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February 2009

February 2009



Topic:  Climate Change Research in Canada’s High Arctic


Rising atmospheric and oceanic temperatures, receding glaciers, and a diminishing Arctic ice cap are all evidence of a global warming trend.  Our ability to predict future change relies on our understanding of the different components of the earth’s global climate system, and how these components interact.  Since the oceans play a critical role in the global climate system by both storing and redistributing heat and salt, they are a primary climate research focus.

BIO oceanographers have been making measurements in the eastern end of the Northwest Passage.  Speed, direction, salinity, temperature and ice thickness have provided data to estimate volume, freshwater and heat transports through this important connecting pathway. Ice ridges present a hazard to conventional sub-surface instrumented moorings if they extend up into the top 30 m of the water column.  Yet, it is in this upper layer that the fresh water from ice melt is concentrated.  The moored profiler “Icycler” has been developed and used to successfully collect daily year-round profiles to this under ice surface critical zone.  Other specialized instrumentation and techniques we have developed for our work will be presented.

Results, along with the unique instrumentation developed to acquire these useful time series will be discussed.  The presentation is accompanied by site-seeing highlights from this very beautiful part of Canada.