The Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments

Submitted by Ray Hoff and Frank Froude

In the 1970’s Environment Canada’s Air Quality and Research Division (AQRD) began to research the remote sensing of air pollution using lasers through a technique called Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR).

The Downsview office was too small for their research activities, so the team moved their equipment to the Atmospheric Environmental Service Meteorological Research Station at Weston Road and Highway 7, which became known as “The Farm”. Known as the Woodbridge Radar, this was one of the first Doppler radar sites in Toronto and served as a handy place to stage research and fieldwork; including testing equipment for the Arctic before sending them to Alert and Igloolik Arctic research stations.

In 1985, researchers were told that The Farm was being sold. A high point on the Oak Ridge Moraine became the new site for the Doppler radar (King Radar), while the AQRD searched for an alternate location that would be a good fit for their research.

Former researchers at The Farm, Frank Froude and Ray Hoff, recall that it was difficult to locate a new site that was “regionally representative” and would meet the needs of the various research groups. They looked for a hundred acres that was mostly flat (to be meteorologically uniform) and away from towns and major highways (to minimize sources of pollution). Some researchers needed a site sheltered from high winds that could affect precipitation catch, while others requested a property they could use to research deposition in tree canopies. The chiefs at AQRD tried to meet these needs while making sure the site was available, affordable and less than an hour from their Downsview home office.

In 1986, they found a suitable site in Egbert, Ontario. Over the next few years, it became the home of The Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments (CARE). Over 34 years later, CARE continues to be a key facility for Environment and Climate Change Canada to conduct field-testing and computer model validation experiments. The science and technology experts that work at CARE make major contributions to understanding a variety of air pollution problems. They have been part of several international partnerships with universities and government agencies such as NASA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has installed a U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) station at the site, which is a high point in Canada’s international cooperation with the United States for tracking climate change.

 

Construction of building at the Centre for Atmospheric Research Centre in 1985.
Figure 1: Construction of building at the Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments. Submitted by Ray Hoff and Frank Froude
Construction of building at the Centre for Atmospheric Research Centre in 1985.
Figure 2: The Centre for Atmospheric Research Experiments. Submitted by Ray Hoff and Frank Froude

 

To learn more about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s facilities and laboratories across Canada, visit the website for the Environmental science centres across Canada.

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