Inuit Hunters Use CastAway-CTDs to Gather Data Under Hudson Bay Ice


[Story republished with permission, May 2016 – Sea Technology Magazine]

The hunters recognized the changes. A shot seal would usually float, buoyed by its blubber atop the dense saltwater of Canada’s Hudson Bay. Now the seals were sinking below the surface before the hunters could reach them. Polynyas, the open patches of sea surrounded by ice, were freezing over with brittle, clear ice, often with little warning. Beluga whales were being trapped beneath the floes, cut off from their surfacing holes. Arctic eiders, the diving ducks whose down is a source of warmth and commerce for the Inuit, were trapped on the ice, dying like flies.

Measuring currents with acoustic Doppler profilers allows scientists and Inuit Hunters to chart water flow patterns in Canada’s Hudson Bay. Detailed water quality monitoring measurements—time-series data from a moored continuous monitoring platform, as well as grab samples of water and ice cores taken by hunters in their travels—provide a more thorough look into the sources of the freshwater in the Bay, including dissolved oxygen, dissolved organic matter and other parameters. Read more (PDF)…

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