Canadian Aerosol Baseline Measurement (CABM) Program

Overview

The Canadian Aerosol Baseline Measurement (CABM) Program monitors changes in the physical and chemical properties of aerosols which influence Canadian air quality and climate.   

The network includes four monitoring sites managed by Environment Canada (EC) in operation since 2005.  EC collaborates with the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration/ Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA/ESRL) on the optical properties measurements. The four sites represent the high Arctic (Alert, NU), the Boreal forest (East Trout Lake, SK), the remote west coast (Whistler, BC) and a rural area in eastern Canada (Egbert, ON) with a slowly increasing influence from urbanization.

Map of sampling stations. 

Aerosols influence climate through their impact on the radiative energy balance and the hydrological cycle. Relevant information can be found in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, Chapter two, and the World Meteorological Organization's report on aerosols and precipitation.

This observational program tracks long term changes in aerosol concentration and composition over Canada due to changes in emissions and the long range atmospheric transport of aerosols and their precursors from within Canada and other countries, as well as due to changes in natural sources and atmospheric transport patterns. At each site the following aerosol properties are measured:

  • Chemical composition
  • Radiative properties such as light scattering and light absorption
  • Aerosol number concentrations

These measurements help scientists understand the linkages among the aerosol chemical composition, aerosol radiative properties, cloud formation and precipitation. CABM measurements also provide validation for regional and global climate models.

This Web section provides an overview of the CABM program, including a description of the four measurement sites, the types of measurements conducted, descriptions of instruments and methods used and how to obtain aerosol data. Long term trends of aerosol chemistry and metal concentrations since 1980 from the high Arctic site are also available.