Using the carbon cycle to understand the "borealification" of the Arctic. By @themadstone earther.com/the-arctics-me… Retweeted by Fiera Biological

Hate to rain on the parade, but be careful #yegbike and #yegtraffic - the snazzy new @shop124street red crossing p… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… Retweeted by Fiera Biological

Field Notes: Arctic Climate & Glaciology, 2018

calendar icon April 19, 2018

Date: May 7, 2018

Personnel: Dr. Brad Danielson

Mission:   Find hole in blizzard conditions and finish project. Collect glacier mass balance data with NRCAN on remote far north icecaps

Location: Back in Resolute, waiting on a chance to relocate to Melville Island icecap

Recap since my last:
We finished work on Meighen Island quickly, then got weather stayed at Eureka for 2 days while Resolute was hit with a big storm.  Then we were stuck in Resolute for 4-5 days because the weather was terrible everywhere we wanted to go.  Put us behind schedule a bit.
While waiting in Resolute, we met up with a UOttawa student who will be working with us for the remainder of the trip, and also the team of 2 from UofA who will be working on Devon at the same time as us.  It’s nice to have some travelling companions.

The weather finally cleared up on Devon ice cap – just enough for us and the UofA team to get dropped off and set up camp.   We spent a few days working through a mixed bag of weather conditions on the upper part of the ice cap: we serviced 4 weather stations, did our snow&ice thickness change measurement transect, and then drilled some shallow ice cores and did some GPS surveys that will be used as ground-reference points for a new Arctic digital elevation model.
We had one day off due to blizzard, then packed up and the whole team of 5 of us did a 20km camp move by skidoo train down onto the Sverdrup Glacier.  It’s one of the most scenic places we travel too, with steep
Metamorphic cliff walls all around, and we always enjoy camping there.   We spent another 3 days there finishing our mass balance measurements, and did an overhaul of a satellite-uplinked weather station.

Then we called in a flight to hop us over Jones Sound to the remote hamlet of Grise Fjord on the south coast of Ellesmere Island.   This is the most northern permanently inhabited community in Canada.   We monitor the ongoing changes occurring at the small glacier just outside of town.   This trip also gave us an opportunity to do some information gathering for a potential climate monitoring project that we submitted a proposal for.
We had a great stay in Grise: the weather was perfect, the scenery stunning, we got to do a couple short hikes, and had opportunity to interact with the locals a bit.   We were even invited to a community feast on Saturday night, where we got to try some local food (Caribou and Arctic Char).

Satellite pager message from Fiera Arctic Expedition.  Climate Change, monitoring, community consulting,

Satellite pager message from Fiera Arctic Expedition.

Now… We’re back in Resolute.   We have one site left to finish: Melville Island icecap, way out on the western side of the Arctic archipelago.   The weather has been terrible out there this whole trip, but we just need a 2 day window of good weather to finish the job, before we go home…

Overall, we’re all holding up well.  No one has gotten sick, hurt, or frost-bit, and we can still tolerate each others company, so it’s all-good.

Date: May 1, 2018

Personnel: Joseph Litke

Mission: Enjoy Sunshine and watch trees turn green and other signs of spring, Dr Brad Danielson collects data in the Arctic.

Location: Joseph, Edmonton; Brad, Devon Island

Arctic, glacier, climate change, climate research, field work, north, glacier, cold

Brad’s latest location, North Devon Island.

Arctic, glacier, climate change, climate research, field work, north, glacier, cold

Temperature from Devon Island: Highs in the minus 20 C range. Nice. Spring is in the air!

Date:  April 19, 2018

Personnel: Dr. Brad Danielson

Mission: Collect glacier mass balance data with NRCAN on remote far north icecaps.

Location: Eureka

Two sites done, and three to go.   But currently we’re weather bound at the Environment Canada weather station at Eureka.

Our work on the Agassiz icecap went very smoothly.  We maintained 3 automatic weather stations and collected glacier mass balance measurements along 2 survey transects – that took us about 2 full days.   The weather was reasonably good (ie. not too windy) and that allowed us to work quickly.  We even had time to do a couple XC ski outings from camp.   Then a blizzard moved in – a big one that affected the whole region from Resolute all the way up to us on northern Ellesmere Island.   We hunkered down at camp, spent most of the day in the tent, and occasionally went out to secure the tent and other gear against the wind and blowing snow.   By the end, snow drifts had changed the topography of camp.   We dug out, and called PCSP the next morning, who sent a Twin Otter out to us.

The co-pilot was brand new; along for his first ride in the far north, first landing on skis on an icecap.   He got out of the plane, his eyes wide.   “It’s like flying over a different planet.  There’s nothing but mountains and snow everywhere.  And then suddenly, there’s you two, standing there in the middle of no where.   You guys are crazy!”    I had to chuckle at his impression.  I guess it does seem that way.

We arrived back at Resolute quite late that evening.   In the morning, the base manager showed us the weather forecasts.   Looked like a brief window of good weather would open up around Meighen island, so we took it and headed straight back out.

Meighen island is where we got hammered with bad weather, bad travel conditions, and some bad luck last year.  It’s not a place you want to spend any extra time.   So we took advantage of the clear, calm, sunny weather (still -30).  We started work straight after getting camp set up and worked into the evening, then all of the next day, and wrapped up by about 8pm.
We called PCSP again and let them know we’d be ready for extraction the next morning.   They said: Good, because another storm is on the way.

A plane departed early the next morning, giving us about 2.5hrs to quickly eat breakfast, then break camp and get everything packed up.   The Twin touched down, landing directly beside our pile of gear, and we worked with the pilots to quickly load up the skidoo, komatiq, and all our other gear.   Then we were off, to race the weather system moving into Resolute.

We stopped at Eureka for fuel.  The pilots pumped in as much fuel as the plane could hold, then we climbed back in and the captain radioed PCSP for a weather update.   Winds already picking up there, and visibility dropping rapidly.   By the time we would arrive, vis down the runway was expected to be less than 1/4mile.   We missed the window opportunity.

Fortunately the Eureka weather station is a fully staffed, modern facility, and they have some extra space available for wayward travellers.   It’s not really their responsibility to host guests, but they do, from time to time, take in pilots and ‘beakers’ (as they call us) when the weather strands them.

There’s a crew of 8 here, including cooks, mechanical and maintenance people, and weather techs.  The food is good, it’s warm and comfortable, so we’re quite content.   We volunteer for odd jobs…

The weather here is fine: sunny, -30, a light breeze.   But Resolute is in bad shape.   The weather station there stopped reporting today around noon.   Sustained 100km/hr winds.  Blowing snow that make buildings across the road invisible.  Power went out in town.
So we’ll stay here and wait this one out.   And hope this doesn’t cut into our schedule too badly.

Eureka weather station complex, from the sea ice:

Eureka weather station complex, from the sea ice

 

Helping the weather techs measure sea ice thickness

Helping the weather techs measure sea ice thickness

Date:  April 18, 2018

Personnel: Dr. Brad Danielson

Mission: Collect glacier mass balance data with NRCAN on remote far north icecaps.

Location: Eureka

Eureka

Eureka

GSC / Fiera camp on Meighen Island. The very edge of Canada, Russia lies across the Arctic Ocean from here. Glacier mass balance measurements have been conducted here annually since the 1960's. Recent observations indicate that this tiny icecap is grimly hanging onto existence despite recent warming trends, through sheer spite and determination. #fierabiological #weworkhere #nrcan

GSC / Fiera camp on Meighen Island. The very edge of Canada, Russia lies across the Arctic Ocean from here. Glacier mass balance measurements have been conducted here annually since the 1960’s. Recent observations indicate that this tiny icecap is grimly hanging onto existence despite recent warming trends, through sheer spite and determination. #fierabiological #weworkhere #nrcan

 

Meanwhile, on Hoth... #nerdalert

Meanwhile, on Hoth…
#nerdalert

My Tauntaun died of exposure today. Extremely upsetting. Please send replacement. Over.. #nerdalert

My Tauntaun died of exposure today. Extremely upsetting. Please send replacement. Over.. #nerdalert

Date:  April 10, 2018

Personnel: Dr. Brad Danielson

Mission: Collect glacier mass balance data with NRCAN on remote far north icecaps.

Location: PCSP Resoulte

Only -25 here, but with a face-stripping wind chill, we have not spent much time outside today.   Except to “test drive” our snowmobile.   And some other interesting machines they have lying around here (ie. a monster quad on sno-traks).

Our first full day here has been spent mainly in the warehouse at the PCSP Logistics Base, going through all our food, work gear, and camp supplies.   It all needs to be checked over, checked off lists, organized into boxes, and stacked on a pallet, ready to be loaded onto a plane.  There are tents to repackage, stoves to test, tools to inspect, plus all our own cold weather gear to organize.
Without really rushing things (lest we overlook something small but crucial) it takes about a day.
In amongst all this activity, there are three very substantial meals that must be eaten.   I could try to describe it, but, those of you who havnt been here, simply wouldnt believe it.  The cooks really go to extraordinary lengths to produce meals of overwhelming quality and variety.   Meals here should come with thier own safety breifings; amateurs are at risk of serious injury.  Fortunatly, as they say, this is not my first rodeo.   I have trained myself to consume just enough to prepare myself for the days of cold and isolation ahead, and yet avoid rupture of any critical organs.
All in all, its been a good day.   Dave and I both feel a bit like this is a strange second home. Its nice to reconnect with all the great staff here that make this facility run, and allow us to do what we do out in the field.  Dave and I are the only scientists here, and there are no military around right now.  So we feel like we have the place to ourselves, and have an amazing support team.
Over the years I’ve developed a bit of superstition, as well as some healthy respect, for the forces that govern the weather up here.   So I avoid saying needlessly confident things about schedules.   But you may not hear from me again until we return from our first worksite.
Hopefully then I can send some pictures.   I’ve been having some difficulty getting attachments to upload.
Brad

Date:  April 9, 2018

Personnel: Dr. Brad Danielson

Mission: Collect glacier mass balance data with NRCAN on remote far north icecaps.

Location: PCSP, Resolute

Stop in Iqaluit before arriving at base of operations at PCSP, Resolute

Never thought I'd actually see a new Iqaluit airport in operation. But here it is. MAJOR improvement. #YFB

Never thought I’d actually see a new Iqaluit airport in operation. But here it is. MAJOR improvement. #YFB

 

Hello again Resolute Bay.

Hello again Resolute Bay.

Date:  April 8, 2018

Personnel: Dr. Brad Danielson

Mission: Collect glacier mass balance data with NRCAN on remote far north icecaps.

Location: Ottawa

Layover in Ottawa to get some final preparation out of the way, drink a beer, an memorize what trees look like.

 

Hello Ottawa

Hello Ottawa

 

Annual visit to the Cold War era headquarters of the Geological Survey of Canada. #timemachine

Annual visit to the Cold War era headquarters of the Geological Survey of Canada. #timemachine

 

Delving into the archives. I merely walk the paths laid by intrepid explorers....

Delving into the archives. I merely walk the paths laid by intrepid explorers….

 

1960-61 Arctic Institute expedition to Devon Island. These guys... were truly hardcore.

1960-61 Arctic Institute expedition to Devon Island. These guys… were truly hardcore.

Date:  April 6, 2018

Personnel: Dr. Brad Danielson

Mission: Collect glacier mass balance data with NRCAN on remote far north icecaps.

Location: Edmonton, Final Preparations

Mr. Murphy has a sixth sense about when he’s going to get left behind.

The moment he figured out something unusual is about to happen.

The moment he figured out something unusual is about to happen.

 

Approaching readiness

Approaching readiness


Posted in: News

My Tauntaun died of exposure today. Extremely upsetting. Please send replacement. Over.. #nerdalert

Water Boundaries Seminar

calendar icon March 29, 2018

Hands-On Three Day Water Boundaries Seminar

Have you ever wondered where an aquatic habitat ends, and an upland terrestrial habitat begins? Turns out it’s complicated! Join us as Dr. Shari Clare navigates us through a labyrinth of ecological parameters, legislation and policy, and the knowledge and techniques that need be employed to delineate water boundaries and riparian habitats.

Date April 30, 2018 at 08:30
In this three-day custom seminar you will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the ecological systems that affect the complex and dynamic transitional areas between the bed and shore and become more familiar with the new Alberta Government’s Wetland policy, how this influences our job and what it takes to become certified to evaluate wetlands. Read more


Posted in: News

Water Boundaries, riparian, wetland conservation, working near waterbodies, wetlands, watercourse,

Job Opportunity:

calendar icon November 14, 2017

Sr. Environmental Scientist

Fiera Biological Consulting Ltd. is based in Edmonton, Alberta, and offers a broad range of environmental research, management, and monitoring services to clients throughout western Canada. Our firm also has a very active research and development program that is engaged in developing new and innovative methods for addressing important applied environmental management questions. For more information on Fiera Biological, including a description of our current team of scientists and recent projects, please consult our website at www.fieraconsulting.ca.

We are seeking a highly motivated, career-oriented Senior Environmental Scientist to lead and provide support on a variety of projects. Read more

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: News

Wind Energy Impact Assessment, Wildlife Guidelines, Solar Energy, Wind Energy Application, Solar Energy Application, Pre development wildlife study, Wind turbine, wildlife collisions, field investigations, conservation database, FWMIS, ACIMS, important natural habitats, pre-construction surveys, fall migration surveys, songbird surveys, late migrants, breeding bird surveys, raptor surveys, wintering bird surveys, wildlife inventory methods, wildlife biologist, migration corridor assessment,

2017 Wildlife Snow-tracking Workshop

calendar icon November 9, 2017

Fiera Biological is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a Wildlife Snow-tracking Workshop in Edmonton, Alberta. The workshop will consist of a two-hour classroom session during the evening of Friday December 1, 2017, and a half-day in the field on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

Fiera Biological is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a Wildlife Snow-tracking Workshop in Edmonton, Alberta. The workshop will consist of a two-hour classroom session during the evening of Friday December 1, 2017, and a half-day in the field on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

This workshop is for anyone interested in learning how to identify wildlife snow tracks. Ideal for the beginner,  the workshop will cover the basics of snow track identification, but is also likely to offer something to even the most experienced wildlife tracker. Read more

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in: Biological Resource Assessments, News, Wildlife Research and Monitoring

Weasel track, snow track, track identification, wildlife, nature, naturalist, species identification,

Job Opportunity: Sr. Remote Sensing Scientist

calendar icon September 20, 2017

Fiera Biological Consulting Ltd. is based in Edmonton, Alberta, and offers a broad range of environmental research, management, and monitoring services to clients throughout western Canada. Our clients include municipal, provincial, and federal governments, ENGOs, universities, forest companies, engineering firms, as well as other environmental consulting firms. Our firm also has a very active research and development program that is currently engaged in developing new and innovative methods for applying remote sensing to a variety of different environmental applications. For more information on Fiera Biological, including a description of our current team of scientists and recent projects, please consult our website at www.fieraconsulting.ca.

We are seeking a highly motivated, career-oriented senior geomatics scientist to provide support for a variety of projects, and are looking for self-starting individuals who are interested in excelling both personally and professionally. Read more

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: News

Fiera Biological, Ecological Services, Geomatics, Ecological Geomatics, Ecological Applications UAV, Ecological Applications Drone, Wetlands, Riparian, Sage Thrasher, habitat modelling, advanced geomatics, remote sensing, ecological remote sensing, advanced GIS, GIS modelling, Ecological GIS Statistics, Riley, Environmental Consulting, Wildlife Consulting, Habitat consulting, habitat modelling, habitat management, Alberta, Edmonton, Calgary