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Canada beefs up Arctic weather tracking

by Staff Writers
Ottawa (AFP) Feb 22, 2011
Canada will invest CAN$34.8 million (US$35.2 million) in meteorological and navigational warning services in the Arctic, the government announced Tuesday.

The funding over five years is to provide enhanced accessibility to weather data and navigational shipping information for mariners, economic sectors and the general population of the far north, it said.

Research suggests global warming could leave the region ice free by 2030, opening up navigation and access for oil rigs to the sea floor.

"Our government's investment in new navigational areas will allow the Canadian Coast Guard to improve the coverage for Arctic areas not currently covered by satellite," Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said in statement.

"This improves navigational safety information services for mariners in the Arctic Ocean..."

Weather and ice forecast services and warning operations will be provided around-the-clock, the government said.

Bulletins will be disseminated as part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, where satellite coverage exists, and also through high frequency radios where satellite coverage has not yet been established.

Canada also recently established a new satellite reception and processing station in Resolute Bay, Nunavut.

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