the data gathered by SCISAT can be used to help us move beyond ozone depletion and tackle climate change and air pollution more effectively. The data gathered by SCISAT is invaluable to understand how human activity is affecting our planet, and what policy measures can be implemented to reduce emissions and protect our environment for future generations.
Recent Discoveries Showing the Benefits of SCISAT.

The SCISAT satellite has been a valuable tool for scientists and researchers studying the atmosphere, and it has proven its worth in recent phenomena that have disrupted the atmosphere. SCISAT data has helped us better understand the effects of aerosols in the stratosphere following the 2019–20 Australian bushfires. It also has shed light on a new way in which the ozone is being destroyed, involving aerosols and chlorine. And most recently, SCISAT observations were used to estimate the quantity of water vapour injected into the stratosphere from the Hunga Tonga volcano eruption in January 2022. All of these discoveries are helping us better understand our atmosphere and climate, providing insight into how we can better manage our environment.

The 2019–20 Australian bushfires were some of the worst in history, leading to widespread damage to infrastructure and ecosystems. SCISAT data enabled us to observe the injection of aerosols into the stratosphere from these fires, providing insight into how they can affect ozone destruction. The aerosols can act as ‘catalysts’ in a reaction that leads to ozone destruction, and this discovery helps explain why we saw a decrease in ozone levels in the Southern Hemisphere after the fires. This information is key to understanding how we can mitigate future disasters like this, as well as find ways to protect our ozone layer.

The eruption of Hunga Tonga volcano on January 15, 2022, was one of the largest recorded eruptions in recent times. This eruption was so powerful that it injected a large amount of material into the stratosphere. SCISAT was able to observe this event and estimate the quantity of water vapour that was injected into the stratosphere as a result. Water vapour is one of the most powerful natural greenhouse gases and plays a key role in Earth’s climate. The presence of water vapour at such high altitudes could significantly alter our atmosphere’s energy balance, leading to surface warming and changes in atmospheric chemistry. This could have far-reaching implications for our environment, so gaining a better understanding of this phenomenon is important if we want to protect our planet for future generations.

Overall, SCISAT has been an invaluable tool for scientists studying our atmosphere and climate. It has helped us gain a better understanding of phenomena like aerosols, ozone depletion, and water vapour injection into the stratosphere. This information is key for us to be able to protect our environment from future disasters and ensure that it is safe for future generations to enjoy.

Scientific Satellite Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (SciSAT) measures the chemical and dynamic processes.

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