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  • Station or cluster: CryoNet Station
  • Type: Primary
  • Attribute(s): Research
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: point
  • Latitude, longitude: 61.02759, -138.41045
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 793
  • Landscape: Boreal
  • Year established: 2015
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Sian Williams
  • Science contact: Shawn Marshall
  • Data contact: Maribeth Murray
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Kluane Lake Research Station (KLRS)
Primary CryoNet Station Information

Kluane Lake Research Station (KLRS) is located in Yukon Territory, Canada, 220 km northwest of the city of Whitehorse. It is a continental site in the foothills of the St. Elias Mountains, the highest mountains in Canada (reaching almost 6000 m). The research station sits on the south shore of Kluane Lake and is adjacent to Kluane National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The station is one of the most valued, celebrated, and well-used highlights of the Arctic Institute of North America, a University of Calgary-based Institute which has owned and managed the station since it was founded in 1961.

The extreme elevation difference between Kluane Lake and the crest of the St. Elias Mountains establishes a strong gradient in environmental attributes and results in a remarkable diversity of research opportunities within a small geographical area. This diversity is reflected in the unique scientific legacy of KLRS, which supports research projects spanning the disciplines of glaciology, geomorphology, geology, biology, botany, zoology, hydrology, limnology, climatology, high-altitude physiology, anthropology, and archaeology.

KLRS is a member of the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators (CNNRO) and the International Network for for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT). Both networks work to build capacity for terrestrial research, to improve collaboration and coordination of efforts, enable access to partner stations, and implement best practices for station management, use and station-based research and monitoring.

Researchers working out of KLRS have made campaign-based meteorological, permafrost, snowpack, and glaciological measurements over many decades, working at different locations in the region, but these data have not been co-ordinated, and they are not necessarily useful to the GCW program as they are intermittent, of unclear quality, and metadata is poorly documented. There is nevertheless a good backbone of knowledge on the regional climate and cryosphere, and its changes, and this can be useful contextually as we move forward to a Kluane CryoNet Site, with the Kluane Lake station serving as the primary/base station. This researcher base will be tapped for assistance in an Arctic-Institute co-ordinated effort to collect systematic regional cryosphere-climate data moving forward. Local to international researchers will benefit from the associated data rescue and the centralized data management and online availability that AINA will contribute to this.

Other Networks to Which This CryoNet Station Belongs

Measurement Methods Used

Other relevant measurement method documents:

Technical Regulations (WMO-No. 49), Volume I: General Meteorological Standards and Recommended Practices

WMO Instruments and Observing Methods, Report 102, CIMO Survey on Methods and Instruments for Solid Precipitation Measurement at Automatic Weather Stations

Data Information


We only established the automatic weather station in summer 2015, after decades of intermittent and spatially variable weather, snow, and glacier observations. Our AWS and snow monitoring sites are now fixed, but in reality, we are only at the beginning of the commitment to sustained and WMO-quality monitoring.

Additional Information Documents


The measurements made at Kluane Lake Research Station (KLRS) are listed in the following tables. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
SnowSnow water equivalent2016Fragmented
SnowSnowpack profile2016Fragmented

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
MetAir temperature2015Continuous
MetHumidity/vapour pressure2015Continuous
MetWind speed and direction2015Continuous
MetAir pressure2015Continuous
RadiationDownwelling shortwave2015Continuous
RadiationUpwelling shortwave2015Continuous
RadiationDownwelling longwave2016Continuous
RadiationUpwelling longwave2016Continuous
RadiationSunshine duration2015Continuous

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
SnowFragmented = monthly, to be initiated in Fall 2016.

Snow profiles will be snowpits sampled at 5 cm for density (100 cc box cutter), with temperature and grain size documented in the stratigraphy.

Snowpack chemistry: just water isotopes for now (D/H, d17O, d18O)

Continuous snow depth is from an SR50 UDG, and albedo is from a four-component radiometer.

Freshwater iceFragmented = monthly, to be initiated in Fall 2016.

Initial snow/ice thickness and albedo measurements will be done locally, at KLRS, but we have plans to expand to the neighbouring communities on Kluane Lake, and we will also benefit from adding a remote sensing component for the lake ice cover and regional snow cover extent. This will be part of the evolution from the primary station at KLRS to a broader CryoNet Site, with welcome input and feedback from EC, WMO, and GCW as we shape this broader proposal.

PermafrostGround temperature, heat flux, and active layer depth measurements are to be initiated at the KLRS site, likely in conjunction with Yukon College. Other permafrost measurements may follow, but a plan is not yet in place and we propose to add this component in 2017.
GlacierWinter and annual mass balance to be initiated at a site in the St. Elias, but not yet in place. Likely in conjunction with G.E. Flowers, SFU.

Several glaciers in the region have been studies for ~40 years for ice velocity, area, thickness, elevation change, and ice dynamics; sporadic.

HydrologySome work is being done on the water balance of Klaune Lake (Slims River input flux, lake volume, lake height variations). This is KLRS-based research that we could tap into as part of the integrated CryoNet Site, as appropriate.

Last updated: 31 May 2017