THE JOINT ARCTIC WEATHER STATIONS
An agreement between Canada and the USA was reached in February 1947 to establish five Arctic Weather Stations staffed by Canadian and American personnel. The representative institutions were the Meteorological Service of Canada and the United States Weather Bureau.
The basic program was upper air observations supplemented by surface observations and other scientific observations such as solar radiation and ice depth. Raw data was sent to the Canadian Meteorological Centre in Montreal.
In 1947, the first two stations were opened at Eureka and Resolute Bay, followed by Isachsen and Mould Bay in 1948 and finally Alert in 1950. Resolute Bay became the central station with the other four stations being satellites. Each of the satellites was staffed by eight people: four Canadians and four Americans. The normal sojourn at the stations was for a period of at least one year with many extending for two years and more. The highly successful joint program continued from 1947 to the early 1970s at which time the program was taken over by the Canadian Government and re-named High Arctic Weather Stations.
|Eureka, Ellesmere Island (80 degrees 13 N., 86 degrees 11W.), established in April 1947 by airlift from Thule, Greenland. Google Map|
|Resolute, Cornwallis Island (74 degrees 41N., 94 degrees 55W.), established in September 1947 by sea transport. Google Map|
|Isachsen, Ellef Ringnes Island (78 degrees 47N., 103 degrees 32W.), established in April 1948 by airlift from Resolute Google Map|
|Mould Bay, Prince Patrick Island (76 degrees 14 N., 119 degrees 50W.), established in April 1948 by airlift from Resolute Google Map|
|Alert, Ellesmere Island (82 degrees 29N., 62 degrees 15W.), established in April 1950 by airlift from Thule, Greenland Google Map|
In 2001 a group of retirees, Canadians and Americans, who served on the JAWS began to collect photographs and other
memorabilia about the stations. The group has put together a rough collection
of photographs, documents, bibliographies and stories capturing the history of the five stations. The collection is primarily based on the personal recollections of those who experienced life at these isolated stations - the furthest north stations in Canada.
In 2007 the Archives program of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, Government of Nunavut acquired the Joint Arctic Weather Stations
(JAWS) Collection and efforts are underway to expand and organize
the Collection. Much of the collection is in electronic form. Traditional archival collections exist in several institutions in Canada and the United States and there is an interest in linking between the collections. The Collection is a unique record of the weather stations and is expected to be of interest to
researchers, family members and the public.
Library Services at Athabasca University is pleased to provide images from the Collection through its digitization portal. Images can
be browsed by title, keyword, and media type. The collection also
includes biographical records and reports and other documents will be added over time.