Observing the Atmosphere

Teacher's Notes

Things to Emphasize

  • Canada's studies of the ozone layer are part of a worldwide research and atmospheric monitoring program. Through the leadership of the Canadian Space Agency, Canada is involved in research studying the ozone layer from space.
  • SCISAT-1 is the first new Canadian scientific satellite since 1971.
  • SCISAT-1 is scheduled to be launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the Spring of 2003.
  • The scientific mission of SCISAT-1 includes two instruments designed to help our understanding of the chemical processes involved in the depletion of the ozone layer. These are:
    • the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE);
    • Measurements of Aerosol Extinction in the Stratosphere and Troposphere Retrieved by Occultation (MAESTRO).
  • The main goal of the scientific mission is to improve our understanding of the depletion of the ozone layer, especially over Canada and the Arctic.
  • Canada's northern geography makes it one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to the effects of ozone depletion in the Arctic region. Since the ozone layer is responsible for protecting us from harmful uv-B rays from the sun, any reduction in the layer is cause for alarm. Increased exposure to uv-B rays results in higher numbers of cases of skin cancer, eye damage, and weakened immune systems.
  • Continued research, such as that which will be carried out on the ACE mission, will help us identify how the ozone layer can be restored and preserved. This is very important for protecting the health and well-being of all Canadians.

Student Activities

  1. Student Reading Selection, SCISAT-1, Observing the Atmosphere.
  2. Follow-up activity to reading selection: Crossword Puzzle, SCISAT-1, Observing the Earth's Atmosphere (Answers).
  3. Discussion questions:
    • Why should Canadians be concerned about the ozone layer?
    • Why does Canada participate in international scientific research?
    • What is the Montreal Protocol? Research to find out what the purpose is and who is involved.
  4. Ask students to design a poster to advertise SCISAT-1 and the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) Mission.