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Polar Continental Shelf Project weather observation data base

Dr. David E. Atkinson**
Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology
Department of Geography
University of Ottawa

**Current address:
Assistant Professor
International Arctic Research Center
930 Koyukuk Drive
P.O. Box 757340
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7340
phone: 907-474-1126
email: datkinson@iarc.uaf.edu

Brief history and description

This data set stems from a need to provide on-site weather reconnaissance to aircraft operating in support of arctic field research camps (spring and summer). These camps were operated by the Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP), a Canadian federal government organization that provides logistical support to arctic research. These data were digitized and stored in an ad hoc fashion over the years. The effort was made to record and store the recorded data, resulting in the data base presented here. The database consists of approximately 53,000 observations, taken twice daily, from 600 unique sites throughout the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Individual time series can include various climatic parameters and vary in length from a few observations taken on one day to hundreds of observations made over a period of four months. Prevalent climatic elements include dry-bulb temperature, wind direction and speed, and total cloud cover. 95% of all time series include screen-height dry-bulb temperature.

Disclaimer and citation information

These data are made available for non-commercial research and teaching use only. Please, if you use these data in a publication, cite the following:

Atkinson, D. E., B. Alt, and K. Gajewski. 2000.  A new database of high arctic climate data from the Polar Continental Shelf Project archives. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , 81(11), 2621-2629.

Atkinson, D.E. 2000. Topoclimatic modeling of surface air temperature in the Canadian arctic archipelago. PhD dissertation, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa: Ottawa, Canada. 396p.

Every effort has been made to assure these data are accurate and free of obvious errors. If you find questionable values, we would appreciate it if you would contact us. We would also appreciate reprints of any articles in which these data are used.

Map showing overall station density during the years the program was in operation (1974 - 1993).

Data are available by year in the files listed below.
Click on the year to download an Excel file (v. 7) of the data or on the accompanying map link to view station locations and observation counts.


Station map


Station map

1974 map 1984 map
1975 map 1985 map
1976 map 1986 map
1977 map 1987 map
1978 map 1988 map
1979 map 1989 map
1980 map 1990 map
1981 map 1991 map
1982 map 1992 map
1983 map 1993 map

Guide to the climatic parameters


This represents the final phase of a data assembly and organization effort that has been under way for several years, and a collection effort that was active 1974 - 1993. Many have contributed to this endeavor over the years, and include many of the highly competent people working at the Polar Continental Shelf Project: its director, Bonni Hrycyk; the base managers: Dave Maloley, Jim Godden, Barry Hough, Claude Brunet, and Jerry Maceachern, and many of the PCSP support staff. And of course, mention must be given to all the literally thousands of researchers who, over twenty years, faithfully recorded data twice a day, without ever knowing where it might end up.

Map preparation: Mike C. Sawada



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