Northeast Pacific Ocean
In the Northeast Pacific ocean, ONC is observing changes in the timing, intensity, and chemical properties of upwelled waters, nutrient availability, and primary production. To quantify these changes, ONC is committed to continuous, long-term recording of temperature, salinity, direction and intensity of water currents, dissolved oxygen distributions, pH and pCO2 using sensors installed on the North East Pacific Time-series Underwater Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE) observatory. The NEPTUNE shore station at Port Alberni on Vancouver Island sends the collected data from NEPTUNE via fibre optic cable to the University of Victoria. The NEPTUNE infrastructure is an 840 km loop of fibre optic cable with five nodes. Each node is instrumented with a diverse suite of sensors that enable researchers to study interactions among geological, chemical, physical, and biological processes that drive the dynamic earth-ocean system over a broad spectrum of oceanic environments including:
- explore the continental shelf at Folger Passage
- explore the continental slope at Clayoquot Slope and Barkley Canyon
- explore mid-plate on the abyssal plain at Cascadia Basin and
- explore mid-ocean ridge at the crest of the Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge.
- explore the axial rift valley at Middle Valley
ONC sensors are installed in the Saanich Inlet and the Strait of Georgia, comprising the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) network. There are also several moorings collecting data passively in the nearby Juan de Fuca Strait. The Salish Sea provides unique environments to study ocean science. The Saanich Inlet, which is naturally anoxic at depth through much of the year, is a natural laboratory for studying impacts of variations in oxygen concentration on all parts of the ecosystem. The Fraser River delta in the Strait of Georgia is an ideal location for examining how relevant processes can precondition sediment. Sensors installed on two VENUS nodes (at Central and East Strait of Georgia) are able to measure variables that can affect slope stability and observe what mechanisms regulate underwater landslides in near real-time. Sensors on the VENUS network are installed in interesting coastal marine environments including:
- explore the deep glacial fjord with anoxic bottom waters at Saanich Inlet
- explore the turbulent and dynamic environment of the Fraser River delta at Strait of Georgia
- explore the Community Observatory at Mill Bay
- explore several autonomous sub-surface moorings at the Juan de Fuca Strait
ONC has installed a diverse sensor network on Vancouver Island, including observing systems at coastal and in-land communities. Community Observatories with sensors to measure ocean changes is installed on Vancouver Island at Campbell River. The Web-enabled Awareness Research Network (WARN) has earthquake-detecting sensors called accelerometers installed at Port Renfrew, Kyoquot, Holberg, Tahsis, Port Alice, Woss Lake and Zeballos. In 2017, several more accelerometers will be installed on Vancouver island to measure the intensity of earthquakes and support the development of an earthquake early warning system. A remote ocean sensing system (WERA) installed at Tofino Airport provides data of ocean surface currents and significant wave height and direction over long distances. At many of the instrumented sites, ONC has also installed weather stations to better understand atmospheric processes and changes over long periods of time.
- explore the WARN sensors and earthquake early warning
- explore the Campbell River Community Observatory with installations at Campbell River and Cape Mudge
British Columbia North Coast
The North Coast is an area of coastal British Columbia that includes a complex network of channels and estuaries. The unique marine ecosystems of the North Coast are important for a diverse number of flora and fauna, including marine mammals such as orca and humpback whales. Economically important pelagic fish species such as salmon, eulachon and herring also use this area as spawning and schooling grounds. Ocean Networks Canada has installed ocean sensors and coastal Wave Radar (WAMOS) and Coastal Radar (CODAR) systems in partnership with communities on the North Coast. These systems collect data in near real-time to help to monitor and better understand these remote coastal environments. ONC sensors on the North Coast include:
- explore the Prince Rupert Community Observatory with installations at Prince Rupert, Digby Island and Ridley Island
- explore the Kitamaat Village Community Observatory at Kitamaat Village
Line P and Station Papa
Data from the Line P time series and Ocean Station Papa are also available through the Ocean Networks Canada data search. Ocean Station Papa (50.00°'N, 145.00'°W, depth 4220m) was first operated as an ocean weather station by the United States Coast Guard beginning in December 1949. Starting in December 1950, Canadian weatherships occupied the site and began to take routine oceanographic measurements in addition to collecting meteorological data. In August 1981, the Institute of Ocean Sciences, part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada, began taking shipboard measurements along Line P, a series of sampling stations beginning on the continental shelf and ending at Ocean Station Papa, 3-6 times per year building a very valuable time-series of oceanographic data on the Northeast Pacific Ocean. This sampling regime is still done today. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory installed a surface mooring to collected further oceanographic data between 1997 and 1999. The U.S. Ocean Observatory Initiative will be installing one of its Global oceanographic buoys at Station Papa.