DT News interview: today we‘re speaking with Adrienne Turnbull for Arctic Science Month

Video / December 11, 2020


(Shelley) December is Arctic Science Month and today we‘re speaking with Adrienne Turnbull, Portfolio Manager with Border Domain Awareness at Defence Research and Development Canada about her work in the North and why the Arctic is a priority for Defence, the Government of Canada, and Canadians.

Why is Arctic Science month important?

(Adrienne) Oh, Arctic, just in general, is a very broad topic and so, we need this ability to present the work that we're doing provides us with new ways to collaborate. There's so many different challenges that the Arctic gives us. For example, there's destructive ice that forms in cold temperatures on wind turbines and prevents the generation of renewable energy. And they also need greenhouses to produce fresh vegetables. There's also value in working with indigenous Inuit groups. They are valuable resources on many topics and to improve science. For example, we thought about how this scientific culture, which tends to like databases and written results, how does it benefit from the northern indigenous culture which has successfully shared their information orally for generations.

(Shelley) Can you describe your work as it relates to supporting Canada’s presence in the Arctic?

(Adrienne) I work for Defence Research and Development Canada and I'm a Portfolio Manager on Border Domain Awareness. I work with planes, satellites and ships that track vessels through Canadian waters, specifically the Great Lakes and all three oceans. This is particularly important in the Arctic as ships that break down need search and rescue. And those ships and planes that go to rescue the broken-down vessels, they need to travel long distances. This is unforgiving, the Arctic is unforgiving to those that need help as there's no coconuts laying around and the cold weather can quite quickly kill. Cruise ships are at higher risk because they have more passengers. And when passengers are safely on shore, they are fed and sheltered by small communities that have most supplies shipped from the south. So it's definitely a risk for the communities that help them out. So, my role is essentially to improve search and rescue capabilities in order to find people faster and to keep the Northern community safe and healthy.

(Shelley) What other Defence science work is being done in the area?

(Adrienne) Defence Research and Development Canada, they have projects that are useful both for the Arctic, as well as ones that are useful everywhere. The All Domain Situational Awareness program and follow-on that is in North America, they'll be searching ways to improve the tracking of unknowns in the air and the ocean. I find it it really interesting that the changes in the Arctic ice are affecting a lot of their technologies. In addition to mine, the Border Domain Awareness, the Centre for Security Sciences, has community resilience projects where they prepare remote communities for emergency response. There's also the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security or IDEaS program. And they have challenges for academia and for industry. They have recent challenges for human performance in severe climate conditions, as well as Arctic-specific communication systems. They're also planning for new ones, specifically ruggedized wind turbines.

(Shelley) Thank you so much for your time.

(Adrienne) Thank you!

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