The pollution created from extracting and processing Canadian tar sands is comparable to a large power plant or a mid-size city. Using satellites, scientists were able to measure the levels of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the area near oil sand mines in Alberta, Canada.
While other studies have attempted to measure the pollution created from extracting and processing oil sands, the study is the first to take the entire process from dump trucks to refineries into consideration.
To calculate concentrations of gas, scientists measured sunlight passing through the atmosphere and reflected back into space. Scientists then use the wavelength of the reflected light to calculate the concentration of gases in a particular area.Read more at Environment Canada