The World Meteorological Organization runs a number of programs including the Global Atmosphere Watch. GAW is a global network of partners collecting data to be used in the study of the atmosphere. As a contributor, Canada runs monitoring programs across the country; the northernmost lab is here in Alert. Officially titled the “Dr. Neil Trivett Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory,” it is run by an operator and their assistant (myself). Key responsibilities include collecting samples, changing filters, monitoring equipment and troubleshooting. The lab facilitates data collection for many different monitoring programs. Although measured here, much of this data is relayed south for further analysis. Research groups from all over are involved, including Japan, California, Toronto and Germany.
There is a wing of the main living complex dedicated to Environment Canada’s needs. This is where we have our office and where much of the paperwork is completed. It is from here that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we head approximately 7 km due south of the station to the lab. As the road heads inland it rises over a series of shelves left by retreating glaciers. We park our trucks at an old building and walk the last 500 metres so as to prevent the contamination of samples with vehicle exhaust. The lab is situated to the south of station since prevailing south winds reduce local pollution.
As I mentioned earlier, we alternate days at the lab with days in the office. Tuesdays and Thursdays are typically spent completing paper work but may include trips to the lab if there are equipment related problems. In a later post I will describe the activities performed each day.