August 15, 2005

Environment Canada begins four-week study to track pollutant paths across central Alberta

EDMONTON, ALTA-A four-week air quality research project being carried out in the Edmonton area by Environment Canada will estimate the movement of pollutants across central Alberta to examine chemical processes and evaluate the accuracy of air quality computer models. The study, called PrAIRie2005, began August 10 and will run to September 10, 2005. It is a joint effort, supported by Alberta Environment, West Central Airshed Association, Parkland Airshed Management Zone, Fort Air Partnership, the Canadian Forest Service, Millwoods Honda and Toyota Canada. Continuing industrial development and the increasing size of urban centres underscores the need for better understanding of air quality issues in the Canadian prairies. The PrAIRie2005 project will bring together scientists and advanced instruments from across Canada. A Cessna 207 equipped with special laser technology will fly in a grid pattern, collecting data on pollution and ground level ozone. The measurements will be compared with Environment Canada's high-tech mobile laboratories on the ground as well as observations from Alberta Environment and local airsheds. One of the participating mobile laboratories is RASCAL (Rapid Acquisition Scanning Aerosol Lidar). Operating in a converted motorhome, it is equipped with a high-powered laser and telescope that provides images of the distribution of atmospheric particles.

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