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.
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.