Cambridge Bay, a small hamlet, is located in Northern Canada on Victoria Island, Nunavut within Inuit Territory. Cambridge Bay is known in the Innuinaqtun language as Ikaluktutiak meaning "many fish". The water in Cambridge Bay is part of the Arctic Ocean, which is the smallest and shallowest of the world’s five ocean regions. The Arctic Ocean is partially covered by ice for the majority of the year and the seasonal melting and freezing of ice causes changes in surface temperature and salinity.
The Arctic is rapidly changing due to climate change and it is becoming imperative to collect baseline data to better understand these changes. The community observatory situated at a depth of 6 m off the Cambridge Bay dock is contributing to real-time continuous undersea monitoring of the coastal Arctic ocean environment.
This observatory has several instruments including a CTD (measuring Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth, as well as the salinity, pressure, and density of the water), an oxygen sensor, a fluorometer, a camera, and an ice profiler. There is also a shore-based time-lapse camera and a weather station in addition to the undersea instruments. Together, these instruments provide insight into the functioning of the bay, ice conditions, atmospheric-ocean interactions, benthic and water column biology, and near-shore water properties.