Science, Tech & Environment

Northern Arctic Outpost in Canada

We're looking for the northernmost place in the world where people live year round.

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This Canadian outpost looks out on the ice-covered Lincoln Sea all the way to Greenland.

It's a dark and remote Arctic setting.

On Wednesday, the temperature was about minus 18 Celsius — that's zero degrees Fahrenheit and it's pitch dark all the time during the winter months.

So, can you name this isolated outpost? Where daylight doesn't return until March?

The answer is Canadian Forces Station 'Alert' (CFS Alert) at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island. CFS Alert commanding officer Major Andre Delhommou tells anchor Marco Werman about a day in the life of the northernmost, year-round inhabited place in the world.

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    CFS Alert (Photo:NOAA)

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    CFS Alert (Photo: NOAA)

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    14 August 2008
    8 Wing Imaging

    Operation Boxtop.
    The CFS Alert sign with flags flying in the falling snow.

    Boxtop is the Bi-Annual resupply of Canadian Forces Station Alert. Using Unites Sates Airforce Base Thule in Greenland as a staging point, for 2 to 3 weeks every spring and fall the Canadian Air Force runs day and night flying fuel and supplies to the station.

    CFS Alert is the most northern permanently inhabited settlement in the world. It is situated on the northeastern tip of Ellsemere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

    Military personnel, civilian employees of DND, and employees of the Department of the Environment comprise the entire population of CFS Alert.

    CFS Alert has a full-time strength of approximately 70 personnel, divided into the following sections: Administration, Operations, Construction Engineering, Transport, Supply, Food Services and Medical Services. Environment Canada also maintains an upper air meteorological service at CFS Alert. The tour of duty for most of the permanent positions at CFS Alert is for six months, with some specialized positions being designated as requiring a rotation every three months.

    CFS Alert was named after a British ship, HMS Alert, which wintered off Cape Sheridan 9.7 km east of the present station in 1875 - 1876. She was under the command of Sir George Nares whose expedition was the first to set foot on northern Ellsemere Island.

    Photography by: Cpl David Hardwick


    Cpl David Hardwivk