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Environment Canada Leads Scientific Research Team Measuring Atmospheric Pollutants in the Arctic

2011-10-14

Canada–U.S.A. deployment team | © C. SwannellScientists from Environment Canada’s Air Quality Research Division are supporting federal government priorities for the Arctic by developing and deploying innovative atmospheric monitoring equipment and delivering related research studies.

Deployment of heavy and sophisticated equipment over ice in a remote area requires very complex logistics, achieved by close collaboration and synchronization of activities of more than 20 federal government departments and external organizations and institutions. Dr. Stoyka Netcheva led deployment of a Canadian atmospheric composition monitoring buoy during a joint Canada-U.S. expedition onboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent icebreaker between August 18 and September 30. The research project was funded through the International Polar Year and received support from the Canadian Extended Continental Shelf Mapping Program.

The air sampling buoy (“O-Buoy 4”) was deployed in the Arctic Ocean at latitude 88.15°N and longitude 157.49°W on September 5. The buoy is recording concentrations of ozone, carbon dioxide, and bromine monoxide, and various meteorological parameters. The instrumentation package is also outfitted with a differential GPS system, to record buoy and ice movement, and a web camera to take periodic snapshots of ice and sky conditions. Data are transmitted several times per day via satellite to a dedicated data server and displayed on a public website: http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor.  Meteorological and ice drift information is supplied daily to the World Meteorological Organization and International Arctic Buoy Program.

Scientists need the kinds of data collected through this deployment to learn more about atmospheric processes in the Arctic and develop a better capacity to forecast future developments  and how these might affect climate. The Canadian O-Buoy team received support on the project’s latest deployment by Dr. Jacob Verhoef, Director of the Canadian Extended Continental Shelf Mapping Program; the project's Chief Scientist Dr. David Mosher; and CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent icebreaker Captain Marc Rothwell. 

Contact: Dr. Stoyka Netcheva, 416-739-4856, Air Quality Research