Greenhouse gases and aerosols monitoring

Long-term observations of greenhouse gases and aerosols provide important information to scientists to understand how the Earth’s climate system is changing. These measurements contribute to our understanding of natural and human sources of greenhouse gases and aerosols. They also provide insights to atmospheric processes related to climate, including effectiveness of emissions mitigation. Investigating atmospheric-biogeochemical processes and their role as forcing agents in the atmosphere enables better climate predictions and scenarios to inform adaptation.  

Greenhouse gases, aerosols, clouds, and water vapour interact with the radiation in the atmosphere by either absorbing energy (warming the atmosphere) or reflecting energy (cooling the atmosphere). In general, greenhouse gases and black carbon aerosols tend to warm the atmosphere.

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) greenhouse gas and aerosol programs contribute to Canada’s commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Atmosphere Watch Program,and the Global Climate Observing System by providing information on atmospheric composition and Essential Climate Variables. These measurements, including the long-term record at Alert, NU, also contribute to the ongoing assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Scientists at ECCC use a variety of data (in addition to ground-based observations), such as space-based observations and short-term aircraft, ship, and field campaigns.  They also build climate system models to understand how the atmosphere is affected by natural and human activities.

Services and information

Learn more about ECCC measurement networks, use of satellite observations, and special studies of climate processes relating to greenhouse gases and aerosols:

Canadian Greenhouse Gas Measurement Program

Information on greenhouse gas measurements across Canada

Information on aerosol measurements across Canada

One of ECCC's tools for understanding the carbon cycle

Questions? Send your enquiries, comments and suggestions to:

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Climate Research Division
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario CANADA
M3H 5T4

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