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Weather conditions on Quadra and Clavert Island

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The Hakai Institute conducts long-term scientific research at remote locations on the coastal margin of British Columbia, Canada.

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The latest data from the Hakai Sensor Network

Monthly Average Water Temperature, Kwakshua Channel (°C) at surface

Monthly Average Water Temperature, Kwakshua Channel (°C) below 150 m

Monthly Average Salinity, Kwakshua Channel (Salinity Units) at surface

Monthly Average Salinity, Kwakshua Channel (Salinity Units) below 150 m

Monthly Average Oxygen, Kwakshua Channel (mL/L) at surface

Monthly Average Oxygen, Kwakshua Channel (mL/L) below 150 m

Why do we collect temperature at the surface?

Temperature is fundamental to life in the oceans. Waters can change rapidly with tides, storms, waves, and currents. Through frequent data collection, we uncover trends through the seasons and between years.

What are we seeing?

Waters at the surface warm and cool with the seasons. Over the year, temperatures can change up to 10 °C at the surface. At depth, temperatures are more stable and typically vary by only 2 °C throughout the year.

How do we collect this?

Sensors that measure temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels are lowered into the ocean from our small boats. At the mouth of Kwakshua Channel, scientists lower the sensors every three to four weeks to collect data.

Why do we collect temperature below 150 m?

Temperature is fundamental to life in the oceans. Waters can change rapidly with tides, storms, waves, and currents. Through frequent data collection, we uncover trends through the seasons and between years.

What are we seeing?

Counterintuitively, the deep waters of Kwakshua Channel are cooler in the summer than in the winter. Summer winds force cold, deep oceanic water up into coastal channels, like Kwakshua, before retreating in fall and winter.

How do we collect this?

Sensors that measure temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels are lowered into the ocean from our small boats. At the mouth of Kwakshua Channel, scientists lower the sensors every three to four weeks to collect data.

Why do we collect salinity at the surface?

In the coastal environment variations in salinity cause the ocean to layer into lighter, fresher bands and denser, saltier bands. These layers can shift seasonally and restrict the movement of nutrients and marine life.

What are we seeing?

Saltier waters enter Kwakshua Channel during the summer when winds force saline, deep oceanic water up into coastal channels. Fresh water from rain, snow, and glacial melt cause surface waters to freshen. Over time, the fresh water can be moved downward through mixing driven by the wind and tides.

How do we collect this?

Sensors that measure temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels are lowered into the ocean from our small boats. At the mouth of Kwakshua Channel, scientists lower the sensors every three to four weeks to collect data.

Why do we collect salinity below 150 m?

In the coastal environment variations in salinity cause the ocean to layer into lighter, fresher bands and denser, saltier bands. These layers can shift seasonally and restrict the movement of nutrients and marine life.

What are we seeing?

At this location during the winter, the surrounding ocean influences salinity at the surface. During the rest of the year, fresh water from rivers and streams, as well as coastal currents explain the shifts in salinity.

How do we collect this?

Sensors that measure temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels are lowered into the ocean from our small boats. At the mouth of Kwakshua Channel, scientists lower the sensors every three to four weeks to collect data.

Why do we collect oxygen at the surface?

For all marine life except a few hearty microbes, oxygen dissolved in seawater is essential. As ocean temperatures warm with climate change, they will be unable to hold as much oxygen. We measure oxygen to track how both seasonal and long-term changes affect the health of ocean life.

What are we seeing?

Deepwater oxygen levels in Kwakshua Channel decline throughout the summer, in part because bacteria use up oxygen while they feast on dead phytoplankton and other organic material that rains down from the surface. Oxygen levels rebound in winter when tides and winds mix the water column.

How do we collect this?

Sensors that measure temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels are lowered into the ocean from our small boats. At the mouth of Kwakshua Channel, scientists lower the sensors every three to four weeks to collect data.

Why do we collect oxygen below 150 m?

For all marine life except a few hearty microbes, oxygen dissolved in seawater is essential. As ocean temperatures warm with climate change, they will be unable to hold as much oxygen. We measure oxygen to track how both seasonal and long-term changes affect the health of ocean life.

What are we seeing?

When phytoplankton blooms during the summer, the process of photosynthesis creates oxygen at the surface.

How do we collect this?

Sensors that measure temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels are lowered into the ocean from our small boats. At the mouth of Kwakshua Channel, scientists lower the sensors every three to four weeks to collect data.

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