Development and Testing of Climate Change Monitoring Equipment in the Arctic

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, climate change, carbon dioxide, climate monitoring

Principal Investigator: Layden, Ronald E. (5)
Licence Number: 15929
Organization: Aurora Research Institute
Licenced Year(s): 2016
Issued: Jul 27, 2016
Project Team: Ronald Layden (Project Director, ARI), Christopher MacIntyre (Consultant, St. F. X), Edwin Amos (Technician, ARI)

Objective(s): To optimize the firmware, battery requirements and testing regimes needed and finalize products that can then be used in any type of remote and cold locations for extended periods with little or no equipment monitoring.

Project Description: Data analysis will help the company to optimize the firmware, battery requirements and testing regimes needed and finalize products that can then be used in any type of remote and cold locations for extended periods with little or no equipment monitoring.

Several eosFD devices (carbon dioxide monitoring equipment) will be tested to determine usability requirements and to select a winter test site producing the required soil flux suitable for the study. Each device will have different firmware settings and produce different amounts of sampling data. For example, one device might sample every 5 minutes, one every hour and one only daily etc. Site selection data will be analyzed to determine an appropriate winter test location. Technicians from Aurora Research Institute (ARI) will visit the winter test site weekly or more often if required due to storms etc. to examine the equipment, collect data, dig out snow pack and document changes in the micro environment around each device. At the end of the experimental period all data will be retrieved from each device and the devices will be removed from the site.

Devices are set on the ground. A ring of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe is pushed into the ground and the ground is allowed to recover for at least 1 day. The device is then set on the PVC support and operated. A battery unit and or a solar panel may also be attached and will be placed on the ground with no advance prep required. The device will then be run for a few hours or longer. For the single winter site this may be as long as a few months. The device has electrical components and pumps which allow air to enter, be measured for CO2 (carbon dioxide) and exit. Measurements are made and air is expelled, there is no other exhaust or release of material from the device. The device is virtually silent and stands about 25cm high. When the test is completed the device and PVC ring will be removed along with the power supply. There should be no permanent disturbance to the soil or vegetation. The equipment is portable, light weight and designed for field use and minimal foot print.

Data from CO2 measurements is stored on memory devices in the equipment and can be downloaded in the field or at the lab. Data will be used to measure the amount of CO2 being released by the soil, the amount in the air and the temperature. This information is very useful in determining a number of soil parameters. The release of CO2 is correlated with permafrost melting and deterioration and will be used to assess the extent to which various sites are responding to warming winter temperatures. This is an essential measurement to understand climate change, greenhouse gas immersions and to look for ways to mitigate effects.

This study is being carried out by ARI in collaboration with the Canadian company that has developed and manufactured the CO2 devices (Eosense Inc., Halifax, NS). Initial studies at various locations will be used in part to generate results from a survey of industrial and non-industrial sites and to compare the measurements obtained in order to carry out further studies. Further studies in future might be designed to monitor roadway integrity, and the integrity of industrial sites such as mines, fish plants and ferry crossings or non-industrial sites such as river banks.

The research team will also test the equipment at a single site in Inuvik over the winter to look at durability of the equipment, effects of snow cover, heating effects and temperature effects. This part of the study will be helpful in making changes or redesigning the equipment so it can be used remotely to take CO2 measurements during winter to look for subtle changes in CO2 production which cannot be obtained by other methods or be obtained as accurately.

Presentations will be made to interested parties and town hall or one on one discussions. A final plain language report will be available.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.