Oops! What Happened to the Water?

A few days ago I posted an article on the lightkeepers being the eyes and ears of the BC coast. While writing it an incident was brought to my mind of my early days in 1977 on McInnes Island. We arrived on McInnes in August 1977 so this had to have happened in Spring 1978.

Every year on the British Columbia coast the herring start their spawn in early spring. We, being curious lighthouse keepers are always interested in the goings on in the sea, from the arrival of the salmon to the arrival of winter storms. We always had our eyes out for something happening.

Well, one of the things we had been warned about was pollution. One morning I awoke and the ocean around the lighthouse as far away as Price Island, two kilometers away, was a milky white as though lime had been dumped in the ocean. Nowhere could I see blue sea except distantly in front of the lighthouse.

white water – photo Flickr by poecile05

I was astounded! What had happened? I had no idea. Last night everything was normal; today, total chaos!

I phoned Coast Guard Radio in Bull Harbour and reported this accident, not knowing what it was or how to describe it. The operator said he would pass it on to the Coast Guard. 

That was it? The ocean was polluted! I could not see a foot into the water! That was all they were going to do? Continue reading

COOLTAP

Environment Canada (EC) has a cooperative/volunteer climate network weather collection project called COOLTAP.(Cooperative Online Temperature and Precipitation Entry System). It is a web-based Data entry system website where daily weather data is entered and used. All that is required is an internet-connected computer to input the data.

NOAA (USA) uses a similar data collection program called COOP  Here is a PDF file on NOAA, COOP and the integration of COOLTAP. This data is used for both weather forecasting/climate prognosis and drought control.

Weather box, aka Stevenson Screen, used to record temperatures

British Columbia lighthouse keepers, as employees in the Pacific and Yukon Region (PYR) of Environment Canada  also work in this program as well as performing their many other duties. Continue reading