Nares Strait 2012: Weather Stations and Polar Bears

Weather stations offer basic information that relate to the motion of air, ice, and water. As part of our Nares Strait experiments and expeditions that started in 2003, a group of Canadian, Danish, English, Scottish, and US scientists began installations of a small network of such stations. The first and perhaps most prominent was placed on Hans Island which was a joint Danish and Canadian operation with the data hosted in real-time by the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS, they also host data from Littleton Island on Greenland). This station was refurbished about 10 days ago from the Canadian Coast Guard Henry Larsen:

Dave Riedel (kneeling) and Don Dobbin (standing) on Hans Island during routine maintenance of the weather station. View is across Nares Strait with Ellesmere Island, Canada is towards the north-west. [Photo Credit: Allison Einolf, University of Delaware summer undergraduate intern from Macalaster College.]

Another weather station was placed last week by Dave Riedel and Ron Lindsay with the helicopter pilot Don Dobbin on Brevoort Island, Canada. Dave, who is shown above at the Hans Island weather station just posted his account and close encounters with two polar bears at the University of Oxford’s Arctic Ocean Research page. As a teaser I show the island as seen from the helicopter. Can you find and see the two polar bear in this photograph?

Bears on Brevoort Island, Ellesmere Island during the installation of an automated weather station on Aug.-13, 2012. Photo credit: Dave Riedel, British Columbia as posted at University of Oxford’s Arctic Ocean Research.

The data from the two “new” weather stations at Brevoort Island, Canada at the entrance to Alexandra Fjord and Joe Island, Greenland at the entrance to Petermann Fjord have real-time satellite data download capabilities, but these will need to be turned on from British Columbia by David Riedel and Canadian colleagues. I am not sure if they made it home when we parted yesterday night at Ottawa International Airport when they still had to make 2 or 3 connections to get home after being in the air or in transit for 3 days. More on the fun and adventure of traveling in the far north is reported by Dr. Renske Gelderloos in her blog post today at the Oxford site also. I suspect, that she wrote while being stranded somewhere between Ottawa and London.

4 responses to “Nares Strait 2012: Weather Stations and Polar Bears

  1. Hi Andreas,
    I am interested in the weather data from Joe Island, Greenland and can’t seem to locate any info about it on the web. Would you be able to pass on a contact person for the station?

    Thanks,
    Heather (MSc student at the University of Manitoba)

    • I am unsure on what happened to the station and its data except that Canada and Denmark are co-ordinating some aspects to service the station better in the future than is possible right now. I also send you an e-mail with some additional (contact) information that may work for you.

  2. Ashley O'Brien

    Hi Andreas,
    i am interested in the Hans and Littleton Island weather data . I had used this link before to download the real-time data but the link doesnt seem to be working now as it was two weeks ago. Has it been shut down? Any information or contact person for this would be great!

    Thank you
    Ashley (MSc student, York University, Arctic & Antarctic Sea Ice Lab)

    • Ashley: The problem here is that neither Canadian nor Danish nor USA governments support upkeep and maintenance of weather and other automated data collection stations in the Nares Strait area. This is a sad state of affairs, especially as we have witnessed dramatic change in the Arctic that now will go unobserved.

      That said, I just returned from meetings with NASA and Canadian scientists who all have strong interests in the data and science, but no funds to support the collection of such data.

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