Formed in 2005, the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) is a network of university and government researchers dedicated to studying the changing atmosphere over Canada. PEARL recognizes that two resources are critical for this effort: physical facilities which can be used to perform research, and highly skilled people who will conduct research.
The PEARL network objectives are:
- Understanding atmospheric change over Canada
- Integration of measurements taken from space, aircraft, balloons and the ground
- Provision of quality-controlled research datasets to researchers
- Linkage with international networks for data exchange and supranational planning
- Maintenance of research-critical resources
- Training of skilled personnel
- Public Education
PEARL has a particular emphasis on the Arctic because Canada has a significant portion of its territory in the Arctic. Recognizing that there is a lack of measurements in the Arctic, and the difficulties of making measurements are very real, the first task of PEARL was to rejuvenate and operate the existing laboratory at Eureka, NU. This activity was accelerated in order to be ready to participate in the International Polar Year (2007-2009), the world-wide effort to intensively study the Arctic region.
In addition, PEARL undertakes measurements that are simultaneous with those made by various satellite instruments. These “validation” measurements are extremely effective because of the location of PEARL, and they further enhance the science return of the research.
In the future, PEARL is aiming to bring together many elements of the Canadian effort in research-level atmospheric measurements. These include the integration of space-based measurements with aircraft, balloon and ground-based measurements and the development of quality control protocols for these data. It is also hoped to set up a small number of “anchor sites” in Canada to conduct research in different regions and to provide further research opportunities to Canadians.