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About Us

About the University of Toronto Team

We, the Instrument Operations Team (IOT), at University of Toronto are in charge of the MOPITT instrument flight operations. We perform annual calibration and decontamination of the instrument and monitor the instrument's health on a daily basis. At University of Toronto, we have an Instrument Support Terminal (IST) dedicated to interface with NASA were we can observe all the engineering telemetry from the instrument. This telemetry includes temperatures, pressures, voltages and currents of all the components of the instrument.


During the decontamination process we upload certain commands to the instrument which heats the instrument and causes out-gassing of contaminants from optics and detectors. This process is done annually to improve the noise levels and biases on the scientific data.

Below are short summaries and biographies of the University of Toronto team.

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James Drummond


MOPITT-Canada Principal Investigator

Prof. James R. Drummond, M.A., D.Phil. FRSC graduated from the University of Oxford in England, was a faculty member of the Department of Physics, Toronto University for 27 years and then a Canada Research Chair in Remote Sounding of Atmospheres in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science at Dalhousie University until his recent “retirement”. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the Measurements Of Pollution in The Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument on the Terra satellite; a Co-Investigator for the instruments on the Canadian SciSat satellite; Principal Investigator of the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) at Eureka, Nunavut; the founding president of the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators (CNNRO); the Chair of the Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO); and the Canadian representative to several international organisations.

Jiansheng (Jason) Zou

MOPITT-Canada Instrument Operations

Dr. Jiansheng (Jason) Zou (M.S., Ph.D.) has worked at the University of Toronto since 1999. He has been extensively involved with Canadian spaceflight missions pre- and post-launch activities with both MOPITT and the MAESTRO. He was responsible for spacecraft instrument operations and Level 0 to Level 2 data analysis. For the MOPITT instrument operations team at UofT, he is primarily responsible for running the processing programs for the MOPITT instrument. He has contributed to several scientific publications and is the author or co-author on several refereed journal articles. Dr. Zou received his PhD in Oceanic Remote Sensing from Hamburg, Germany in 1992.

Florian Nichitiu


MOPITT-Canada Instrument Operations

Dr. Florian Nichitiu (M.Sc., Ph.D.) is the retired senior researcher who was in charge of the MOPITT operations from 2001 to 2019. He completed his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in physics at the Faculty of Physics, Bucharest University in Romania. He has published many scientific works in international journals (List of Publications), one book and 2 patents (Optics and Electrochemistry). He has been a significant contributor to the MOPITT instrument health and safety.

Zahra Vaziri


MOPITT-Canada Instrument Operations

Dr. Zahra Vaziri (M.Sc., Ph. D) is the newly appointed MOPITT operator. She did her M.Sc. in space science and technology at Lulea University of Technology in Kiruna, Sweden and her Ph.D. in Earth and space science at York University in Toronto, Canada. She worked her thesis on “Development and Improvement of Spectroscopic Techniques for Atmospheric Composition Measurements from Ground and Space”. For the MOPITT instrument operations team at UofT, she is in charge of producing daily engineering data plots to monitor the health of the instrument as well as produce reports and scientific papers related to MOPITT.