The Arctic observatory contains:

  • a near-shore community observatory in Cambridge Bay to study the interaction of sea-ice, water, weather and biology the in Arctic
  • a seasonal array of buoys with ice drifters from Peel Sound to Queen Maud Gulf

Site List

Peel Sound - Darnley Bay

Depth: 0-2 m
Setting: Arctic Waterway
Studies: ice melt and movement; climate

Cambridge Bay

Depth: 0-8 m


Arctic Observatory Map

The Arctic observatory is Ocean Networks Canada's northernmost location of operation with a shore station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, the site of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station. Comprised of several locations across the north, the Arctic observatory allows for a unique view of the oceans.

A suite of seasonal Nunavut ice drifters from Queen Maud Gulf, through Franklin Strait to Peel Sound, came online in the network in early 2012, and the near-shore observatory in Cambridge Bay was installed later that year. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has, in the past, run ice drifters autonomously in that region, and Ocean Networks Canada has added the data from these drifters to Ocean Networks Canada's data system, Oceans 2.0.

The need for Arctic observatories cannot be overstated – our understanding of the physical and biogeochemical processes in the Arctic, especially related to marine ecosystems, is rudimentary, yet it is precisely here where we are witnessing the most rapid and profound impacts of global climate change, in particular the dramatic loss of summer sea ice, the increase in extreme weather events and changing climate regimes. Many national and international organizations have stressed the need for long‐term monitoring of Arctic ecosystems to understand better how they function, how they will respond to global change, and to inform public policy.

Related Observatory

Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Bedford Institute of Oceanography operates an online Arctic ocean observatory in the Barrow Strait. This observatory provides bi-hourly sub-sea data on temperature, salinity, pressure and other parameters.