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A Photographic Tour of Eureka

by Thomas J. Duck

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Welcome to the Eureka Weather Station!

Eureka is the strange and wonderful place that I visited each winter during my graduate studies in physics (1994-1999) to conduct investigations of atmospheric dynamics using a laser radar (or lidar). Eureka is located in the Canadian High Arctic (80°N, 86°W) on Slidre Fjord on Ellesmere Island; it's position is shown on the map to the right. I have put together this collection of pictures from Eureka for your interest. Enjoy!
On the left is a picture of me outside of the Eureka Weather Station. Eureka was the first of Canada's High Arctic weather stations, established in 1947 by the Department of Transport, Air Services Division, Meteorological Branch (eventually to become the Meteorological Service of Canada) in a joint project with the United States Weather Bureau. Since that time, the Arctic atmosphere and stratospheric ozone layer have been continuously monitored by weather balloons launched twice daily. Eureka is in a key location for studies of stratospheric dynamics and ozone depletion.

The only way in and out of Eureka is via one of the Twin Otter aircraft which visit every few weeks to bring in fresh supplies. Always reliable, the Twin Otter has earned itself the nickname "The Workhorse of the Arctic".

Landing at Eureka, you quickly understand just how isolated you are from the rest of the world. Pictured on the left is the main base camp, a rather lonely place! In fact, there are no communities in Canada as far North as Eureka (although the military base of CFS Alert is closer to the pole at 82°N). About 8 to 10 people weather the winter months in this distant place.

And how inhospitable it is! During the winter, it's dark 24 hours/day x 7 days/week. The total lack of solar heating results in severly cold temperatures, usually in the neighbourhood of -40 °C during February. In the photo at the left, it is so cold that the cup of hot water I tossed into the air quickly vapourized into millions of ice crystals! Most of the pictures shown in this tour were taken in late March (after the polar sunrise), when the temperatures are somewhat warmer.

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Copyright © Thomas J. Duck
Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 3J5
Tel: (902)494-1456 | Fax: (902)494-5191 | E-mail: tomduck@fizz.phys.dal.ca (public key)