Fire suspends upper air monitoring program in Iqaluit

Weather prediction services are not impacted

Environment and Climate Change Canada has suspended its upper air monitoring program in Iqaluit after a fire gutted their operations building on Monday. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Dustin Patar

Environment and Climate Change Canada has suspended its upper air monitoring program in Iqaluit after a fire gutted the program’s operations building on Monday.

Nobody was hurt, but the fire destroyed all equipment inside the building, including computers, weather balloons and antennas.

This will not impact weather prediction in Iqaluit, according to department spokesperson Céline Singhroy.

“In case of a weather station outage, data from other sources are used by our supercomputer to provide information on current weather conditions and storms development,” she said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

“Meteorologists in Winnipeg and Edmonton prepare all weather forecasts and warnings for Iqaluit.”

The upper air monitoring station that was destroyed by the fire was one of 30 across the country.

The station released hydrogen filled balloons twice a day, which carried a precise instrument that measured temperature, pressure, wind and humidity in the upper atmosphere.

This information was then transmitted in real-time so it could be incorporated into weather prediction models around the world.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, staff will be on site soon to assess the station and investigate options for a temporary operations space.

The RCMP and Nunavut’s fire marshal are currently investigating the cause of the fire.

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