Thursday, March 28, 2013

University of Toronto observations

We hope that you have enjoyed your first week of data collection! Here are today's weather observations from the University of Toronto's Atmospheric Observatory (TAO). Remember that TAO is located at 174 meters above sea level, so it might be a bit cooler than other places in the city.

Temperature: 3.1ᵒC

Wind speed: 5.9 km/h
Wind direction: NW

Solar insolation: 72.0 W/m2

Thank you Orfeo Colebatch for collecting today's weather observations. 

Photo credit: Dan Weaver.

Monday, March 25, 2013

First day of measurements!!

Just a quick reminder that today is our first official day of measurements!! Grab your instruments and your red CANDAC observation logbook, and get outside to record your measurements and observations! Good luck!

Image credit:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Last day at Ataguttaaluk Elementary School

Today was our final day at Ataguttaaluk Elementary School and we cannot believe how quickly the week has gone by. We really enjoyed our time with students and teachers, and are confident that everyone understands how to make measurements and record their weather observations.

Niall and Mel showed grade 5, 6 and 7 students how to make pyranometer measurements outside. 
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

Students make their own thermometers to learn how they work. 
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Project Launch at Ataguttaaluk Elementary School!!

Niall, Mel and I have been at Attagutaaluk Elementary School launching the Student-Researchers Atmospheric Collaboration since Monday and we've been having an excellent time with the students! The grades 5, 6, and 7 students are using pyranometers to measure solar radiation (insolation), the grades 3 and 4 students are using wind socks and anemometers to measure wind direction and wind speed, and the grades 1 and 2 students are using thermometers to measure temperature.

The older students enjoyed playing the "Sock Name Game," which helped us remember everyone's name. We've met over 150 students this week, so remembering everyone by name is a bit of a challenge!

Most of the grades 5, 6, and 7 classes have had the chance to take their pyranometers outside to practice making measurements. We've learned that the wires the connect the pyranometer and multimeter need to be kept warm for as long as possible until the measurement is taken. Everyone is really getting the hang of it! Leah and Tami's classes have also performed an albedo science lab to determine which type of material reflects and which material absorbs the most heat.

Grade 7 students watch Niall as he demonstrates how a pyranometer and multimeter are used together to detect the amount of radiation. 
Photo credit: Melanie Wright.

Darlene and Meeka's classes have been having a hoot with the wind socks and anemometers. They've practiced with both instruments and caught some wind gusts of about 15km/h. We'll be doing a few more hands-on activities with them over the next two days.

Ataguttaaluk students practice using the wind sock and anemometer to make wind measurements. 
Photo credit: Melanie Wright.

Pat and Jeena's classes have been learning how to read the temperature from a thermometer. They've pretended to be both frozen and hot air particles and determined the temperatures of various water samples. We'll be determining ideal places for their thermometers tomorrow!

Grade 1 students pretend to be air particles as the hot sun (their hands) begins to shine down on them. 
Photo credit: Melanie Wright.

The cloudy sky cleared early this afternoon, so we are hoping to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) tonight.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day in Igloolik!

 Fhéile Pádraig sona ón Igloolik daoibh!! (Happy Saint Patrick's Day from Igloolik!!).

This is definitely the coolest place in which I've spent my country's national holiday! We're having a great time here so far and looking forward to visiting the school tomorrow.

Photos of Igloolik

We had the chance to walk around Igloolik a bit this afternoon and thought that we would share some photos. According to Environment Canada it was -24C and -33 with the windchill, so we bundled up in our parkas and snow pants.

We are staying at the Igloolik Inn, which is only a few minutes walk from Attaguttaaluk Elementary School. 
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour. 

The Igloolik Research Station is owned and operated by the Department of Environment of the Government of Nunavut. Researchers mainly study terrestrial wildlife and their habitats. 
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

The radio station building across the street from our hotel is painted with beautiful and colourful artwork.
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Arrived in Igloolik!

Mel, Niall and I safely arrived in Igloolik this afternoon! We were originally scheduled to arrive in Igloolik yesterday around 4:30PM; however, our connecting flight from Iqaluit to Igloolik was canceled due to inclement weather conditions. We spent the night in Iqaluit and enjoyed a windy walk around the city, stopping at Yummy Shawarma for dinner and browsing the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre and the Nunatta Sunakkataangit Museum to learn more about the history and culture of Nunavummiut. We will post some photos from Igloolik tomorrow!

This bright yellow building is the Iqaluit Airport. It has one main runway that is 2623 meters long. 
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

Northern bottle-nosed whale skull without the lower jaw bones displayed upstairs at the Nunatta Sunakkataangit Museum in Iqaluit.
Photo credit: Melanie Wright.

Sun setting over the city of Iqaluit on Friday, March 15. 
Photo credit: Melanie Wright.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Packing for Igloolik!

Today we are packing all of our outreach materials for our upcoming trip to Ataguttaaluk Elementary School in Igloolik, Nunavut. Checklists are the best way to ensure we remember everything!

 All of our outreach materials were organized on our office mate Stephanie's desk before checking them off our checklist and packing them. Good thing she's working from home today! Thanks Stephanie. :)
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Project Launch at Pickering College!

Left to right: Camille Viatte, Patrick Sheese, and Keven Roy at Pickering College in Newmarket, Ontario.
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

Ashley, Camille, Patrick, and Keven visited Pickering College this morning (Friday, March 8th) to launch the Student-Researchers Atmospheric Collaboration with kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 students. Students were in good spirits, as it was the last day before March Break! It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and meet a few new ones as well. Students learned more about the Arctic environment and had fun trying on Arctic gear that was WAY too big for them!

Kindergarten and grade 1 students tried on official Canada Goose Arctic gear (parka, snow pants, boot, mitts, scarf, toque, and goggles). 
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

Camille showed kindergarten and grade 1 students how to make their own thermometers using plastic bottles, molding clay, straws, and rubbing alcohol to help them better understand how thermometers work. Everyone seemed to get their thermometers working - well done!  Keven also used a large demonstration thermometer to review steps for reading the temperature.

Keven reviewed the temperature scale in degrees Celsius with students.
 Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

Grade 2 and 3 students helped Patrick perform a science demonstration that showed how temperature and pressure affect air density, resulting in atmospheric circulation and winds. They then practiced using their windsock and compass to determine wind direction, and their anemometer to determine wind speed.

Patrick made a bit of a mess doing this demonstration!
Photo credit: Ashley Kilgour.

This year, students will be partnering with students at Ataguttaaluk Elementary School in Igloolik, Nunavut to share and discuss their findings. CANDAC scientists will be visiting Ataguttaaluk School from March 18-22, so please let us know if you have any questions about Igloolik and/or Nunavut!

Point "A" is Newmarket, Ontario (latitude of 44N) and point "B" is Igloolik, Nunavut (latitude of 69N).
Image credit: Google Maps.

Thanks again for inviting us into your classrooms. We are looking forward to hearing from you after March Break!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

CANDAC scientists blogging from Eureka, Nunavut!

Dan Weaver, a PhD student working with Prof. Strong at the University of Toronto, just blogged about the 2013 Canadian Arctic ACE/OSIRIS Validation Campaign from CANDAC's iconic red PEARL lab in Eureka, Nunavut. Read his informative blog at

Environment Canada colleagues welcomed back CANDAC scientists for another year of measurements. 
Photo credit: Dan Weaver.

Dan cools detectors in the Bruker spectrometer with liquid nitrogen. The Bruker measures tropospheric and stratospheric gases like ozone, carbon dioxide, methane, and many more. 
Photo credit: Paul Loewen.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The 2013 ACE Validation Team and Dr. Drummond (CANDAC/PEARL Principal Investigator) on route to Eureka, Nunavut!

Left to right: Dr. James Drummond, Paul Loewen, Joseph Mendonca, Xiaoyi Zhao, Volodya Savastiouk, Emily McCullough, Zen Mariani, Dan Weaver, and Debora Griffin on route to Eureka, Nunavut on February 24, 2013. 
Photo Credit: Paul Loewen.

Photo Credit: Dan Weaver.