CAFTON's Scienific Objectives
CAFTON's scientifc objectives can be divided into two main categories: improving measurement capabilities of atmospheric gases and improving the understanding of atmospheric processes.

A) Improved measurements capabilities:

  1. To expand and enhance Canadian FTIR measurement capabilities by providing hands-on training in the use of FTIR spectroscopy for atmospheric remote sounding.
  2. To coordinate the measurements made by these instruments, harmonizing retrieval strategies to derive tropospheric abundances of O3, N2O, CH4, CO, C2H6, C2H2, HCN, and HCHO from the FTIR spectra.
  3. To maximize and quantify the information content and accuracy of retrieved vertical profiles and partial columns.
  4. To provide ground-truth and correlative measurements for satellite missions, to undertake validation comparisons, and to identify issues for future satellite missions.
  5. To archive these data in appropriate databases (e.g., CANDAC, NDACC, TCCON), making them available to the Canadian public and the international scientific community.

B) Improved understanding of atmospheric processes:

  1. To investigate the daily, seasonal, and interannual variability, as well as any discernible trends, in the measured tropospheric species, in a range of settings including urban (Toronto, Halifax), rural (Egbert), and the remote Arctic (Eureka).
  2. To characterize the extent to which observed urban pollution events are local or are due to long-range transport, and to quantify the impact of these pollution episodes on tropospheric O3.
  3. To investigate the sources, transport, and interannual variability of air quality in the Arctic, assessing the relative contributions of anthropogenic pollution and biomass burning from Asia, Europe, and North America, and characterizing the composition of biomass burning plumes.
  4. To assess and optimize regional emission estimates in North America based on comparisons between the GEOS-Chem model and the measurements.
  5. To determine the influence of regional fluxes and long-range transport on spatial and temporal gradients in column measurements of the greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4, within the context of TCCON.


CAFTON's Training Objectives
In addition to its scientific objectives, CAFTON's second major objective, as part of the FAST program, is to provide training for a new generation of Canadian atmospheric scientists. Undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will receive training in measurement and modelling techniques that will prepare them to understand and respond to the air quality and climate-related challenges that Canada and the world will face in the coming decades.

CAFTON's training objectives are as follows:
  1. To provide the opportunity to participate in the hardware and software development of atmospheric remote sounding techniques, and to work with complex instrumentation in adverse environments.
  2. To provide training in collection, retrieval, numerical analysis, and interpretation of atmospheric measurements.
  3. To provide training in state-of-the-art modelling techniques based on chemical transport modelling and Lagrangian particle dispersion modelling.
  4. To provide training in the integration of measurements and models to address scientific questions related to issues of atmospheric composition, transport pathways, and pollutant sources.
  5. To provide training in the validation of satellite data sets using ground-based measurements.
  6. To introduce trainees to issues related to air quality and climate, including long-range transport in the Arctic, regional and trans-boundary transport of pollutants, and increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.
  7. To enhance the educational opportunities available to the trainees, enabling them to build collaborations and networks, and to develop scientific, technical, communications, and organizational skills. Such skills will make them excellent candidates for employment in academic, government, and industrial positions in environmental science and policy. These skills are readily transferable to other areas, and will thus increase Canada’s competitive ability.