Air Canada join IAGOS network to monitor air quality from the sky

Air Canada announced yesterday that they have joined the fleet of aircraft that carry diagnostic sensors through which the international non-profit organisation  In-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) can monitor air quality around the world.

The Air Canada Airbus A330 aircraft that has now been fitted with diagnostic sensors brings the active fleet up to nine, with airlines including Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and Chins Airlines already involved in the scheme.

The IAGOS project has been designed to close the gap between the existing worldwide satellite and ground-based networks for atmospheric composition monitoring.

It takes two parts, IAGOS-CORE –  the instrumentation installed in long-range aircraft, which continuously measures important reactive gases and greenhouse gases (ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour), as well as aerosol and cloud particles. The instrumentation is fully automated and can operate aboard the aircraft unattended for several weeks. The data are transmitted automatically to the database.

The other side of the operation is IAGOS-CARIBIC which involves the monthly deployment of a cargo container equipped with much more complex instrumentation that observes around 100 trace gases.

After just a few days in operation the Air Canada aircraft had already detected exceptional levels of carbon monoxide over eastern Canada emanating from the wildfires currently raging in Alberta.

In relation to this, Dr. Hannah Clark, Executive Secretary for IAGOS-AISBL said: ‘Scientists will use these data to understand the impact of events like this on the atmosphere, on air quality and ultimately on climate.’

Dr. David W. Tarasick, Senior Research Scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada. said: ‘These precise measurements of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants will be very valuable for trend and process studies, addressing Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) priorities to understand and track the origin, fate and impact of critical contaminants in the environment.

‘IAGOS data already have an important role in ECCC research and monitoring, and the addition of an Air Canada aircraft to the IAGOS fleet will greatly increase data availability over Canada, and permit better visualisation of the global movement of air pollution. This will allow us to better understand the impacts of wildfires and urban pollution, the additional impacts of climate change on these processes, and to evaluate the success of emissions reductions.’

IAGOS is supported by France, Germany and the UK and the airlines lend their support too by providing technical expertise during installation and deployment of the equipment and by waving the additional fuel costs incurred by carrying the equipment.




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