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OSIRIS Provides Unprecedented Ozone Measurement

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Today the Canadian Space Agency is celebrating the third anniversary of the launch and activation of OSIRIS onboard the Swedish satellite Odin. OSIRIS is a Canadian instrument that continues to capture precise data on ozone depletion. The scientific mission, with partners Sweden, Finland and France, is completing its third year and the instrument and satellite are continuing to perform very well.

"For the first time ever, OSIRIS has enabled scientists to precisely define atmospheric structures", says Professor Edward Llewellyn of the University of Saskatchewan, who leads the scientific mission. "The instrument has resulted in unprecedented innovations in atmospheric tomography, producing the equivalent of a CAT scan of the atmosphere. OSIRIS has shown scientists that the atmosphere is structured in ways that had not been previously identified."

OSIRIS, the Canadian instrument onboard Odin, allows scientists to produce various maps of such things as concentrations of aerosols and nitrogen dioxide, which are major sources of atmospheric pollution. It can also provide daily, monthly and annual height profile maps of ozone for a given region.

Data gathered by OSIRIS in 2002 seemed to indicate a lessening in ozone depletion. However, the Antarctic ozone hole was bigger than ever in 2003 and ozone is regenerating at a much slower rate than normal. The Canadian instrument is thus playing a dominant role internationally in ozone studies. Canadian expertise gained and the new methods developed through the use of OSIRIS are valuable since they could be applied to study the atmospheres of Mars and other planets in our Solar System.

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For more information on OSIRIS, please consult the following web page: <http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/csa_sectors/space_science/astronomy/odin.asp

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