The Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada His Excellency Michael Smith recently toured the North Pole weather station operated by the Canadian Government. He was with a contingent of nineteen Ambassadors and High Commissioners from countries representing: Europe, Asia, The Americas, and Africa.
Organized by The Canadian Government who paid three quarters of the cost, the visit was designed to expose The Ambassadors to Canada’s northern territories and to impress on them some of The Canadian government’s priorities regarding climate change issues, artic sovereignty, polar science and economic development.
The Eureka weather station is located in the Canadian High Artic (80 degrees North, 86 degrees West) on Ellesmere Island and was established jointly by The United States and Canadian Governments.
The facility is isolated from the rest of the world and is only visited periodically by small twin otter supply aircraft. It is the most northerly area of continued habitation. Only about eight to ten people weather the winter months there.
High Commissioner Smith said while temperatures at Eureka can reach 40 degrees below 0 during February, their visit during the height of the summer was comfortable as the temperature was about 50 above. He did say however that the 24 hours of sunlight was difficult to get used too.
The weather station provides the data required for the understanding and prediction of meteorological phenomena on a hemispheric scale and more specifically to improve weather predictions for North America. The data collected is also used by airlines, northern shipping, climatological studies and research.
High Commissioner Smith was particularly interested in the data collected on climate change as the Bahamas could be significantly impacted by rising oceans and major changes in traditional weather patterns.
The Ambassadors and High Commissioners spent nine days touring other important government facilities stopping at the port of Churchill in Manitoba, on the Hudson Bay, before continuing on to Yellowknife and Whitehorse, the capitals of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon as well as Inuvik.