Saint-Hubert, May 30, 2001 – University of Toronto Professor James Drummond,
Principal Investigator for the Canadian Space Agency’s MOPITT (Measurements
of Pollution in the Troposphere) instrument, unveiled unique new data on
global air pollution during a press briefing today at the American
Geophysical Union annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Atmospheric pollution is a very important issue for our society, and
understanding where it comes from, how it is transported and where it is
destroyed is very significant for anyone studying the subject,” said Dr.

The MOPITT instrument, built by COM DEV International of Cambridge, Ontario,
was launched in December 1999 on board NASA’s Terra satellite as part of an
international Earth observation mission involving the United States, Canada
and Japan.

“The MOPITT project is a prime example of how Canadian innovation in space
science and technology is leading to important discoveries concerning
atmospheric pollution and its effects on our environment,” said Mac Evans,
President of the Canadian Space Agency.

MOPITT is designed to track two pollutants, carbon monoxide and methane,
from space. It has completed a year of data collection and is providing our
first view of the global distribution of these pollutants. Using modeling
and animation, a movie can be produced showing the transport of pollution
around the globe. We can see large production regions around the equator,
associated with grass and forest fires, transport over vast distances across
the oceans, from Africa to South America, from South America to Southern
Africa and then on to Australia. In the Northern Hemisphere we can see
sources from forest fires, such as the ones in North America last summer,
and industrial activity flowing around the globe.

“Scientists are excited about this new view of atmospheric conditions,”
added Dr. Drummond. “This is the first time we have had this birds-eye view
of the movement of pollution on our planet. We have to do a lot of work to
understand what we are seeing and to translate this into a practical way of
limiting the effects on such a large scale.”

The MOPITT data are being studied by an international team of scientists.
Among these are students and scientists at the University of Toronto, who
are studying the accuracy of the data from MOPITT using instrumentation
around the world. Toronto students have worked in Argentina, Russia and
South Africa gathering additional data. Scientists are also looking at the
production of carbon monoxide from forest fires in Canada in the summer of

Animations and images of the first results from MOPITT are available at:

About the Canadian Space Agency
Established in 1989 with its headquarters situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec,
the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space
Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development
business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the
Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite
Communications; Generic Space Technologies; Space Qualification Services and
Awareness. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development
and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and

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MOPITT background information:

For more information:
CSA Media Relations Office
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4345 or 4370
Fax: (514) 943-4352
Web site: