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Air Quality Science and Research

Environment Canada's air quality science and research helps to protect the air that Canadians breathe.  We study air pollutants that can alter the atmosphere and affect human health, including acid rain, persistent organic pollutants, ground-level ozone, particulate matter, mercury, and substances that deplete the ozone layer.  Our research is based on an integrated and multidisciplinary approach, which includes the study of the science of air issues, from the source of pollutants, and their transportation and interactions in the atmosphere, to the impacts on health and the environment. 

Our research supports the development of regulations, guidelines and policies to protect the health of Canadians and their environment, as well as contributing to our international obligations.  Our work also keeps Canadians informed about changes in air quality and the potential impacts on their health, by providing the science needed for the Environment Canada's daily forecasts of air quality and ultraviolet (UV).

Did You Know...

Environment Canada operates the most northerly air pollution monitoring station in the world – located at Alert, on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut.  Research here has led to the discovery of Arctic haze and unusual interactions of mercury and ozone on ice surfaces.


The Brewer Ozone Spectrophotometer is the world's most accurate ozone-measuring instrument.  Developed by Environment Canada scientists, it provides data used to produce the UV Index.