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New weather stations set up on Labrador coast

Queens University assistant professor and Labradorian Dr. Robert Way helped install weather stations in multiple communities along the Labrador coast. - FILE PHOTO
Queens University assistant professor and Labradorian Dr. Robert Way helped install weather stations in multiple communities along the Labrador coast. - FILE PHOTO - Contributed

Climate change initiative earns government funding nod

Access to accurate weather reports can mean a matter of life or death to Labrador coastal communities that have traditionally relied on other areas for their weather reports.

Until now.

Weather stations have been situated in a number of locations along the coast, including Rigolet, North West River, Red Bay and Postville.

The stations were installed over the summer by a team led by Queens University assistant professor and Labradorian Dr. Robert Way.

Way applied to the federal government for project funding through the Indigenous Community Based Monitoring program. He made the application when he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Labrador institute, based in North West River.

The government was looking for Indigenous-led climate change initiatives in Canada and he felt Labrador fit the bill.

He said having accurate weather reports is integral in an area like Labrador.

“With people out on the land as much as they are it's crucial that you know what the weather is,” he said. “We felt this would really be used.”

He said feedback is positive. People are using the weather stations and word is spreading

The initial plan was to establish stations along well-used snowmobile and boat routes. Way said that changed when they consulted with the towns.

“A lot didn’t have access to any weather stations and we realized we should prioritize that,” he said. “We went to the communities that didn’t have (a weather station) and saw if they were interested, and if they had a place in mind.”

The data gathered by the stations will be hosted by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment on its website.

Way has been talking to Environment Canada about integrating the Labrador stations' information into weather reports.

He said incorporating externally-maintained stations into its own data is an idea Environment Canada has been examining.

“Those that the province uses and we’re using are high on the list to start integration,” Way said. “We use the same kind of station and basic protocols. So if they can figure out how to integrate one of them, they can use all of them, and there’s quite a number of these on the island and now in Labrador.”

Project funding will run out in a few years but Way said there has been considerable interest in maintaining the stations. He's confident keeping them running won’t be an issue when the time comes.

The hope was establish a weather station Natuashish this year as well, but approval took longer than anticipated.

Way said that station will be set up next year.

To see what the weather is like today in coastal Labrador visit https://www.labradorgeolab.ca/weather

evan.careen@thelabradorvoice.ca

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