WARC Monitoring Programs

CARBON MONITORING

A technician from ARI takes a measurement of salinity and temperature at the water monitoring site at the Inuvik town dock. ARI has partnered with Dr. Aleck Wang of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to monitor water quality parameters in the East Channel of the Mackenzie River Delta near the town of Inuvik.

The goal of this monitoring program is to take time-series measurements of the carbon system in the Mackenzie River, a major Arctic river in the western Canadian Arctic. This work is a first step towards long-term measurements and studies of the impacts of global warming on the carbon system in the Mackenzie River, its estuary, and adjacent coastal waters.

Technicians from ARI collect a bottle of water once per month and treat the sample with mercuric chloride. Water salinity, temperature, and depth are measured in-situ at the sampling site.  Water samples are then filtered and collected into glass bottles, and shipped to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for further analysis. At the Woods Hole lab, pH and alkalinity are measured along with a variety of carbon parameters, including partial pressure of CO2 and total dissolved inorganic carbon.

PERMAFROST MONITORING

Taking ground temperature readings at NRC Lake in the Mackenzie Delta using a multimeter. ARI has partnered with Dr. Christopher Burn from Carleton University to monitor permafrost in the Mackenzie Delta region of the western Canadian Arctic.

The objective of this monitoring program is to understand how climate change is affecting permafrost in the western Arctic.  The ice content of permafrost terrain affects its stability, and as ice melts this can result in damage to infrastructure and changes to the landscape.  For instance, as permafrost melts roads and water ways may experience slumping along their borders, and buildings built on pilings may start to tilt.

For many years, Dr. Burn has studied changes in permafrost stability and ground temperature at various locations in the western Arctic, ranging from Herschel Island on the Yukon North Slope, through the Mackenzie Delta, to Paulatuk on the Arctic Ocean coast of the NWT.  At each site, ground temperature sensors are installed in steel pipes and the ground temperatures are measured and recorded several times each year.

Once a month, ARI technicians visit two different sites near Inuvik and record ground temperatures.  One site is near the Inuvik airport and the other is at NRC Lake in the Mackenzie Delta.

AIR QUALITY MONITORING

Recording air quality parameters at the Inuvik monitoring station. ARI has partnered with the GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) to maintain an Air Quality Station in Inuvik.

Air is one of our most precious resources, and is vital to life on earth.  Maintaining good air quality in the NWT is an important factor in environmental protection and the protection of human health.  Sources of air pollution that affect our air quality are both natural, such as emissions from forest fires, and anthropogenic (man-made), such as industrial, vehicular, and home heating emissions. The pollutants monitored at the Inuvik Air Quality Station include carbon monoxide, particulate matter of various sizes, ozone, sulfate, and nitrogen-containing gases.

ENR generally regulates air quality activities on NWT Commissioner’s Land under the Environmental Protection Act.  In Inuvik, ARI provides maintenance, quality control checks and calibration of instruments for the Inuvik Air Quality Station. 

If you have any questions about ARI environmental monitoring programs, please email us at logistics@nwtresearch.com.