Post by Lincoln Hood and Allan Roberts
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, is a northern community of approximately 1500 people, situated in a dynamic Arctic environment. In August 2012, Ocean Networks Canada was granted a research license to operate a cabled observatory in Cambridge Bay. The installation was completed in September 2012, and data are now being collected continually.
Monitoring conditions in the Arctic is of critical importance. Arctic regions are changing rapidly, and there is an urgent need to study and understand the consequences. Changes in ice coverage may alter the salinity of marine ecosystems, and may also lead to an increase in shipping traffic. The data being collected by the Ocean Networks Canada Arctic Mini-Observatory are establishing a baseline that will help scientists understand what is happening in the Arctic, and will help them identify trends as conditions change over time.
The Arctic Community Observatory is equipped with instruments for measuring ice thickness, water temperature and salinity and other variables. Video cameras are situated both underwater, and above the surface, and there is also an underwater microphone. A weather station monitors atmospheric conditions. For snapshots of data from the Arctic Observatory, see previous posts, showing the seasonal decline of chlorophyll concentrations at the end of 2012, and the seasonal increase in sunlight in the arctic, over the first few months of 2013.
Data from the Arctic Community Observatory are available through the data search Data Search tool; underwater video, and video from above the surface, are available using SeaTube. Visitors to the website can also make their own graphs of the data using the Data Preview (Plotting Utility) tool.